The Chameleon

It was jarring to see the mixing of Richard Armitage’s characters in my last piece where several have “Guy hair”. That kind of cross-contamination doesn’t fit with how RA brought these characters to such lovely fruition.

The richness and distinction between his characters is what makes me such a rabid fan. From almost the beginning, I was stunned at this ability. And then there is Richard Armitage himself, who has managed to make his personality evident while not letting it bleed into his characterizations. He is not Guy no matter how gorgeous Guy’s hair.

Quick! When’s the last time you’ve known of an actor who played such distinct characters and was this distinct himself?!


  1. Do you want me to go on about DT because I will! ;)

    Yes, it’s great when you find an good actor who doesn’t play himself all the time. Bruce Willis and Will Smith fell into that trap. I reason I like DT and RA is because they work to make each character distinctive. Neither resorts to “lazy” acting.

  2. I can also name a few who are like RA and DT, but there aren’t very many to name. Daniel Day-Lewis is one.

  3. And love him or hate him, Russell Crowe is another.

  4. Certainly Kevin Spacey and also Ewan MacGregor.

  5. DT! DT! DT! What, stop rolling your eyes. ;)

  6. I can’t think of very many. You mentioned Ewan McGregor. He is pretty close, Kenneth Branagh, not as much, I will admit I didn’t recognize Matthew Macfadyen in Robin Hood for awhile, but his hair was covering his face.
    RA is in disguise with his whole face uncovered. Not too mention how he can change his voice!
    He is truly remarkable! He really is a chameleon. More like a character actor. I wish I could think of some of their names. But that’s the problem with character actors. Most directors don’t see them as leading men.
    Richard Armitage is definitely a leading man! I am still amazed it took so long for a director to figure that out. Peter Jackson is much more astute than many. Or maybe it’s that RA got so good at hanging back that he almost missed the limelight!

  7. typo too instead of to – Usually the mistake is the other way around. This shows my effusiveness! :)

  8. Please don’t make me gush Ralph Fiennes-love everywhere, it’s hard to get out of the carpet. Have you seen “Oscar and Lucinda”? So worth your time.

  9. Arghh! a big chunk of my post is missing. I guess that’ s my effusiveness. ;-) Wondering now if I should fix it or just talk about it later.

  10. Who is DT?

  11. Judi, cover your eyes for the comment above mine.

    Phylly, DT=David Tennant

  12. To repeat others comments….definitely David Tennant. From serious heartbreaking drama….to Hamlet….to Dr Who…to Much Ado…and so much more. Playing an Englishman he is unrecognisable as the Scotsman he truly is. However, as the real man behind the characters I feel I know him less than I do RA…which is ridiculous because of course in reality I know them both equally as little!

  13. “big chunk of my post is missing” – Oh! I wondered why it was such a short post. I thought maybe you were just stirring the pot. :D Well, it worked!

  14. @kathrynruthd,

    No matter how little RA is known, his personality still seems to be distinctive from his characters. I find that fascinating.

    AS for DT, okay, okay, okay, I get it, everyone. I need to watch more David Tennant!


    I’ve been found out! :D Maybe it’s for the best ’cause I just read that part of the post again, and well, it sucks a bit.

  15. Ohhhh! Well sorry. I don’t do abbreviations very well. I do LIKE him, but he can’t disppear into a role at all. Sorry judiang! For one thing – he’d have to dye his hair. I just can’t take him seriously. He makes such funny faces. *ducking behind computer so Judiang can’t get me*! Owww! How did that get through!?

  16. He’s never had that effect on me either, Phylly, but then maybe we haven’t watched him enough. Just a thought.

  17. After RA it has to be Harry Lloyd for me. I only noticed him in Robin Hood but after that when I saw him act in Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Great Expectations, he blew me away. You could really HATE him in GOT but adore him in RH.
    He is pretty amazing :)

  18. I know Russell Crowe is not considered to be a fine human being, but it is amazing he could play Maximus and Jeffrey Wigand within the same year.

  19. Russell Crowe is amazing! Gladiator is my favourite film, people need to see him in that and then watch him in A Beautiful Mind. Genius!

  20. Well, DT doesn’t really impress me like that either. Agree Harry Lloyd is wonderful – fabulous in Great Expectations, under-used dreadfully in RH. As for RA, well yeah!! The distinctions between the characters are great, but he could also play Harry K brilliantly, a character who is much closer to the real RA than Guy, Thornton, John Porter, Lucas, I think.

  21. According to RA, it’s the closest to his personality. How close would be interesting to know. :D

  22. @Phylly3, @Frenzy, You both definitely need to watch DT in more things. He really is an astounding actor. I’d go to far as to say he’s on the road to greatness, if he can get out of his own way.

  23. Where to begin?

  24. @Frenz, I would suggest Blackpool, Casanova, and Hamlet to start things off.

  25. Check! :D

  26. I can’t bring anyone else to mind at the moment (still too early in the morning!) but I would have to agree with the choice of Russell Crowe as one. I haven’t seen DT in anything.

    Frenz, I found the mixing of characters jarring too. It certainly reinforces what we already know; Richard and his characters are very distinct from each other, so much so that I can tell from a screencap just who is the subject, and I’m sure I’m not the only one!

  27. May I add?: Alan Rickman,Antony Hopkins,Colin Firth,Gary Oldman,Giovani Ribisi,Edward Norton,Paul Bettany.

  28. Very good suggestions Joanna. I must agree, although I am not as familiar with GR and PB. I especially like that you mentioned Edward Norton. All those people were character actors who were able to achieve leading man status.

  29. Never!

  30. Has anyone suggested DT in Secret Smile?…

  31. Joanna, I don’t think I could come up with a better list! There have been times it took me a while to even recognize Gary Oldman in a role. Paul Bettany has disappeared into quite the wide array of characters as well.

  32. I could go on,Chabesquen and Phylly3;) Don’t let me started on films.!

  33. […] 1. RAFrenz. 2012. The Chameleon. […]

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