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Dear Mr. Armitage, a quiet word, sir…

Let’s analyze the images below:

Stand in the background much, Mr. Armitage?

And I don’t want to hear about you being the tallest guy and how the photographer always sticks you in the back!

You are an actor, a bloody good one at that!

You are a tall sexy drink of water, but you have the skills to back it up.

The only conclusion that comes to mind is, if you weren’t creating the background, with trees, walls and buildings, you’d outshine the rest of the people in the picture.

You wouldn’t do it out of vanity or false pride.

You’d do it because you have that ‘it’ factor that makes you stand out on a crowded room, melting everyone away.

It shouldn’t feel like a curse, especially not for an actor on the brink of a huge career.

Why is it that in the past couple of years you have become so bashful?

You’ve earned the right to be in the spotlight, and you’ve done it the hard way!

Step by step, with crap roles that (thankfully) got better with time.

I can’t imagine what people who get paid to take care of your career /  PR are thinking.

Is there some kind of game plan?

Do they realise that by shielding you, they are in fact letting the chance of a lifetime pass you by?

How is it that they let other Hobbit actors benefit from the buzz, while you stay in the shadows.

Will you once again be creating the background for other actors during the Hobbit promotion?

I think, dearest Mr. Armitage, that it’s time to take a long hard look at what the goal is, where you’re heading and how to get there.

I could live with an explosion of RA love, I wouldn’t mind sharing you with newly enlightened Armitage fans.

I’d hate to think of you as someone who didn’t take advantage of a huge opportunity, even if it meant we could keep our little community intact!

I know other RA fans have voiced their concern, courtesy of RAConfessions.



It seems others have been pondering this issue, fresh from  RAConfessions.

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44 responses »

  1. I agree entirely with you!!!

    • Happy to hear it Luciana! Some things needed to be said 🙂 Then again, RA may end up surprising us, as he meanders through the PR of The Hobbit. I would be right darn shocked!

  2. Couldn’t have said this better myself. Whoever wrote that first confession expressed my fears exactly.

    • An annonymous voice in the crowd, who expresses what we are thinking. That’s why I love RA Confessions, although some are heavy-hitting 🙂 We all worry, Jas. I hope we are very wrong and he’ll put the same energy he has done in promoting projects in the past!

  3. I share your concerns, in fact for RA’s sake I envy BC being so ubiquitous right now. However, not all is lost. In the past, those other actors got press because they had other projects to promote, which wasn’t the case with RA, except for CA. It is also annoying that articles never mention him, but often journalists have no clue what they are writing about and just repeat the names and characters they already know as the stars of the Hobbit. Hopefully once the movie is released, that will change. Or more precisely, once official publicity starts and people actually involved in the project talk about it. What matters in the end is that he gets the roles he wants, and I’m not sure to which degree attention by the press helps. Very curious about his role in the PR campaign nonetheless. Will he be allowed to blend into the background again and let minor dwarves to the chat show round?

    • That’s a very good point. Maybe he will be expected to be an active participant in the promotion. Then again, maybe the other actors will have enough drawing power that RA will mix into the crowd. BTW didn’t he get Captain America because the director saw him on promotional posters for Strike Back? He needs the hype to be catapulted into other roles.

  4. Snicker's Mom

    I guess part of my frustRAtion with him is his quietness. I do worry that he will be overshadowed. But then I think, he’ll be overshadowed only if he wants to. There is interest in him and the character, so it’s up to him how much he wants to do to promote himself. I’m sure he contractually obligated to promote it a certain amount, it will be interesting to see if he goes beyond that. My guess is no. He seems like the kind of person who goes to work, does a fabulous job while he’s there, but then when he leaves he’s off the clock. The problem with this is an actor, you are your own work/asset/whatever and need to be promoting yourself constantly.

    • It’s a sad realisation. He’s done a good job with promoting Spooks, SB and CA. I just don’t like this bashful air around him. The turning his back to the camera, the avoidance. And I know it isn’t about the crazy RArmy, as we sometimes think. It’s not about privacy. He seems uncomfortable with being in the public eye and my question is- why? what changed?

