A Moment Leaping Out From The Dark – RA’s Q&A2 at #RDC5 [part 5]

This is gonna be long, kids. Get yourself a cup of tea and find a soft cushion to lean on while reading all this… (Disclaimer: This is so long, sorry for all the typos I have missed!)

I know that some of the fans were quite surprised when it transpired on Friday or even Saturday that Richard was at Red Dragon Con not with just *one* Q&A but actually *two*. After a great first session on Saturday, the Sunday Q&A was scheduled following a big panel with Scott Thompson, Aaron Abrams and Mads Mikkelsen. A good time for a Q&A, with the audience suitably warmed up by the main man of the event… (I’ll eventually get to that, too). So hogging our stewarding seats in the Main Hall, we stayed on for Richard who had already managed to delight half the con attendants thanks to changing tack at the morning photo session. So, the buzz was great and the vibe was positive. However, my memory of the first half of the second Q&A is not that great – because I was not sitting down but taking photographs of the OOA from the side of the room. That is always majorly distracting for me. Distracting in the sense that I just don’t hear the words. I only see. And of course, I was seeing something rather nice, so I didn’t *want* the distraction by words, either… That means that the first half of my account here will be a bit cursory and vague. Once I sat down and stopped photographing about 30 minutes into the Q&A, I was able to follow more closely and take note.

So RA on Sunday – had been broken in by the first Q&A the day before and was happy to sit on stage by himself. No more biting his fist – he was ready for what the audience was going to throw at him. And once he had sat down and settled, it literally took 10 seconds for the assembled fans and fannibals to get up and rush into the aisle for a place in the question queue… Myself, I had a question ready to ask, too, but I quickly saw my chance fading. In any case, this is as a kind of disclaimer. I am not sure how much of the Q&A I remember, it’s quite possible that I will leave out some questions – or that in my memory, my interpretation and my prior knowledge of topics might mesh with what Richard actually *said*. Unfortunately there is no bootleg video of the event (as far as I know…), so I can’t check. But here goes.

Uncle Richard is ready for story time…

Sunday Panel

The Q&A started with a question on how does working in the US and in the UK differ.

In typical Richard fashion he didn’t come out with any qualitative statement but rather turned it into a bit of joke. He said one of the first things he had done when moving to the US, was visit Mount Rushmore. And as he got off the bus (car?) to walk the last bit to the sight, he noticed the amount of eateries along the way. Whereas in the UK, what you notice when you are there for the first time, is the amount of pubs… so in the US the priority is eating, whereas in the UK it is opportunity after opportunity to drink…

On Hannibal

Richard covered various questions here. (Not sure about the sequence.) On designing Francis’ movements, he detailed his research into butoh dance. He said he had seen a performance by one of the foremost butoh performers, and the movements were just perfect for conveying the skin-shedding, tormented Francis. I confess, I slightly glazed over here because it was something he had talked about long ago and I had heard it before. I was also a tiny bit surprised that the fannibals asked a question that had already long been answered. It was a case of “have you not done your homework?” – but then again, I accept that the fannibals had never really concentrated on RA before, so his previous interviews may not really be something they had paid any attention to.

As for the way he characterised Francis’ speech, Richard got his hands on recordings of people who had had restorative cleft palate surgery. He listened to lots of recordings in order to identify the characteristics. According to RA, Dolarhyde’s cleft palate surgery was not fully successful, which is why his speech is strongly impeded. Also, the fact that Francis lives (and works) in isolation, adds to his difficulty with speaking. As an example, Richard talked about occasionally feeling like a recluse himself, spending several days in his home, without contact to the outside world. And happily so, just doing his own thing, reading, working etc. But he often finds that after such a period of, say, two days without talking to anyone, his voice is unused to speaking, and takes on a different quality. He felt that that was the case with Dolarhyde, too. To me, this was a major eye-opening statement about himself. This reclusiveness resonated with me – I completely understand it. Funnily enough I would never class myself as an introvert but I have experienced bouts of hermit-age (…) myself, too. And after hearing this from RA’s mouth I better understand his reluctance to engage with people, or to initially slink into the background despite being *obviously* and *easily* able to talk coherently and engagingly in front of an audience or actually function in closer contact with other human beings… Maybe he is a very complicated introvert who can function in company – but prefers solitude.

In that context it is also interesting that RA later on in the Q&A says that he would have liked to have been an actor in the silent movie era, not least because his background is physical theatre. *yawn* LOL, sorry, but I have heard that exact phrase so often *grins*. It’s a bit like “worked in the circus to get an Equity card” – oh wait, did he just perpetuate that old chestnut himself??? *rofl* In any case, the scene in 3×11 where Dolarhyde basically fights himself in a bid to gain the upper hand over the dragon – and simultaneously punishing himself for having felt for Reba, that scene was the one of the hardest things that Richard ever had to do in his career, he said. Physical theatre is an interest that has stayed with him as he is still interested in theatre and dance. and if he were to direct, that is an area he would be interested in.

My con companion Kate took the opportunity again to ask another question. This time she went back to a funny tweet she had posted a few months back that had garnered an interesting response. Here’s the tweet.

