News to Discuss

For your Sunday reading, may I guide you to a new article about Richard that has dropped today? There is a long piece in the Telegraph, on the release of Geneva. But very personal indeed. I don’t want to steal the screenshots from original poster Laura, so I am embedding her tweets here. You can continue reading the article if you click through to her thread.

Some remarkable (?) candour in this interview. He has slowly inched his way out of the closet, and I am certain that is a good thing. He’s done it in the least conspicuous way possible – no fanfare and big confession, just a “by-the-by”. I guess that is his way, and I hope it nevertheless is a burden lifted.

I’m really sorry to read about RA’s insecurities. Of course, I sympathise. We all have our own experience with feelings of inadequacy and doubt. Mind you, I do wish he’d look at the replies to his tweets every once in a while. I only see admiration for his looks *and* his brains (!) there, so it is not as if the public only wants him as totty. Or do we not count?

But hey, this is not about how *we* see him, but about he sees *himself*. No doubt, the movie business is merciless, and it probably chips away at the actors’ self-confidence all the time. Maybe that is another reason why RA likes to have many eggs in many *different* baskets? To get away from the meat business?

But sorry, Richard, I am still looking, and I am still noticing. Maybe that is because I am aging at the same rate as you although definitely less attractively as you, meh. It doesn’t help when you sign off on pictures such as this.

Picture Credit: Kaitlyn Mikayla

Armitage at 51, reinventing himself? I’m here for it.

63 thoughts on “News to Discuss

  1. I think he is expressing openly something we all keep deep inside. We all have deep insecurities, I know I do, but I’m really good at hiding it. Perhaps he is simply letting us all know that he is as human as we are. I wasn’t able to read the entire article, but I will go looking for it. I admire him for his brains, as well as his brawn.

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  2. Yes it’s a lovely article. I’m pleased he has ‘unburdened’ himself, it came out as we always thought it would in his quiet unassuming way.
    Why do I ‘love’ him so, yes he has great looks but beyond that he is kind and caring and really genuine. I think it’s as much his characterisations that I love. It just makes for great ‘fan’tising, especially John Thornton and … the list is endless. You need all the help you can get as you get older!!
    It’s still a long held dream of mine to see him live on stage – been thwarted twice now by my own hospitalisation for Crucible and then Covid for Vanya. So hoping for for something on stage, as we look forward to his series and films and Geneva coming out in book form 🤞
    Our church sermon today was about minority groups and accepting ourselves for what we are, minority group or not. So we’ll done to RA and love to all his fans whatever/wherever.

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    • It’s interesting to me that he has chosen *this time* to finally come out unequivocally. But it is like you say – done without any fuss. Good for him!
      I do like his looks, but they aren’t enough to keep my attention for this long a time as a fan. So there is more to him than the eyecandy.
      Fingers crossed that he will have a stage project again, soon. He really has great stage presence, and he is worth seeing live.

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      • I think the come out has been carefully managed by his agent/professionals, coming as it does in the midst of other ‘stuff’. I’ve notice he has sent birthday greetings and liked posts much more lately. Although he tends to choose fans worldwide rather than closer to home to do this.
        I wonder if it to do with Then and Now where he has fallen off the cast list. I wonder if the BBC, as a nod to current correctness, wanted a gay man to play the part – and they weren’t sure? x

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        • I would hope that he has consulted with his agents… although the tone of the rest of the article is not particularly well-advised imo. I’ve got nothing against honesty, criticism and a touch of self-deprecation but it was a bit much in that article. Some commenters (on the article) have already taken it as tone-deaf self-entitlement from a privileged person – exactly *not* what he wants to come across as. Not sure how well those commenters know him and his work, but it is unfortunate when things can be construed that way.
          I am all for Richard being a bit more engaging on his Twitter, but personally I find it an odd choice to respond to random requests for shout-outs. There is a large number of *very* loyal fans who continuously reply to his tweets with positivity and admiration. I think they deserve acknowledgment much more. (And I am not including myself in that group because I hardly ever react to his tweets, nor is my blogging aimed at him. I neither need nor expect acknowledgment. Maybe his loyal Twitter followers neither expect that. However, it would definitely mean a lot to those long-time fans and have a massive impact.)