      • I don’t think it is new and actually that “bashful air” is something I like about him, even if I’m not always happy with the results. If you compare him to the RA of the early days, he has gained a lot of confidence. If he has to, he can handle the press and public appearances just fine, he has no reason to be shy about it, he just doesn’t like it. Right now, he isn’t on PR duty so he does nothing, that is how it has always been, the only difference is that in the past he was on PR duty every few months. He may enjoy that calm before the storm as long as it lasts.

  5. No matter where he’s hiding, I can always spy him! 😉

    • You can do much better than that Bccmee! You create a special reality for Ra and characters. Love the summer project by the way. I sometime wonder how you come up with these ideas. Lucas vs. Guy wrestling? Priceless 🙂

  6. Now this is where I’m a contradiction – as much as I like the fact that he isn’t a press whore and isn’t on every interview show on earth. I do wish sometimes he would just STAND OUT………front and centre Richard! ☺
    But alas that is our gorgeous, generous man and we know that when he does do interviews they are articulate drool fests!!

    • Hello Mers, that’s my point! I don’t ever want him to be a Kardashian, or be photographed coming out of Groucho club every night, but it would be nice to have others see what an amazing actor and (I think, we think…) what a beautiful person he is inside and out. I think I’d like him to bask in the spotlight a wee bit. And yes, I want more drool-inducing interviews too 🙂

  7. Yeah, I’m reading your blog now. 😉

    My reasoning for thinking about why Richard has been so shy since filming began is because of how he works. He’s just really into his roles when he plays them, and he doesn’t need the distraction.

    My thoughts are that I think when Richard wants to he’ll come out with his charm, looks, and shyness. He’ll blow the other actors out of the water. He has to hold it back for now. Just wait until he really has to turn it on. When he’s front, and center no one will be able to take their eyes off him. I’m not too worried about him being overshadowed, at all.

    • I really do hope you are right, Did! I can see that being a plausable situation, he’s been known to turn on the charm (and blow our socks off) before, I can see him doing it now, too. I really hope so! It’s time for him to stand aside those other totally hot and successful British actors 🙂

  8. As much as I wish to be hearing more from him, I want him to get what he wants. If he wants to stand in back, that’s cool with me. I sometimes wish he had an easier time of it with the press, etc., but I think if he wanted more opportunities to speak there are people there to help make them for him. Maybe he thinks more media attention would make him unhappy, and I understand that suspicion.

    • That’s a valid point Servetus, and I’m sure we all want him to be happy etc., but he is an actor, and not just one doing panto in Chatham, he’s aiming for a high position and this requires a level of being visible. I’m not expecting a reality show from him. I shudder to think he could become a publicity ho, but I am reminded that he got CA after he was seen promoting SB (if I remember correctly, the directo saw him on a poster). That means that being visible as an actor can get you more auditions. I hope that being a recluse won’t limit his options in the future.

      • No doubt more visibility affects casting — but he may not even yet entirely know what he wants. I think we as fans probably overestimate the exactness with which he knows what he wants from his career, beyond knowing that he likes to keep on working. His experiences of publicity have apparently not been tremendously influential in causing him to want more of it. Indeed, I wondered, given some of the things he was quoted as saying in the fall of 2010, if he didn’t want to leave acting entirely. There was an article where he said basically that he was troubled by having been put on a pedestal and that if he had it to do over he wouldn’t be in front of a camera, and another where he said he was bothered by the pressure to look good, even if women did have it worse (and that’s not the only time he’s said those things). The paper trail of his statements about the additional consequences of acting (beyond getting to act) has been quite ambivalent, almost from the beginning. There was a point at which I thought the reason he was working so much was because he was trying to put together a nest-egg to allow himself to stay out of the limelight. Now, of course, he’s going to be in a different atmosphere entirely, and he’s going to need time to get used to it and see what he thinks. I think that’s perfectly okay, actually.