The important point for her question was that she received a surprise reply from Brian Percival, who directed RA in NS and simply said “I’d be up for it!” Kate summarised the whole story for her question, and based on Percival’s expression of interest, wanted to know from RA whether he was “up for it”, too. But boy, was RA slow on the uptake! 😉 He needed the whole thing explained to him again – shout-out to Kate at this point for extreme calmness and presence of mind – and wanted to know exactly what Percival had said. “Is it period?”, he asked, as if Kate was the messenger who was offering a role to him *lol*. RA did explain to us, though, that he was friends both with Brian and Daniel Percival (the latter directed him in Strike Back). I don’t think he gave a clear “yes” or “no” answer on this, but he did say that he was delighted that the people he had worked with at the beginning of his career, helping him start out in the business, were coming back now. And yes, I think that is quite a compliment – and speaks for his professionalism, his talent – and his common decency as a colleague and a man. For the next question I was finally back in my seat, mind and body ready:

Was he interested in directing and if so what kind of movie, genre?

He said he didn’t think he could be a regular TV actor director, directing episodes of EastEnders. He knows how to do it, it’s fast and you get the shots and you move on. But that kind of work just wouldn’t be for him. “I’ve always been fascinated with that middle ground between dance and theatre where people like Robert Lepage (? Canadian theatre director who has worked on the interface of dance and theatre)  or Pina Bausch (German choreographer) sit. Because of the skill set that I have, I think I could move to something like that. I think I could work with bodies and into voices.”

After mentioning his production company the day before what are his plans with it and is he interested in contributions from his fans, i.e. crowdfunding?

According to RA, the production company is still in its early stages where RA is still searching the internet to make sure that he can trade under the name that he really wants. But once that is sorted that out “it will be very clear to everybody that the name of the production company means something to me.” Very interesting!!! Shall we start the guessing game? What will it be? A seminal role from his past with a bit of alliteration? ProPro as in “Proctor Productions”? A beloved book that has been on so many curriculi hence the eponymous “North and South Films”? Some fancy acronym? “RAP”? However, the reason he was getting into it is because he is collecting stories that he wants to develop – not as a guest or passenger, or as an actor that sort of brings financing to someone else’s project, but “I need to start owning the material that I am doing.”

As for crowdfunding: No, not really his plan. He has  been asked to help with crowdfunding and also considered it myself but he thinks it is one of those things you can only really do once, like charity fundraising. “You have to be very very careful about asking people for money. I don’t like to do it.” He believes that if people want to give money to a charity, “it’s because they feel a personal connection to the charity, not to me.” Oh god, how can you be so wrong, RA???? I think it is pretty clear that Richard’s name fuels a lot of fundraising – and that isn’t a bad thing. It is wonderful that he inspires many people to give to a good cause. So in summary, he’d be careful with crowdfunding and only resort to it if there was no other way. “But I would only ever do it once.”

On Dolarhyde and Chilton

In the Q&A on Saturday, RA had mentioned that he was glad he never had to act Dolarhyde committing his crimes. A fan of Frederick Chilton wanted to object to that – much to the delight of the audience. RA: “That wasn’t that terrible, it was quite pleasant actually. Come on, he deserved it. It was funny and really quite disturbing.” A slight little wobbler here when RA had to ask the audience what the name of the actor was who played Frederick Chilton. OMG!!!! RA!!!!! But that was a colleague of yours!!! Not sure how the fannibals took that! However, the following answer actually thew up a really interesting tidbit. He said that he had very recently been to a play reading in New York for Michael Mayer who directed LLL. For a musical. He didn’t want to say what it is because it is being developed, but for this read-through, Raul Esparza (Frederick Chilton, see above) walked in, and he quipped to him “Hi Raul, come here, let me give you a kiss.’  He didn’t want to. I don’t know why…”

nearly…

Did RA actively apply for the role of Thorin Oakenshield, was he approached by Peter Jackson or how did the casting come about?

RA went really far back with his answer, recounting how he had wanted to be in LotR  already but missed the boat on that: “I sat in front of my agent saying I heard about LotR, do you think there would be a role? I’d really like Legolas. And she said ‘darling they are nearly at the end of the filming process.’” He joked about his own perception of himself, thinking of himself as an elf, playing something so blithe and light, “and then I actually end up getting cast as this dumb fat dwarf…” (lots of laughter at that). As for the actual casting process – we have heard this before, but he went into a bit more detail: He was working on Spooks and had just done a scene with Laila Rouass where he had hurt his back, so he had to wear a back brace, which was like a corset. But he was in a lot of pain. Then his agent called and told him that Peter Jackson was in town, just for two days, casting people, and asked him to just go in and do something. “Whatever you do, just don’t do silly dwarf voices, just interpret it and be yourself.” So he went to the audition despite huge pain since the morning. “I could hardly get out of bed, so I just took loads of painkillers, couldn’t even carry my bag, it was so painful. And I remember sitting outside the casting office thinking ‘I don’t know how to do this. I don’t think I can go in’ because I was sort of sweating and grimacing.” He did a scene in Bag End between Thorin and Balin where Thorin says he doesn’t know whether he can go on the quest and bring his people back to Erebor, in front of Peter and Fran and Philippa and a bunch of other casting people. Then went back to work. The call back came  when he was on the set of The Vicar of Dibley (Hm, can that be right???? I am 100% sure that I am remembering him saying that – but even at the con thinking he got something wrong there. Wasn’t Dibley much earlier than Spooks 9? I think he mixed something up here.) . He was surprised because he had walked out of the auction thinking he wouldn’t get it, “ok move on, next”, and he’d left the whole thing behind . And then he knew something was different because his agent arranged to go out for dinner with him and a couple of other agents. “They told me I got the job and it was kind of life-changing.”