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          • Newspaper writers are there to sell newspapers so they obviously find a slant. No doubt they picked up just part of what was said to concentrate on for a story and a headline. He’s obviously a worrier and some worriers can’t be convinced whatever we all say. I agree with him in that I don’t think going to the US led to more work. I think he would have had more opportunities here, but hey that’s just my personal opinion in that among other things I think he’s more well known here – Vicar of Dibley especially. Perhaps his personal life is what keeps him in the US and I guess you can slip under the paparazzi radar better over there.
            As for acknowledging his ‘truest’ fans I guess it’s a difficult call – one or two of the ‘birds’ are relentless about their love and devotion for him – wonder if that will change now?
            Anyway I do relate to him in many ways. I come from a working class family that didn’t have the money to send me to Uni and like his mother, my mother went back to work to get me through High School. I was driven by the work ethic too and built up a career, in my case based on professional qualifications.
            We just want him to be happy and content with whatever he does – I hope it’s more stage work though 😛

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            • It’s certainly possible that there was more said in the interview, and the writer has only chosen to concentrate on this. (I don’t blame her, though – it’s her job to write the stuff that will attract attention.)
              I expected more work (and more exposure) to come on the back of his move to the US, too. But the business is fickle, and no one can predict who the flavour of the month will be.
              As for his fans – I have the impression that the vast majority of fans are loyal and happy for him. Sure, there is some denial, and maybe a word from him would clear things up unequivocally. But that’s not his MO…
              Stage work – yes please!

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  3. Can even anyone be attractive at all without an attractive personality, brain, sense of humor…? In my opinion not. Such person wouldn’t be attractive to me at all, just boring. Probably it is best illustrated by the German word Anziehungskraft. I‘m aware of it, that it must be an extremely difficult industry. But with his repertoire, including theater, can he really think that his well-wishers are so one-sided, I hope not. Even if I admit that I find the attached picture really nice. Nobody wants to be average, but even the geniuses have worked hard for their achievements. Would anyone have heard of Marie Skłodowska-Curie, which he mentioned in his book, if she had not spent thousands of hours in the laboratory, including even physical work. Now I’m really getting scared of the milestone it looks like you‘re starting to think all things through.
    It seems to me that in Geneva Sarah has quite a few of his own character traits. The character of Daniel, on the other hand, seems to contain some of his fears. It seems to me that he has incorporated some of his own thoughts even in other characters. Some of them felt very personal to me and really touched me.

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    • I wonder who he is comparing himself with, to believe that he is not as good as others. Sometimes his self-deprecation sounds a little bit like fishing for compliments to me. Surely his rational self must tell himself that he has achieved a lot, thus he can’t be quite as irrelevant as he makes himself out to be. He has had a long career in film and TV, and he is still being offered leading roles. That’s quite an achievement.
      Interesting observations re. character traits in Sarah and Daniel.

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    • I agree. I think it’s a bit strange to complain about being required to take his shirt off. He himself is the one who can refuse to do it, if it really was such a chore. So I find it hard to sympathise with him on that point…

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  4. This article triggered several conflicting emotions in me. 1) Sad, as it appears Rich is grappling with deep-seated insecurities. 2) Worried that he’s working himself to exhaustion chasing the brass ring. 3) Exasperated. I want to slap him upside the head and remind him what business he’s in. There will always be those who are more talented, better looking, more well connected. All you can do is be the best YOU possible. 4) Optimistic, because by using ALL his talents (narrating, writing, producing), he’s already guaranteed a bright future whether or not the acting roles he’s after continue to come his way.

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    • The interview really doesn’t get better when you read it a second time. In fact, I think he has been rather unwise to present himself so candidly. He leads a life of great privilege, and picking apart some of the less ideal circumstances of his job makes him look a tad ungrateful.

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      • I totally agree.
        And I also do not get the timing for this interview. One could think that things are going quite well for him now. Even if the current projects are mentioned in the article, so it seems to be part of overall promo wave for Geneva, it still feels a bit out of context. Why this kind of confessions at this moment?

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  5. Definitely a very intimate and revealing article. It always surprises me how someone as accomplished as Richard can have the same kind of insecurities and doubts about themselves as we all have. I have always thought that if I was better looking, wealthier, more successful, all my issues would not exist and here he comes, saying most of the things that I usually only think inside my head. It’s quite refreshing in a way. And it makes me admire him more because clearly success and money never got to his head. I just hope he knows, at least partially, how much he is appreciated and loved as a professional, not only as a good looking guy. I was never sure about the most private part of his private life, I guess now I am. I’m glad he feels he can talk about it openly. He is definitely a complex, interesting person and I wish for him to be even more successful and happy, for himself and with himself, because if he looks for it from other people he might never find real fullfillment.