        • It will be interesting to see what comes next. The funny thing I’m sure he’s already been auditioning and I would presume he has work lined up. Somehow I don’t see RA bowing out of his acting career. Not after the difficult years he’s been through, struggling to get by as an unknown actor. He seems very detemined and ambitious. It would be interested to see him shift to movie making, directing. But wouldn’t that require more networking, finding money to produce it, becoming even more involved and in the spotlight? At least as an actor, he is somewhat established. Directing would mean starting from scratch.

          • I’m sure he’s auditioning (and / or considering offers), but that already implies he’s doing what he wants / needs to do to get what he thinks he wants now, without having to put himself aggressively into the media mill. (Which he will be in anyway, very shortly, no matter how he feels about it). And it seems to me like doing good work with Peter Jackson is a short cut to some kinds of networking that might take a great deal of time otherwise.

            I guess what I’m saying is: I’m not worried. I think he’s been doing just fine up till now (although I know that view is controversial), not least because he’s gone from strength to strength and he’s been getting more and more positive attention. Admittedly, a lot of this position comes from my own experiences in being paralyzingly pressured for a decade to behave in ways that were foreign and damaging to me to achieve goal that I was at best ambivalent about. I’d prefer he decide what he wants and go after it according to his own plan, because then no matter what happens (whether he’s successful or not) he has a chance of feeling better about himself. As opposed to doing what others say is necessary and developing an ulcer or worse.

          • I guess I’m analyzing his situation against other British actors careers, like Fassbender, Cumberbatch, Hardy, and Hiddleston, and wonder how come they seem to be the ‘it’ British actors, with fascinating movie roles. Why not RA? He has the looks and, what’s more important, the talent. If stepping away from the limelight is what he wants, I can respect that. But if acting and getting offered good roles is what he desires, I’m afraid he’s going the wrong way about it. Then again, I may completely wrong, as I have no experience in showbusiness 🙂

          • If that’s the case (you need to put yourself forward more to get more attention; more attention=better roles), and while I am no expert, I have no reason to think it isn’t, don’t you imagine that he is aware of that as well? Seeing as how he works in the industry?

          • That’s the question I keep mulling over. If he doesn’t want the attention, being an actor and accepting roles like the Hobbit is a bad idea, because it places him in an uncomfortable position. If he wants parts of the Hobbit caliber, he must know that a certain visibility and public attention is attached to it. That is, if he is interested in a high profile career, and I still don’t see any indication he wouldn’t, despite him mentioning a move toward directing etc. Perhaps for the time being he is comfortable having the best of both worlds, but I wouldn’t think he can get away with it for long.

          • I don’t think he feels like he has much of a choice about being an actor; he’s said that several times — if I thought I could do anything else, I would have been doing it by now, or comments to that effect. It’s also my assumption that while he has some choice of role, he doesn’t have complete choice of all roles. He sort of starved looking for work on English stages for several years without getting very far. My read is that he pursued the career he did because he was caught between his own personal constraints — one of which is obviously his interest in professional challenges, which The Hobbit obviously is — and the sort of opportunities that permitted challenges and were available to him and in which he was successful. In other words, I wouldn’t read this as an “either / or” situation where “either” he wants to be an important actor and so he does everything possible to achieve that including doing media stuff he doesn’t especially like, “or” he doesn’t and so stands in the background on purpose because he doesn’t want to be an important actor. I doubt he operates in that logical a fashion because most people don’t (and as fans and audience members, we are hardly aware of all of the pieces and elements of his life and emotions that play into his choices). It’s not irrational to think that he might have taken the role because it appealed to him for whatever reasons (challenges, contacts, career advancement) with the acknowledgement that he wasn’t going to like the publicity demands and was going to behave in ways that made it clear he wasn’t interested in that angle of it — and that he would accept the consequences of that kind of decision once he made it. I doubt we all foresee all of the consequences of everything we do all that far ahead of time, and I for one have certainly made decisions knowing that certain negative consequences could result in awareness that that was the best decision for me at the time.

