What a pleasure to speak with Todd Garner, Producer on Black Sky, about his new movie and about Richard Armitage, whom he says is “thoughtful and smart.” This should come as little surprise to fans since Richard has received praise from quite a few professionals during his career. Mostly due to his zeal to ensure the story is paramount and his character a perfect complement. His habit of writing character biographies has become almost legendary among fans and has prompted some to ask if he is a writer in the making. Garner thinks he is already there, “He’s an amazing actor but also a terrific writer even though he wouldn’t say that. He has come up with great moments not only for himself and others but for the movie. In fact we just finished shooting a moment he came up with that might be in the trailer.”
Black Sky is the story of a group of people in the midst of the worst tornado in recorded U.S. history. Richard plays a teacher caught up in finding his teenage son in the storm, and his preparation for the role could not be more perfect:
The moment when [the character biography] comes alive is when that research turns into the character, and that character goes out into the big wide world and collides with other characters (often the facets created in the biography are designed to cause chaos when this happens, like planting a few explosions inside the character).
Richard Armitage, Vulpes Libris interview.
Although Garner could not reveal much about the plot, it will be fascinating to see with which characters Richard collides whether people or the elements. And his reaction to Richard’s work on set seems to confirm that whatever the collisions, they are impressive, “He brings a great realism and weight to the movie that we wanted when we were casting. There is so much going on technically and with the story. It’s chaotic as it’s supposed to be since it’s a disaster movie. But it’s great to have an actor who in the midst of all of the chaos has complete control and still makes incredibly smart and surprising choices in his acting.” As for Richard’s speech, he will play an American from Oklahoma, and according to Todd, “He’s nailing the accent.”
Garner has also been impressed with Richard’s fans, “They seem very thoughtful, great and just cool. And it’s been fun. It’s a new experience for me since most of the people I’ve interacted with are comedians and fans of comedians.” He certainly didn’t seem to be the least bothered by fans coming to the set and explained, “Every movie with a star who’s beloved and with the internet making location shooting so well known, whether a Nicholas Cage movie, or a Tom Cruise movie, or a Kevin James movie, has fans who come to the set, and actors are for the most part grateful. Richard certainly feels that way and is happy to oblige. He’s a wonderful person who is very real and very giving and charming and hasn’t been put off by this at all. And everyone has been very respectful.” With the cast and crew working very hard on this movie, the only thing expected of the fans is to continue that respect, and I feel confident we will.
Regarding new pictures, Todd asks that we be patient with him and those working on the publicity for the movie who are trying to be thoughtful and intelligent about it. But it will probably be about two weeks when we get another photo. Considering how engaged he’s been so far, there should be no worries.
Todd Garner has served as producer on several well known movies such as Anger Management and Thirteen Going on 30. His next movie Here Comes the Boom starring Kevin James is due for release early October.
Photos courtesy of Todd Garner