What would have to happen for him to reach a point where he would make the decision to leave/cancel/exit a project?

Richard replied that that would never happen “but that is partly to do with the fact that I have a lot of loyalty, probably too much loyalty for my own good really.” However, he said that he has had moments where he was on board of a project and the question of exiting came up, for instance earlier this year with The Lodge. “I was already on board that project and something else came along which was bigger and better and brighter and more money and my agent says, ‘look, we can pull you out of the Lodge, they can recast it’ but in here I think, no I have already started the process, I don’t wanna let them down. And I don’t have a problem with that at all. I never ever have any regrets over the things that you miss or the things that you decide not to do. I think there is a strong enough reason why you decided not to do it.” He said he has never pulled out of any project. Except there was one television show which he discreetly did not want to name: “After the first read-through I did call my agent and ask ‘Can I get out of there?’ ” But he quickly, literally taught him a lesson and said don’t do it. Don’t build a reputation based on disloyalty. “So… I try not to.” And isn’t that exactly the RA that we know and admire? This kind of principled approach, fiercely loyal – really too decent for his own good, I agree with him. A couple of “easier” questions followed.

Is there a character that he would like to revisit?

There was a lot of umming and ahhing, and then, to my surprise, he said John Proctor. He explained “Maybe [that is] because I think I am *likely* to revisit him if I am not too old.” Calm down, Richie, the real John Proctor was killed when he was 60!!! You have so much time left!! Interestingly, he said he would like to explore the character on film, taking that work they did in the stage play and somehow put it on film, “not as a piece of filmed theatre, but as a feature film”. He acknowledged that there was a movie of The Crucible made back in the mid-90s, but he wanted to put something more organic on film, something more in line with what Yael Farber did with that piece of theatre.

Question from leftfield: What have you got in your pockets? The whole auditorium erupted in laughter!!!

What has it got in its pocketses? (His genitals, apparently, according to an earlier interview.)

Answer: His phone, headphones, credit card, some sunglasses. “Sums me up really…”

How was it putting on the armour for Thorin?

It was really, really extensive work, lots of designing, amazing technicians that created the armour. And Richard Taylor (co-founder and head of Weta Workshop, NZ) was closely involved. According to Richard, Taylor really wanted something that created almost an impossible shape because Thorin is so small yet he was supposed to look like a warrior, and his armour needed to be sculpted and tailored – “Richard Taylored” *rolf* such a dad joke, Richard!!!  The end result was something almost like a tank which Richard literally had to be drilled into. “There were no fasteners, you couldn’t have slipped out of it, they put you in with a hammer drill, so… bolted together with a drill. It was so tight around the middle, I kind of had to sit like this the whole time and couldn’t breathe out. So I guess, again, like a Victorian lady in a corset, almost having fainting fits. But it looked great, so I was really really happy with it.”

How did he approach the kind of self-loathing evident in Francis’ hating the way he looks, considering that he himself (Armitage) is a very handsome man?

Richard said that there was something he could relate to. “Without getting too personal, I don’t always enjoy looking at myself in the mirror. awwwww honestly, it breaks my heart to hear that he has this insecurity thing going on. It was pretty visible at the con itself, body language and all, but there we go. I suppose we, as women, can particularly easily relate to what he feels there. So anyway, he said he avoids looking in the mirror. “I do it just to make sure I don’t have food on my face.” And he does it when he is in character, actually. “I do spend a bit of time studying my own face when I am playing a character, which is interesting because your face does change.” He went back to the Crucible as an example: “The way that I looked on day 1 in rehearsals compared to the way that I looked in the last week of performance. It was like a different person. I didn’t recognise myself. I think I aged 10 years. Nobody was sad about that by the way. It was exactly what the director had predicted.” And even now when he meets with Yael Farber to talk about other projects yes? YES? We are waiting, Richard!!!!  she says she doesn’t recognise him because he is not that character anymore, and something has changed in his face. “So with Dolarhyde I think it was an extension of that. He looked at himself because he wanted to study lips and learn how to speak properly but he couldn’t look at his own eyes, he could only look at his mouth, so I just used that.”

How did he develop Francis and Reba’s relationship?

He said his thought process shifted a lot from reading the book to reading the script, to meeting Rutina Wesley. “I have always felt like you concentrate on your own character and you can’t make any decisions about another character until you have met the actor that is gonna bring that character into the room. And it’s where a lot of people fall down because they made a decision about the relationship before it even exists, yet what the other person can bring to the room can change everything. It can be a completely different interpretation to what you expect, and you have to be open to that.” Richard said that Rutina was incredible and her interpretation of Reba and the relation was really quite different to how he had read it in the book. He then described one of of the most interesting scenes that they played “in the dark in that darkroom… we asked them to turn the lights down and I almost blurred my eyes so that I couldn’t see her but only hear her.” That made Francis and Reba almost equal because she didn’t have sight and in the darkroom neither did he. But then Richard would catch glimpses of her face, just because of the way  they had lit her. And now Richard totally slayed me with his wonderful and surprising way of expressing himself sometimes:  “These moments leaping out of the dark kind of hook you.” Wow! The poetry of that expression – moments leaping out of the dark *dead* He said that he loves and has studied art, particularly the Impressionists, but the example he pulled from was the old masters – painting on a completely dark canvas, “bringing just these shreds of light through. In a way to me that was what Reba’s character was, these sort of glimpses of light through darkness which pierced into Dolarhyde and that’s where the relationship came from.” Oh my cod, seriously, could the man be any more gorgeous in the way he expresses himself? If you are a lover of language like I am, you know what I mean *thud*

Kiss me now, Richard, I am yours ;-). You don’t have to check whether you have food on your face. Just keep talking.