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    • Oh, I have never had any doubt that people who are more beautiful, richer and more accomplished than myself *still* suffer from insecurities. It is all relative, isn’t it? I am sad that he doesn’t find validation in the relentless positive feedback he receives from his fans. Or from the fact that he is still garnering leading-man roles after a long time in the business. He has achieved a lot. But that is *my* POV, and he obviously has other expectations.
      I think you are putting your finger on it with your final sentence. Here’s hoping that the stability in his private life will provide the reassurance he needs and craves.

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  6. I was deeply moved by this interview, no big fanfare indeed, just quiet like him and that´s why I´m so fond of him. I´m really sorry he feels so insecure and that he´s not good enough, I always had the impression he did so but also always thought that he´s so much better than he thinks… And on the other hand it helps me to know I´m not alone, I feel better about myself… And I´m sure he “sees” us and knows a lot more than we assume…

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    • I do like when I can identify with a celebrity whom I admire. I must admit, however, that I sometimes find his self-deprecation a bit OTT. I accept that the feedback he receives from his fans means nothing to him. He just doesn’t seem to trust us. But surely there must be other people in his life whose opinion he values, and surely they can’t all be negative about him… ? That whole interview was far too negative for my taste.

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      • We all have positive and negative phases in our lives, I (like surely many others) know what I´m talking about so I can relate and I don´t really find this interview too negative, just sad. I also don´t think our feedback means nothing to him or that he doesn´t trust us and our honest positive feedback or that of people close to him. To me he seems to be one of those people who cannot really jump out of their skin and believe in their abilities and talents and how positively others see them (I´m like that and thus can relate to that, too). And yes, I sometimes wish he (and I) did just that.

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  7. Hi All and thank you! But how can you access the article? Ugghhh! This month has been an embarRAssment of riches! Don’t roll your eyes!
    😉
    Pam

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  8. As I was listening to Geneva, I kept waiting for some redemption for Daniel, and felt kind of sad when it didn’t happen. It’s my own fault, of course, since I was seeing him as that character. As a novelist myself, I know you always put a little of yourself in every character, and I was sure he did this as well.
    Today reading the article, it made me a little worried about him. I like him being humble. It makes him a real person, but seeing the low self-esteem makes me want to shout at him that he’s a talented person in many respects and he should believe in himself.

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    • Unless I misinterpreted him, Richard said in one of the Geneva promos that he saw himself more in the role of Pavel than Daniel if a screen version came along, which I liked the idea of as Daniel’s character gradually revealed itself.

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        • Yes, I’d like that too. He felt he was too old to play Daniel ( which I don’t agree with), but I would definitely prefer him to play Pavel, who is a flawed character as well, but at least he did things for the right ( right for him) motivation.

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          • I came to DESPISE Daniel throughout the book. He has no redeeming qualities (which is an interesting choice on the author’s part—he could have made him more sympathetic character, but didn’t) and I would not enjoy seeing RA in that role for selfish reasons.

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            • It surprised me that Daniel was so one-dimensional, because Richard always says he loves playing baddies and he always tries to find the good in every character he plays, especially the baddies. I was always expecting there to be some explanation for his actions, other than the fact that caring for his wife killed their marriage (which I completely understand, having a lot of proximity to dementia)

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          • He’s great at that, but I personally disliked Daniel so much, I am not keen to see him try. You said in a comment elsewhere how he elevated Guy above the mere hot baddie, but I have found Daniel utterly devoid of redeeming qualities (and I know you haven’t finished yet, so I’ll be curious to see what you think in the end).

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    • It’s exasperating, isn’t it? It’s not that I believe that we, as his fans, have *any* particular right to be heard. But I do wish that he’d realise that he is receiving a lot of positive feedback, and not all of that is purely based on his looks. Maybe we as fans do not matter, but the fact that he is still being employed on a regular basis, should reinforce his self-confidence.
      Sigh, but well, no one ever knows what goes on on the inside. It’s easy for me to say all these “shoulds” and “woulds”. If he has a serious issue with self-confidence, then that is not fixed by compliments from us. I hope he is getting professional help.

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      • Again, speaking from experience, you can get a thousand great reviews for your work, and they make you feel great, accomplished even, but then one scathing review arrives picking apart what you wrote and all your insecurities surface and all the good reviews don’t matter anymore. Maybe he was in that kind of mood when he did the interview?
        I do feel for him, putting himself out there every time. Part and parcel of course, and that won’t stop if he starts producing.

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  9. I really liked the part about Richard realizing that the masculine characters he was getting offered, which seemed so different from his personal self, could serve the purpose of showing the vulnerability under the hard exterior.