          • I admire actors who are successful and in the public eye for the work they do, not their privte lives. In fact, his privacy is what’s attractive about him, I focus on his characters the most anyway, and learning about him as a person could smash the illusion I have created.
            It’s easy to say- he would do this, he’d want that. The truth is we don’t know anything about him, and I dare say it helps uphold the image we want or need of Richard. Even things he says in interviews should be taken with a grain of salt. He is Richard The Actor in them (and plays that role with great charm).
            I would imagine that the above mentioned actors have a team whose job it is to determine which interviews/events are beneficial to the actor, advise him as to his public persona. These people specialize in keeping a balance between the public image and the private one. They would be pursuasive because their success is tied to the actor. I imagine RA’s people could do better than the Project shoot and a short MTV interview the year when his name is connected to such a big project. As I have stated, perhaps there’s a master plan that we simply can’t see, and a couple of months from now his absence in the media for 1,5 years will make sense. Maybe RA doesn’t wish to be part of any publicity until he is obligated to do so in July. But then wouldn’t his team insist on something more substancial, understanding the merit of him being more visible? Isn’t that what a suport network supposed to do- guide us, make us see another perspective, sometimes push us towards something we don’t really like or feel like doing, for our own good?

          • Stipulating to the fact that there is way more information in this situation that we don’t know about than that we do, something that I said as well, re: support networks: It’s good to have them. Does that mean we have to do whatever people advise? If people are advising us to do something that will make us successful, but that makes us uncomfortable? Is something that’s “for our own good” but we don’t like it or want it or are afraid of the potential consequences, is it really for our own good? Don’t we still have choices? I would say a good support network is one that points out the possibilities in any direction and makes the choices and their consequences clear — and then leaves what to do up to the person who is deciding rather than acting coercively. I personally wouldn’t want a support team that insisted on me doing something that I really didn’t want to do. I suspect that this issue might be even more decisive for an artist.

            On the whole, given the information that we have, I think he’s been making pretty good professional choices. He said in an early interview that he wouldn’t to be in a position where he couldn’t fail, i.e., in a situation where so much was riding on him that the pressure to succeed was enormous and his failure would mean the failure of the project. I think he’s been going from step to step and we will see what the next step is, but I don’t think any of the steps he’s made have been wrong or misguided. If his basic position is that he want his work to speak for him rather than his mouth, he’s been doing exactly the right thing. I daresay there are a ton of concerns he might have about pushing himself forward at the moment, especially before the movie premieres, and I think we can trust him to make the right choices.

          • Those actors you mention already had their breakthrough, MF and the two TH’s with notable film roles, BC became a TV sensation in way that is very rare. A few years ago they were still playing TV roles that didn’t cause much of an uproar, and now they are hot property and getting plum roles in different genres and media. For the moment they have overtaken RA, but they are an example that it can be done, the overnight success, the doors that suddenly open. Right now the difference between them and RA is that they are already there and RA still waits for the Hobbit to be finish and released. What matters is that RA got his chance, he got cast in a big movie, he will perform in front of a world wide audience.

          • It can be done and they’ve created a situation where they are seen as young, hot AND talented actors. They’ve had great guidance in their careers and have made wise choices. This is what I hope RA can do. I hope his team will manage to promote him without turning his life into a circus, will do better than a photoshoot with a sonn-to-be bankrupt magazine and a short MTV interview.
            I really can’t wait to see what’s next for him. As excited as I am about the Hobbit, it’s the next step that I feel is a ‘make or break’ role for him.

      • If I want him to be visible, it is because I want to see him and hear from him. Yes, it would be great if more people would get to know him and appreciate him, but I don’t think being visible during the publicity and becoming a celebrity to keep himself in the consciousness of the audience has so much influence on future casting. In his vlogs PJ focusses a lot on the team effort, and I expect that it will be the same with the PR campaign. First and foremost the movie itself is the star plus PJ himself, then he has MF and Sir Ian and then a host of supporting actors, with RA being on of them. I think the Hobbit will be marketed as an ensemble piece.

        If I fear he’s overshadowed and as a consequence won’t get good offers for new roles, it is within the movie. We don’t really know how big and meaty his part really is, how much PJ has fleshed out his character and to which degree adding new storylines and fleshing out other characters is at Thorin’s expense. If this role is an “almost lead” and he gets enough screentime (and is in the foreground during his screentime and not just part of the scenery!) and if he has lots of dialogue and interesting interactions with other characters, his performance should speak for itself.