His latest project was finally addressed – Ocean’s 8: What was it like to work with all those amazing women?

First of all Richard made us all laugh with his admission that he actually hasn’t even seen the film. Not a deliberate choice, he just wasn’t available when it premiered. But between missing the premiere and being really adamant about not watching movies that he plays in, he simply hasn’t seen it. His participation in the movie happened by accident, by the way: “I came to the project really late. I was back at home in England for Christmas and I got a phone call saying can you get on a plane and get to New York in about 24 hours?” It had to be quick because they had rented the Metropolitan Museum of Art for two weeks and an actor had dropped out. So he had to prepare the character really quickly. But he worked his usual magic on the prep, “I just worked really fast in exactly the same way I would’ve done if I had three months.” He obviously loved Sandra Bullock and said that what was brilliant about working with those actors was that Sandy (sic!) Bullock was both a producer on the film, and the lead actress, and she was really accessible. She gave him her e-mail and told him to get in touch with his ideas, info, questions. “So I was bombarding her with images, documentaries about art fraud, she is busy being a director and Sandra Bullock, but she still took time to respond to absolutely everything. She watched everything that I recommended, she pulled things from that and got it into the script.” Cool – so Richard got some of his ideas into this film, too… He *definitely* needs to get into production, if only to get credit for the extra creative work he provides on the projects he is involved in. About working with Sandra Bullock: “She starts every single take with a little giggle. And it sort of sums her up. And that really appeals to me because I am the same. I take the job really seriously but there’s parts of it where you think this is ridiculous.” Likewise, he loved working with Anne Hathaway again, as well as Helena Bonham-Carter, and he giggled about the fact that he had played Helena’s and Anne’s father in Alice through the Looking Glass, “… and then I am standing against the wall, kissing Anne Hathaway, thinking, this is kinda weird.” Not at all Richard. I’d happily stand back against the wall with you and kiss *coughs* Most of their scenes together were on that night shoot, and she made him belly-laugh between takes.

The last question turned to Rich’s audio work. Did he have any favourite narrators or audio books he’d like to recommend?

He confessed that he doesn’t listen to a lot of audio books, “and I certainly don’t listen to my own.” Probably a bit like looking in the mirror, right? But in terms of his enjoyment of audio books he has just had really amazing experiences just sitting in a room, telling a story and he considers reading a story the most impactful moment of creativity. This was actually where the idea for starting a production company came from.”I see reading a book, performing a book, as the first bridge between literature and the realisation that this could become something visual.” When reading, he sees the pictures in his head and then describes them. David Hewson gave him the word for it, Kopfkino, a German word meaning “cinema of the mind”. “And I didn’t even realise I was doing it. I see the images in such detail…” As examples for impactful, particularly visual stories he mentioned the Angela Carter stories that he read for International Women’s Day last year. “The ‘Wolf Alice’ story completely pinned me to the wall.” It obviously impressed him very much because he said that he felt that now was the moment for Angela Carter’s writing to re-emerge on film “because it’s so brilliantly visual.”

Guylty’s reaction

And that abruptly concluded the second Q&A with Richard. There were standing ovations and thunderous applause; Richard had definitely won over the room – and the fannibals. And as a long-time fan I also felt that he had really put on a great performance for us. Performance sounds as if it was artificial or somehow inauthentic, but that is not what I mean. I am referring to his willingness to interact with us in this Q&A format. He simply presented himself as a really intelligent, thinking man, and he answered every question he was asked without squirming or distracting us. The general impression I  came away with, is that my previous opinion of him was reinforced. A meticulous, possibly pedantic, if not perfectionist artist. Very sensitive to any kind of medium that might provide inspiration. His passion for his chosen profession is evident in everything he says about his jobs and his processes. He is extremely aware of his own responsibility as an actor in how he creates a character and performs a story. And I had the impression that he has grown in confidence at least when it comes to taking ownership of the narrative and producing stories himself. On a general level, the Q&A certainly also shone light on him as a human being – confidence issues, as well as personality traits such as loyalty and the need to connect with his co-workers. (I’ll probably write a bit more about “Richard – the man” when I come to my subjective account of the whole con.) But I really enjoyed the way he presented himself – thoughtful, professional, yet also humble and witty, or downright funny. In all honesty, I don’t really think I have anything I can truly criticise in this Q&A. He came across as genuine, honest and at ease.

At about the half way mark of the Q&A, I worried for one minute that possibly the questions might dry up and there weren’t enough people queuing for the microphone. No worries, actually – I had the impression that RA was quite capable of literally directing the event, making sure that he answered long or short enough, to fill the 60 minutes allocated to this talk. Something else that really struck me – and that is evident from all my photos as well as everyone else’s, RA really is not only a brilliant listener who concentrates on the person who is talking to him at that moment, but he actually continues to address his answer to the inquirer. In my images you can see him looking into the middle of the auditorium – that is where the microphone for questions was. I am sure he doesn’t do this with an agenda. It’s a subconscious reaction. But it just shows for me that he shows respect to the person who is talking to him, and he meets them *almost* on an equal footing. He certainly did not look embarrassed or flustered or unhappy in the “interrogation seat”, and I suspect he enjoyed the questions that were asked of him.