    I didn’t like the way the article just dropped the tidbit about him coming out though. it was just thrown out there, like, here’s Richard talking about dedication to his craft and playing the cello, and then BAM! “he came out at the age of 19”, before moving on to the next topic. it felt sensationalized. why mention it at all? (also, I’m assuming he came out to his family at that age, because he certainly didn’t come out to the viewing public. just sayin 😉 )

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    • I’m thinking the coming out bit must have been his choice. I mean, there’s no way the journalist could have forced that detail (“at the age of 19”) if RA hadn’t wanted it in the article, is there? He’d successfully avoided addressing this for literal decades. I agree it wasn’t included very elegantly into the rest of the narrative of the article, but that’s a bit his fault? He (apparently) wanted a quiet coming out, so he chose to drop it into an article that wasn’t ABOUT him being gay, so while he declined to talk more about his personal life, Claire was left with this one paragraph and nothing else and had to somehow work that into his general promo/angsting. 😉

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      • I agree with you Kate. I think it was Richard”s choice. However, as a fan, I can’t help feel being left a bit high and dry by that “out since 19” comment in the article. As a discerning reader, it just begs so many further questions in IMO….

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        • True. Like the veracity of comments about the kind of woman he wanted or the so-called engagement to Samantha Colley. Why did he feel the need to lie? He’s been tight-lipped about his private life for so long, why not simply avoid the subject rather than resort to fabrications?

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    • He certainly added so much depth to some of the otherwise one-dimensional characters he played. Guy of Gisborne could’ve just been “the baddie to ogle”, but he really gave Guy that vulnerability that made the character irresistible. That is actually quite an achievement. Richard is very good at that.
      As for the coming out – looked to me as if he was slightly rewriting the past. I am not surprised the issue was just dropped by-the-by. That’s very much his style, don’t you think? However, I am rather surprised at his timeline. Out at 19? That was at a time when gay sex under the age of 21 was still punishable by law. He never struck me as a law-breaker but a rather careful man, so it surprises me a lot that he dared to be “out” at a time when he could’ve gotten into trouble…
      And touché – he certainly never addressed his sexual orientation in public until now. Not that that public has any right to know, but I think it is fair to say that he deliberately avoided the topic, possibly even misleading people (the “live-in girlfriend”?!). I can see why (fear of not being cast anymore – a very valid concern). Glad he has finally had the courage to say it outright. I can’t imagine what it must be like having to keep that part of one’s life a secret…

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      • In some 2008-2009 interviews there were references to his live in girlfriend of eighteen months, saying he wanted a wife and family and then admitting she’d moved out, ostensibly because he was always on the move with work. Living with the fear you mention, and the belief he needed to go to those lengths in order to have a career must have been very difficult, if indeed that relationship was a facade.

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  10. Everyone has said something – beautifully put! – that echoes my own thoughts on this interview. It evoked mixed emotions in me too, including a twinge of guilt for my frequent blog tags of #gorgeous man.
    I wish Richard could/would read these comments. We may drool over a gorgeous photo or a shirt-off scene, but we also admire and respect his talent and what he brings to his roles. Fan questions over the years (unlike those of most journalists *eyeroll*) show an in depth interest in and appreciation of, his craft. Has none of that sunk in Richard lol??!! Acting is a brutal business, so kudos to him for pushing on in spite of his self esteem issues.
    Yes, I came for the hot totty – let’s face it, Harry Kennedy wasn’t exactly a complex character say, like Guy or Thornton – but I’ve stayed over ten years for the talented, hard working, humble, lovely gentleman I discovered looking for the answer to “who is this actor?” Looks alone wouldn’t have kept me here. I have been attracted to an actor’s handsome face in the past, only to find the character lacking, and that has never been the case with Richard.

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    • Agree with all of that. However, I have come to realise over the years that RA evidently does not look for validation from his fans. Personally, I don’t see that we make much impact with our reactions and replies to him. Hence all our outpourings of love and understanding re. his personal insecurities never reach him. He needs the validation from elsewhere. Not sure who he is looking to.

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      • I’m thinking he must be looking to the media, b/c they’re constantly touting the ‘hot toddy’ image, along with the industry itself, with the way he always seems to end up taking his shirt off or participating in an intense love scene. I hope he truly doesn’t think his fanbase is that shallow. the self deprecation is a defense mechanism for him when he feels awkward, so I tend to take what he says in these conversations with a grain of salt.

