Aspiring Armitage — Part 1

January 27, 2012

This week as with all weeks in RA Universe, there is discussion about Richard Armitage and his roles, and how he may or may not have succeeded, and what will he do in the future, and I don’t know the answer to all of that. I doubt any fans do, but of course it’s fascinating to speculate. With respect to his not meeting expectations as an actor for some, the success of his first leading role in ‘North and South’ has a little something to do with setting expectations unrealistically. That role would have been hard for anyone to follow not to mention dealing with the fan reaction. If he had been an egoist or his agent encouraged him to be one, he might have handled it all differently. He might have appeared more polished, more on top of his game, more homogenized, which so many of us have come to expect and swallow and then move on.

But he seemed to come with unmanufactured responses which gave credence to his being like the rest of us and not knowing quite what to do with his situation. He’s also gone so far as to tell us he’s a slow mover. Not in terms of his ability to think or his stamina, but in terms of exposure to life and fleshing out his identity as an actor and as a person. Upon first reading those statements, I thought it was nothing but self-deprecation in a cagey attempt to set the bar low enough not to disappoint the public in future, which is fine. But I’ve pondered them quite a bit since then, and there is something that smacks of normal. I know there is no such thing, but he seems to continually manifest a sense of “I need to step back and take stock of what’s going on,” which is a type of sanity we know instinctively when we encounter it. The world of drama doesn’t seem to be replete with that, so he stands out. Or maybe it’s just to me. Then again, he might be a better actor than I realize. When he whips that look of a mind reader onto the camera, I start second guessing myself. LOL!

Screencaps from ‘North and South’ DVD Extras courtesy of


  1. Well and succinctly put. I agree with your assessment 100%, and it’s why I get sort of frustrated in discussions about the alleged inadequacy of his management or marketing, or about his supposed tendency to typecasting that risks marooning him in certain kinds of roles (although I understand why people make those arguments). I actually think everything’s moving at a speed that’s been just fine for him. He’s said he feels like his career has been a rollercoaster, and I can sympathize with that, as well. He’s not doing badly; he continues to improve; unlike many British actors he doesn’t express frustration at the roles he’s getting. So I’m cool with the way his career’s been going, actually, and not just because I have Armitagemania.


    I will resume regularly scheduled lower-case writing now.

    Honestly, truly, setting aside any oohing or thudding or squeeing, I think Richard Armitage is refreshingly nice, funny (yet never in a mean way), thoughtful, normal kind of bloke. Who happens to be incredibly good-looking.and fabulously talented. I like, admire and respect the person he seems to be.

    As I have said elsewhere, there are plenty of fellow thespians who would love the career Richard has had over the last few years. He’s starred in two popular BBC dramas and a high-profile project for Sky along with one-off projects such as Moving On and all his wonderful audio work. If he is happy with the direction things are going, why should be grouse? As you said, Frenz, he has pointed out things have unfolded more slowly for him both personally and professionally.

    And I suspect in some ways that is a blessing in disguise.

  3. Thank you Frenz,Servetus and Angie!
    “I like,admire and respect the person he seems to be”-yes me too,dear Angie, and I seriously think that he should start taking lessons:”How not to be too polite”

  4. Nothing more for me to say here.
    Frenz, serv and angie, you have expressed my own feelings and views exactly. Thankyou!!

  5. :D Occasionally, I do want to tell him, “Richard, it’s OK to be a little snarky now and again. It’s allowed.” As a southern American, I am all for good manners and I love his gentlemanly demeanor. But every so often . . . LOL

  6. Yummy pictures! I think that, when it comes to career expectations, comparisons with other actors are virtually inevitable. North and South set the bar so high, it was very difficult to follow. It is a frustration (even in retrospect) to observe other actors of much lesser ability getting roles and recognition that RA has not been able to achieve. Though I think that some of that is just exposure in the US market which is so large. Am I making sense? *mops brow*

  7. Yep, and part 2 or maybe 3 :D covers the American market.

  8. Nothing left to say except, those pictures really are yummy.

  9. Isn’t he sweet. Notice the absence of a question mark. :D

  10. I just realized I didn’t put a link to the discussion I was referencing. Gone to fix.

  11. We, RA fans, are human beings and, as such, each one of us has different expectations in relation to his career choices and opportunities. Impossible to fulfill all of them. There’ll always be happy and frustated fans!!
    Personaly, I think he has potential for more and hope to see it someday. I also expect he has more opportunities in the film industry, because I believe it’s the only way he could be known in my country and, obviouly, I would have more access to his acting.