So, verdict: Loved it. Because this was Richard leaping out from the dark. And I liked what I saw.

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101 thoughts on “A Moment Leaping Out From The Dark – RA’s Q&A2 at #RDC5 [part 5]

  1. Brilliant analysis and summary of this wonderful hour. I have rarely enjoyed myself this much except in those agonizing sixty seconds where he was confused and I was in hell, trying to explain my meaning and relayed totally obvious information to him. I simply wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole. Good thing my subconscious took over and I only came to afterwards or I might have done a literal mic drop and fled the auditorium.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw, no – it really did not come across as bad as that to the audience. But well, I totally get that those were the longest 60 seconds of your life *lol*. Let’s just blame Richard, shall we?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds amazing. I wasn’t so keen on the sat talk as the ‘interviewer ‘ was pretty terrible imo. But this sounded like a different kettle of fish. Also i get Kate tweet now!

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    • Ah, the interviewer was con organiser Sean Harry. He wasn’t really that bad tbh, but of course he resorted to fairly predictable questions. Maybe that is what RA suggested, who knows. But yeah, I definitely thought the fan-led Q&A was way more interesting – because it is such a mixed bag and you have no way of telling what will come up. RA held up pretty well against that kind of uncertainty *hehe*

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      • just felt that Sean was trying to be intelligent but was just rehashing old tired questions…it felt a bit vain. Sounds as though Richard was better on the Sunday-possibly because he wasn’t being asked inane dull questions and because he could just talk

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        • I would bet that RA either requested the interview portion or was okay with it. It’s not like he didn’t know beforehand. Sean said he would ease him into it. So I’m thinking it was safe questions to get the ball rolling. Just my opinion.

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          • I completely agree with that assessment. And I wouldn’t be surprised if RA actually wanted it that way – just to suss out the lay of the land, so to speak. Who knows, maybe he even suggested which questions to ask *haha*

            Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t really think that your man Sean was particularly familiar with RA or his oeuvre, so yeah, the interview questions were pedestrian. It probably didn’t matter to most of the attendees – because they weren’t familiar with RA, either. It only really occurred to Richard’s own fans. Not sure whether RA himself found that a bad thing, though – after all it meant he could rehash old stuff, too, without much thinking 😀
          If RA was better on Sunday, then that is because the whole day went better for him, I think. Prior to the Q&A, he had his second photo session in the morning, and I think his change of MO cleared some of the vague disappointment and made for better vibes. In terms of reactions to fan questions, I think he was equally gracious on both days.

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  3. Thank you for this really enlightening and heartfelt summary of the second Q and A. Your memory is very good! I took so much from this summary especially that he is human-he has strengths and weaknesses just like everybody else does and maybe for q and a like this one and Saturdays he just feels more comfortable engaging with people than one on one taking a thirty second picture. Maybe this environment he is more used to and more in control of than the photo sessions. Who knows but you definitely captured his eloquence, humility, intelligence, and beauty as an actor and as a man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are definitely on the right track there, Michele – it was pretty clear to me that he was more comfortable engaging *from the stage* than engaging *side by side*. Mind you, the latter would’ve been difficult, anyway – just because it was such a conveyor belt; there was no time to stop and say anything. Maybe that is something he finds difficult, too?
      In any case, I definitely got what I wanted from this con – a renewed interest in and admiration of RA. He was interesting and funny, and he presented himself in a way that I found (mostly) irresistible. And I really gained a couple of insights that I had hitherto not had, so that’s definitely a successful con for me 😉

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  4. Well done Guylty, I have really enjoyed reading about your time at the con. It sounds like you had a fantastic time, notwithstanding all the queuing! It has inspired me to consider going, if RA does another small one in the future. It sounds as if he had also had a good experience on the whole once he “loosened” up on Sunday; maybe he saw how the others interacted with the Fannibals, or maybe he had a few drinks in the bar with Mads and the boys on Saturday night…who knows?!! I hope did…
    I am always interested in your thoughts, impression of the “real Richard”, having never met him in person. I am relieved he comes across as fairly down to earth, not too precious or flakey for an actor. I get the impression that for him, his work is very much his life and vice versa. Not much room for anything else…(that we know of)? I also wonder where his underlying streak of insecurity might come from?
    Just wondering whether you got the impression he has now moved back to UK on a permanent basis?
    I have loved reading all the comments too – some real corkers that have made me laugh out loud. And I learnt some interesting things about dentristy (thank you Rachel)! His teeth – I agree, not natural looking, I find them distracting to his performances. Warty back – never heard about this before? Maybe it’s a protruding mole? Talking of protrusions… shadow play (or aka puppetry of the p**is!) Still brings a smile to my face😆 – at least it wasn’t a stiffy! The receding hairline – I am on Team Hairpiece – prima facie, he appears to have more hair on his head than he did when he first started out on TV.
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, thoughts and perceptions rising from the Con.

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    • Lol re teeth! Re hair -as someone with fine hair -I can wholly say that the shorter my hair is -the thicker it looks -and his hair is pretty short now! Also I think when it was black it made it look thinner imo.