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        • Maybe that complaint about the totty pigeon hole was indeed directed at the media rather than at the audience. It would make sense. I find it somewhat unfair when journos throw that question at him. What is he supposed to answer? Damned if he does (like it), damned if he doesn’t.
          Interesting thought re. self-deprecation as defense mechanism! That sounds logical. And yes, I often feel that he gives answers on the cuff in such interviews, occasionally contradicting himself. It’s fine. Only human.

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  11. In a few in-depth interviews recently Richard has revealed similar insecurities, such as doubts about his talent and getting acting work. It makes me wonder what questions he is being asked, to elicit such responses. He is such a frustrating contradiction! He obviously cares about his looks, and needs to professionally, and exploits them in (gorgeous dribble, dribble) photoshoots etc – no one surely forces him to keep taking his shirt off. He is insecure yet publishes a (great) novel, which shows incredible self-belief and some ego, And yes, he gets constant affirmation on SM. Anyway, I loved the way he finally came out unambiguously, as if it were old news.

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    • The contradictions you have cited – touché. They certainly also add to the mystique of the man. I definitely admire him for his courage in publishing a novel. (And of course for being able to write a long-form piece, full stop.) As a celebrity, he will be scrutinised much more than any unknown writer. So it takes some courage to put his name on that. The shirt issue – ah well, if it really is such a chore, I am sure he could refuse to do it. Especially now that he has a couple of other feathers to his hat.

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  12. I think the coming out passage is exactly how he wanted it to be told, quiet and a bit by the way. I am glad he finally revealed it and, for my part, I was sure about that as long as I ‘knew’ him.
    Yes, the tone of the article is a bit negative but in a matter of fact way. This is and will always be the way he sees himself and no admiration of any fan will probably ever change it. This sits deeply. Perhaps he should consider psychological help, perhaps he already does. Maybe that led to the revelations we’ve read.
    Anyway, that does not change my interest in his person. I’d only wish he played not only crime or horror stuff. I am here for a romantic or at least historical role, please!

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    • Agree with all. It’s definitely a recurring theme, and he has to express whatever he feels. It doesn’t change my admiration for his talent, either. You are right, a little bit of variety would be nice. It’s all been thrillers lately, and I think his talents are underused there. Hopefully he’ll get the opportunity to play some light-hearted or romantic stuff, soon.

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  13. Can’t help feeling a left bit flat by reading this article. I was surprised it addressed his sexuality when there was no apparent need to do so. I have always suspected that Richard was gay or possibly bisexual given his lack of girlfriend status and his non-committal answers to personal questions in the past. Just a bit of a shock to read that he’s been “out” since age 19! Not publicly to his fans he hasn’t!
    I guess it just goes to show how little we know of the private person behind the public face we see on screen. This is not intended as a criticism, just my gut reaction as a fan. I now can’t help wondering to what extent (if at all) Richard was into the gay scene as a young man, and whether that has played a part in his (apparent) insecurities?
    Richard, the enigma, who keeps on giving…..whether he realises it or not!

    On a separate note, I have not listened to Geneva and don’t have an Audible subscription. If it wasn’t written by Richard, would it be worth listening to?

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    • If it wasn’t written by Richard, would it be worth listening to?
      Good question. I don’t know. It’s got a good pace, it certainly kept my attention and I’m much more of a reader than a listener. I’d definitely read it if it ever came out as an e-book, because I’m sure I didn’t catch all the details first time around.
      It has a few clever twists and turns and you are easily engaged with the characters.
      He writes eloquently and a little highbrow. Not sure how much of that is him or his editor (Some editors can be quite directional), but since he’s an avid reader, I’m sure it’s at least approved by him.

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  14. I agree too. The self-deprecation can become a bit much at times, and I am not always entirely convinced by what Richard says. He undermines himself by his contradictions: the article mentions that he admires actors like Gary Oldman who say nothing about their private life, maintaining their anonymity; a paragraph later he announces he’s gay and been out since age 19!
    Richard knows he is cast because of his looks and this hyper masculine energy he gives off (which he acknowledges), such energy suited to warrior, wounded hero archetype roles. That is what being cast is about to a certain extent. Many other talented actors would give their eye teeth for the career Richard has built for himself playing these type of roles, which he plays very well.

    Me thinks he doth protest too much…..

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  15. Little evasive liar. Everybody knows everything about Oldman, his struggling with drugs, his 4 wives (or maybe 5? I’m not sure).
    And tell it to your mum is not “coming out”! And how bad were him as a dancer, if he didn’t know his own body shape? And what about flute?
    Idk if Richard is a dick, or if he has hight functioning depression or is just a middle aged sexist white man with a really bad memory. In his interviews he always looks genuine like a 30€ bill, always. Maybe this is his life goal

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