        • You’re actually very right Jane, and I never really thought about it that way. We assume RA will have a huge meaty part (the previous trailer could be a good indication of this), but there are many wonderful actos and beefy parts in the Hobbit and there’s no way to know how present he will be. I’m just really sick of seing him in the background, In interviews, photoshoots, vlogs.

      • Any publicity before the official campaign starts really doesn’t matter. I don’t see that James Nesbitt is in a better position now just because he talked so much at that first press conference. I agree that his next choices are important, but I don’t think the next role will be the “make or break” role. The Hobbit hasn’t even been released, right now no-one can cast him based on that performance, the situation will be different next years and the year after that, after the second movie, I think he has time window of a couple of years to make it. We may very well be disappointed because the next role is just a guest appearance on TV.

        • I think the main advantage to us of an appearance on TV would be that the TV publicity machine would demand interviews (and if it’s a series, they’d be spaced out to keep us watching). Of course, they’d mostly be interviews that didn’t say much.

          • TV is a quick and easy fix for us, admireres. They are shot quickly, plenty of footage, an interview here and there, quite meaningless in its content. Then again, I doubt that he’ll be more forthcoming during the Hobbit promotion circles. He may talk about what an amazing experience it has been, and how wonderful it was to be a member of the cast. I doubt he’ll go any deeper. From what I gather, he got more personal in interviews in the past, and lived to regret it.

          • I think during the Hobbit campaign, more than ever, he will be very careful what he says about the production, about his career and about himself. And he will probably have been coached by publicists, hired either by himself or by the Hobbit production company. I don’t expect to gain any new insights at this stage and also have to make peace with the idea that the days of a more or less genuine Richard, who just walked in and had a chat with a journalist are gone.

          • Yup, we’ve seen a gradual shift towards the careful approach with each new, and higher profile, project. I would imagine an interview being yet another acting assignment. One he does very well, may I add. It’s not a bad thing, I always shudder when someone brings up something he’s said in the past that could have been a tad unfortunate. It’s easy to take something out of context, or twist it so it becomes a catchy headline. I think the closest we can come to any genuine and uncontrolled thought is in his messages to fans/admirers/RArmy. Wonder what this year will bring. Will it differ from the previous. Is it wrong I automatically assume it will come?

        • I think we might get a message at his birthday, but not so sure about Christmas. That would be in the middle of the Hobbit madness and reach a far bigger audience, not just a little community of friends. In a day and age everyone tweets and blogs and is on facebook the messages don’t seem much, but when he started it wasn’t even easy to find a place to publish them and they were very special.

          • Oh, how things have changed. How they are about to change! It seems silly to get so excited over a bi-annual message if you see how many celebs are on twitter and are so available to their fans. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. There’s nothing like the closeness of ‘an idol’ to bring out the nutter in some people. I think it’d be sad to watch how far they go. It goes from cute and butterflies and rainbows to the shower scene in Psycho in a matter of days 😉

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  10. What an interesting discussion! I thought the reason why RA hangs back was because he wanted his career to be more like Sir Laurence Olivier’s than Roger Moore’s (Roger Moore once called himself “the worst actor in Christendom”).
    I can imagine that RA would take himself and his acting career seriously and would want to be respected by his peers for his talent and his hard work. If that’s true, then he probably doesn’t focus too much on garnering public attention. Fame doesn’t last and it’s not controllable. Doing good work — now that’s what really matters.

    • That’s very true, and his serious approach to acting is one of the things we Oh so like about him. However, showbiz seems like a cut-throat industry. As long as there’s no casting coach involved, at the end of the day whatever he does I think we’ll be happy LOL! Sorry, thinking about RA and the casting couch… I’ll need to ponder that a while 🙂

  11. Pingback: Do fans know best, Richard? « I Want to be a Pin-Up

  12. I’ve just discovered this post. Thanks to you Pinup for intitiating a wonderfully interesting discussion. Thanks ladies! 🙂

  13. Pingback: Armitage stands in the back, or: Tropes Armitage fans live by « Me + Richard Armitage

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