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    • Oh Zigzag, you made me giggle helplessly here with the end of your comment. Team Hairpiece *chuckles*, and “Puppetry of the Penis” (let’s call it as it is… and yes, I know the stage show of the same name…)
      Anyway, going through your comment from the beginning – I think he probably needed a bit of time to warm up, but yes, I thought he was much happier alone on stage, fielding questions (something he has done before and knows how to deal with), than taking pictures with hundreds of strangers (completely new to him). I’ll write about that day in the coming days when I tackle the photo and autograph sessions… of which I had *plenty* of experience *coughs*… through no (real) fault of my own.
      The insecurity – no idea, but just based on some of the things he has said over the years, I wonder whether the bullying experience plays into it? We all know how some stupid unkind words can stay with you forever. Could’ve happened to him.
      As for his current place of residence – (copying here what I wrote to someone else bts) He didn’t say it explicitly. What happened was this: At the opening ceremony, when RA came on stage, he made a little welcome speech. The weather that weekend was extremely cold, and there had been snow, and RA referred to that, saying that he congratulated those of us who had come from far away and had braved the weather, which luckily he didn’t have to do because “HE WAS AT HOME HERE.”
      From that we all took that he has moved back to UK. Also fits the fact that he was in the UK a lot last year before (and after?) his mother’s death. And now he has got The Stranger scheduled which will also take a few months of filming in Manchester (?) – so yeah, sounded as if he may have moved back. At least for the moment.
      Protrusions etc – *coughs* yeah, that shadow play in that scene in Hannibal is forever burnt into my retina…

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  5. Thank you for sharing the second Q&A! I’ve been waiting for this, and it came at such a good time too. Lots of work to be done in a matter of days and this really relieved my tired self. I do wonder what was the big project that was offered to him when he was doing the lodge, but I guess we’ll never know.
    I also love you wrote your impression of him. He delivers so well on stage, even for Q&A, but you do see parts of him that seem a little vulnerable (like the insecurities). Though that mirror thing does resonate with me too.

    If ever you do share any more of your thoughts or experiences (like the photo ops) I’ll gladly read them! Thank you again ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw, Nix, thanks for the lovely comment. (And yep, there will definitely a few more observations from the heart of the con – I’m only half-deliberately drawing it out as much as this… Definitely not trying to annoy my esteemed readers with my drip-feed of con posts…)
      Anyway, yes, that big project sounds majorly intriguing… But I was really glad that he said he never feels any regret about projects that he declined to do. I like that he looks forward, not back.
      The mirror thing – *bam* that’s something I can so strongly identify with. To the extent that we actually do not have a full-length mirror in my house because neither I nor my husband can stand looking at ourselves… (cod, we’re a pair of saddos *lol*)

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      • Guylty, I don’t have a full length mirror either- same as you and Mr. Guylty and Richard! Don’t like looking at myself, esp full body… not saddos at all. rather human and in esteemed company with The Armitage!

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        • *hehe* the “saddo” comment wasn’t meant in earnest. Like yourself, I just can’t bear seeing myself full length. Sure, a reflection (haha) of my general unhappiness with the way I look. But also a general dislike of anything that would encourage vanity.

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            • 😉 Well, I am definitely vain, Michele – otherwise I wouldn’t care so much about NOT seeing myself *hehe*. And Richard – oh well, I had that discussion before. I just don’t like the way he takes all those selfies. To ME that is vanity. But that is just based on my own approach…

              Liked by 1 person

              • OOHHH you clever girl, took me a minute to realize what you meant (said) I too do not like his selfies but the fact that he would admit he doesn’t like looking in the mirror and is self-conscious is not vain at all.. is honest and humble and quite endearing to me…

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              • I’ve always thought that vanity is looking in the mirror and thinking that you look fabulous, being confident that you look attractive and all the primping and preening is to maintain that fabulousness. For me it doesn’t come from insecurity about one’s looks. I spend time in front of a mirror to make sure I’ve *improved* my appearance from when I first got out of bed lol! I have to make sure the odd wayward eyebrow/chin hair is tamed/tweezered (the bane of getting older!), my hair doesn’t look like a rats nest, and the long length mirror shows that what I’m wearing flatters my chubby figure.

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                • I think my definition of vanity is more along the lines of “being too interested in your appearance or achievements” – which would also include people like myself who have low self-esteem when it comes to the way they look. Because despite not considering myself attractive, I would still display too much interest in my appearance or in looking presentable…
                  But well, that’s all a matter of definition. The fact remains that I can very easily relate to RA’s reluctance to look into a mirror – no matter whether that is vanity or the lack of it.

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                  • “excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.
                    synonyms: conceit, conceitedness, self-conceit, narcissism, self-love, self-admiration, self-regard, self-absorption, self-obsession, self-centredness, egotism, egoism, egocentrism, egomania”

                    This definition is as far from Richard (as I believe him to be) as it’s possible to get, and when he’s called vain, it sends me straight into APM, as it did this morning lol 😉 You are definitely not vain either S! 😘

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                    • Mezz thank you! Right!! I lived w a narcissist believe me Richard is as far removed from vain as possible
                      Guylty as I said you are not vain or there’s a piece of land in China I’d like to sell ya 😘🤣🤣🤣

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                    • LOL – piece of land in China.
                      And I agree with you here – narcissist is definitely not a Richard. Me – I am not so sure. I can be quite self-obsessed… I am an only child, you know. All complaints addressed at my mother, please 😆

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I have to agree. That definition of vanity definitely does not fit my impression of Richard, either. I couldn’t possibly respect and admire a man who displayed such attitudes. Hehe, I am sticking to *my* definition of vanity, though, and am applying that to Richard (and myself, of course) – but with the caveat that it isn’t a primary characteristic of his. I don’t think he is egotistic, egocentric, egomaniac, or conceited, narcissistic and self-obsessed at all. I don’t completely buy all the humility and modesty either (at least not as far as his frequent “I’m just dumb actor” goes), because I think he knows very well what he is good at and where his strengths lie and that he can be confident about some of his talents. But I do appreciate his willingness to make himself smaller in order to make others bigger. That is definitely not vanity but generosity.
                      I find it interesting how our little sub-discussion here shows that our opinion of him sometimes rests on the individual interpretation of words… and how easily that can go wrong.