  12. I agree with what you say.

    One of the things I love about him is the fact that he’s not pretentious and has a sense of humor about it all. I like that he’s a gentleman and polite and more than a bit shy. So I wouldn’t change a thing :)

    I think he’s been very successful in his profession. If the roles he has pursued haven’t been to everyone’s liking that I think is personal taste and separate from the definition of success as an actor.He may not yet be a success internationally, but he’s a success in his own country and that is quite an achievement for anyone

    Like most I hope that opportunities will open for him after The Hobbit and that he will continue to be the level headed person he seems to be.

  13. His seeming lack of pretentiousness is one of the things I love most about him.

    He does not appear to be a snob nor does he have a raging ego.
    I would guess he is ambitious and driven (would he have hung in there as long as he did through the lean years if he wasn’t?) and I think a bit of a workaholic, but not at the expense of being a decent and honorable human being. Would that more celebrities be like that.

  14. Whatever happens after The Hobbit for Richard, I wish him well. He has a strong work ethic and with his smooth as silk voice, I feel he will always have work, either in front of the camera or behind it.
    “que sera sera”

  15. I was going to say something snarky but these screencaps checked me. He seems so sweet, young and almost naive in early interviews. Although he’s bound to change somewhat, I hope he retains some of the young main he was here.

  16. I do, too,Judy. Somehow, because all this is happening to him as a middle-aged man rather than a teen or 20-something gives me more reason to believe he will retain some of that young man.

    What amazes me is how young and downright boyish he appears in that N&S interview–contrast those images with him as Mr. Thornton. It is a testament to his acting ability that this sweet, baby-faced, shy guy transformed into the brooding, temperamental overbearing master of the Victorian mill.

  17. I couldn’t agree with you more. I think you hit the nail on the head when talking about expectations after North & South. I don’t know how he could have possibly lived up to the expectations that some fans had immediately following its release. While I’m sure he will play many wonderful characters in the future, that really was one of those special, once it a lifetime films and roles.

    As Famboamanto said, “One of the things I love about him is the fact that he’s not pretentious and has a sense of humor about it all. I like that he’s a gentleman and polite and more than a bit shy. So I wouldn’t change a thing :)”

    I hope his management and marketing teams don’t try to change how he comes across as his career moves more towards Hollywood productions. So much of his charm comes from the seeming genuineness in his interviews.

  18. Hi Frenz,
    Sometimes life has better things in store for us than we realize or plan for. Could RA have imagined that his life would bring him to “The Hobbit” as one of the leads when he was that young, shy, articulate actor talking about the “role of a liftetime” portraying John Thorton? Perhaps not, perhaps yes.
    All I know is that my “life plan” got reinvented when I met my hubby 23 years ago. And we never would have met if I had chosen to go to doc school then. So, though RA had his meanderings a bit role wise-as I did career wise–it brought each of us to the place we were meant to be.
    So Richard? This is your moment, and we are thrilled for you!
    Cheers! Grati ;->

  19. You hit the nail on the head, Grati. All his career choices (indeed, all choices we all make in life) led him to where he is now. I’m a firm believer in the “everything happens for a reason” school of thought. The career choices he made led him to The Hobbit, and none of us know where he will go from here.

    Whatever the reasons for him making the choices he has (and I firmly believe that they are related to concern over personal financial security in the future, and to some extent being a workaholic) I believe he has always given 100% of himself. Hopefully at the end of the day, he can say to himself that he did the best he could. And that’s all any of us should expect.

    PS If he does pursue and attain success on a larger scale (and part of me hopes he doesn’t – I sort of enjoy him being “our little secret”) I hope that he maintains that shy, gentlemanly demeanor. He’s just so darn cute! (Sorry, couldn’t help a bit of gush at the end of a serious post)

  20. I’m on the run again today! But I wanted to say that things never get so serious around here that you can’t gush. Okay, maybe during a Timeout when there is a disaster on the world scene, but that’s about it; otherwise, carry on. :D

  21. I’ve been rewatching this video interview too in preparation for FanstRA. One of my daughters has just finished her drama course and I am therefore looking at RA’s career path through the eyes of a parent. From that perspective, I think he has done fantastically well given the struggle it is just to even be granted auditions in the industry. (It’s very hard to keep quiet about career choices when you see your young adult child rejected after auditions). N&S was one of the roles of a lifetime but I feel that RH, Spooks. Strike Back and now The Hobbit are all fanstastic stepping stones in his career and serve to demonstrate his versatility. I’m sure he will always be in demand, unlike the many unemployed young actors just starting out. People talk of a “lucky break”, but I think for Richard Armitage, he has had many smaller but no less significant breaks. I feel he will do well because of his conscientous attitude to his professional work.

    PS: I’m a bit on the same page as Cindy however – I would love to see him “quietly successful” as opposed to being consumed by “Hollywood Ritz” or is it “glitz”?.

  22. […] decided to laugh and have fun with the plastic period and hope that he’s still in the mode of thoughtfully assessing what to do […]

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