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                    • Different interpretations, different opinions…….all good! My sensitivity to him being referred to as vain is all about me, not anyone else 😉

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                    • Well said, Mezz – I think that applies to me as well. I am projecting my interpretations and needs and problems onto him. But that’s why talking about it here, is so interesting. Anyway – you know that I love him to bits, so even if I level accusations of “vain” at him, I still think he’s one of my favourite people 🙂

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    • Thanks for this Guylty.. ❤ I could read your reports all day, love all the little details and the gifs and pix you choose to illustrate the text. Please feel free to draw things out as much as you like!

      I dunno, insecurity is a difficult beast to get rid of. No matter how many positive comments you get, their effect doesn’t last long. Whereas the negatives stay with you for years.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hehe, a couple more posts coming – with more subjective detail about the photo mess and the autograph session. And some photos I have unearthed (including the awful, horrible crap with myself in it).
        You are right, I should know it myself that insecurity and lack of confidence are like a chronic disease – almost impossible to shake off. I just hate the idea so much that a man so talented and sweet should suffer from that…

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  6. Danke für Deine umfassenden Eindrücke! Schön, dass ER Dich (wieder) so gepackt hat! 😉
    Spätestens seit Newcastle bin ich vollends begeistert von seiner Eloquenz, dem Witz und der Ehrlichkeit, die er im Gespräch verströmt. Kein Showman, aber ein sehr guter Unterhalter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Das hast du sehr schön gesagt, Nell – kein Showman, sondern ein Unterhalter. Leise und mit viel Verstand, nicht mit Konfetti und Tamtam. Ich finde ihn inhaltlich (solange er bei dem Thema bleibt, von dem er was versteht) eigentlich immer sehr beeindruckend. Und das nochmal wieder live zu sehen, frischt wirklich auch die ein wenig angewelkte Fan-Liebe wieder auf. (Ich schätze aber, dass Newcastle da noch besser war – eben ein viel kleineres Event mit mehr Berührungspunkten und einer familiären Atmosphäre, wie man mir erzählt hat.)

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  7. Great write up, Guylty. You totally put me in the room with RA and his admirers. What a great chance to learn more about him (so rare we get new information) and see him relaxed and engaging with fans so freely. Loved Kate’s reaction to his confusion. She kept her composure beautifully. Did anyone ask him if he was drawn to characters who are killed off? Is he is drawn to TV parts that have a definite expiration date, leaving him free to go in different directions? I am thinking of tv stuff, but his survival rate in films in not much better. Anyway, thank you for sharing this encounter. We are so lucky you went into the trenches for us in getting lovely (to us with untrained eyes) photos and taking such comprehensive notes. That is not easy. I hope he does more events like this one. Maybe he had a good enough time to want to do it again. The whole thing sounds like RA fan nirvana.

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    • Hehe, yes, your questions were covered in the first Q&A. Here’s what transpired: “Another great question came from Kate: Your characters’ survival rate isn’t the greatest and it’s responsible for no shortage of grey hair in the Armitage Army, so does it make a difference to you as an actor to leave behind a character because he dies or is it easier for you to leave them when they ride off into the sunset?

      RA: “I don’t know what it is with me but when I get cast in something, people either want me to inflict violence on someone or just kill me. I don’t know. I take it personally. (We take it personally too.) It’s not gonna happen in the Stranger, though.”
      And there you have it – Kate is quite the cool cucumber (even though she is trying to convince you in the comments here that she was dying inside ;-))
      As for RA doing a con again – it’s really hard to tell how much he liked it. I think he got off to a bit of a rocky start, but in the end he seemed to have understood a bit more. I would hope that we didn’t traumatise him forever *hehe*. RA fan nirvana – well, not quite. For that, the time we saw him was just too short 😉 – when you add it all up, it came to something like 3 hours max, so the best part of the con was actually spent *without* him :-). Mind you, I’m tempted to say that that was time well-spent, too 😉

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      • You are right. The time spent in between RA stuff is the best. So much fun to hang out with old and new friends. I guess we should start saving up for a NYC trip again, though I’d rather see him in something else besides TC. Not that the play isn’t wonderful and so is he in it. Rather not repeat plays, but it certainly wouldn’t stop me from attending. Think of all the “compare and contrast” posts you could write. Maybe an in depth post analyzing his shirtless physique in both versions of TC. If he kept his shirt on (incorrectly thinking he is too old reveal so much skin) I might have to ask for my money back.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LOL yeah, I’d love the left nipple to receive a bit of attention this time ’round 😉 But otherwise I am completely with you: The Crucible was great when I saw it. But somehow it has been done, we’ve seen it, we’ve got the t-shirt/selfie. I’m actually surprised that he wants to revisit something that he has done so relatively recently… Must be the pull of the director!

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Bless you for another brilliant write up of your experience at RDC5. This second Q&A seemed much more intimate somehow. I found your insights and impressions of him throughout the hour just as fascinating as his answers to the fan questions. You not only gave us the Q&A (which had some great new insights from him) but with your detailed observations you transported us into the experience and took us along for the ride. I really appreciate your POV. I do hope the experience left him with a positive outlook toward future events. Looking forward to your next installment ❤️xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks D, for the kind words. Yep, I just couldn’t resist adding my own impression here and there, but I have tried to stick as close to the truth as possible, quoting as accurately as possible.
      The first Q&A had already been great at RDC5, and I remember I tweeted that he delivered at the Saturday Q&A. The second Q&A felt slightly more intimate, indeed, because he was alone on stage and “didn’t need a chaperone to protect him”. As I said elsewhere – I think he needed a day to warm up and to understand that a con is not nearly as weird and crazy and unpredictable as he possibly thought.
      I very much sympathised with him on being unsure how to take it all. It was *my* first con, too, and I went into it with some prejudices and worries. And then those preconceived ideas basically vanished into thin air before the con had even properly started… and I just relaxed, went with the flow and enjoyed. I’ll be more detailed about that, soon.

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  9. My heartfelt thanks for another detailed account, Guylty, you have a real knack for making the whole experience come alive for me – a delicious drip feed indeed, bookmarked for leisurely revisits, especially when I need a lift!
    I had a lovely read over breakfast this morning but was then only partway through the comments when I had to get a move on – we left Te Anau after two nights and are now in Queenstown until Saturday.
    Your impressions serve to reinforce how I’ve always seen Richard, the reasons why my crush is ongoing after all these years. My feelings may ebb and flow a little depending on access to him and his work, and then something like this comes along and I’m reminded that he still has the power to make my heart beat a little faster and my knees go weak.
    He is certainly not a perfect man, but he is the perfect crush – such a beautiful gentleman. We have chosen well. ❤️

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    • You have said that so well, Mezz – not a perfect man but a perfect crush. I totally agree with that. You know, the little jabs about his photo rules etc, or wearing the same outfit on two consecutive days – for me these little things show that he is “just a man”. Not a Hollywood prince created in a test tube and printed out in teflon, but a *real* person. A few little flaws, just like we all do. But like that mole on Cindy Crawford’s upper lip, it just makes him all the more beautiful. (Now, if only he knew that and took a bit of strength from that – the only characteristic I really wish he didn’t possess, is his lack of self-confidence. He deserves to think more highly of himself.)
      Anyway, oooof, I am beginning to gush here. Better stop.
      Oh, but Te Anau – have you just been to Milford Sound, Mezz? Enjoy Queenstown. And go and paraglide off that mountain for me. (I so regret I didn’t do that!)

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      • I don’t think I’d be fan if he were a Hollywood prince. Sure, the good looks might have drawn me in, but I wouldn’t still be crushing on the man after eight years if he didn’t have the good character and hidden depths that Richard has. I guess that’s why I always felt that the UK was the better fit for him. I’m hoping his self confidence might improve with a couple of quality television projects under his belt, but then it hasn’t seemed to after The Hobbit and The Crucible, roles in which he was utterly superb and gave his all, so maybe it’s going to be an ongoing battle for him.

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        • Oops, pushed post too soon. Yes, we were at Milford Sound yesterday, took a tour bus in and then the boat ride. Absolutely breath-taking scenery, even though it was a dull day, at least the rain held off until today. I assume from what you said that you stayed in Te Anau when you were over here?
          Paragliding? Er, no, not for me! I’ve challenged a lot of my fears over the years (water, heights, flying, going under ground) but that is something I simply couldn’t bring myself to do. The gondola will provide enough excitement lol!

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            • We went up this morning, the weather had cleared up, fantastic views. There was a young lass on the bungy swing and my vertigo kicked in just watching her from the viewing deck lol.
              After doing a lake cruise, we ran out of time to do the jet boat on the river, but we are keen to come back to Queenstown, so we’ll do it next time. With direct flights into here, it’s less than a three hour flight from Melbourne, so very doable for a short break. 😊

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              • Oh, the bungee I could completely do without. (And I can really picture you on the viewing deck, looking down to the bungee deck – I was there, too…)
                Direct flights from Melbourne to Queenstown? That is fantastic! And only 3 hours? So it really is like a regular holiday destination… Lucky, lucky you!

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        • Absolutely right – no Hollywood prince for me, too. THat would’ve lasted for all of 2 months but never 7 years.
          Yep, I think it is an ongoing battle re. the self-confidence issue. There is so much he can be really, really proud of, but I guess it is *always* that ONE negative review that will be remembered.

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  10. I am glad he mentioned Angela Carter, her short stories are very visual and I think only the one about the wolves has been made into film. I still have a couple to hear on Audible, I loved the Nosferatu one ‘The lady of the house of love’ I could almost smell the scent of the roses .
    PS
    I find I have to give my email and name each time I comment no problem but I wondered if I was on your ‘naughty’ list lol

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    • OMG Yve, no no no! There is no naughty list here whatsoever!! Really sorry to hear that the tech is playing up. But definitely not on purpose or on my instruction! (I am battling with WP myself – the system refuses to notify me of some replies to comments that I have made on other blogs, and that really annoys the hell out of me.)
      Yep, Angela Carter really seemed to have left a lasting impression on him. I was intrigued by his last words on the matter, that the time was right for Carter to be re-visualised. And I wondered whether that is something he has on his list for his own production company…

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  11. Pingback: Richard Armitage tangentially related | Me + Richard Armitage

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