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Cumberbatch to play Richard III or the case of my little green-eyed monster

Shakespeare's First Folio Edition To Be Sold

As I try to keep my grubby fingers on multiple fandom pulses, a while back I came across this interesting piece of news:

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play Richard III in the second series of Shakespeare’s History for BBC2.

Ordinarily, one could skim over this little morsel if it wasn’t for the fact that playing the role of Little Richie Plantagenet, Yo! it’s York in the House,  has been a dream of Armitage for some time, a goal he has mentioned in countless interviews throughout the years and I am too lazy to link to a single one of them, so you are welcome.

It got me thinking about what it must be like to mold your career at a time when another British actor, especially one younger than you, seems to be thriving, even making it onto Time 100 Most Influential People list.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the direction in which Richard’s career is heading (seriously, chuffed as chips or rather Chops!) and I like the fact that being an Armitage Admirer Well-wisher still feels like a member of an exclusive club with a well-kept secret of exquisite taste in men, but when you’re vying for the same parts, heading to the same auditions as the likes of Cumberbatch or Hiddleston, when you stand back and watch their notoriety soar, does it smarm a bit?

To what extent do you compare yourself and your opportunities, casting options, accomplishments to others?

Although I would really dislike the notion that RA is pushing for a glitzy Hollywood career and therefore abandoning projects that made me fall for him in the first place, I can’t help but wonder if he ever questions why them and not him.

Some projects that we felt would be perfect for Richard but went to another actor are easier to swallow, like casting Aidan Turner in Poldark, with others having another actor portray Matthew Clairmont in A Discovery of Witches would be much harder to accept (seriously, have you read it? Matthew is perfect for Armitage), but having Cumberbatch play Richard III feels…personal…


Don’t get me wrong, Cumberbatch is huge right now and it makes sense that if the producers would jump at the chance to cash in on that.

I have little doubt he will do a superb job and I will certainly be amongst the swarm of people who know that anything Ben is in is definitely worth checking out as the man does not disappoint.

Then there are those arguments that maybe RA is just a little long in the tooth to play the king who died at 32, that this particular ship may well have sailed.

But a part of me, the one that is blinded by the sense of my very own distorted need for justice, the fan who wants Armitage to make him dreams come true, is disappointed and my little naughty fangirling green-eyed monster is having a field day.

To ease my discomfort, here’s a brilliant manip from Fan-Art from KingRichardArmitage:


An image of what could have been and, hopefully may still be, after all Frodo did take the ring to Mount Doom against all odds, right?

Oh, and just so you know- had you chosen me Queen of the World like I have requested repeatedly, not only would you have Fridays off from work, but I’d also give Armitage the right of dibs on every single Richard III project.

In other words, if you liked it then you should have put a crown on it…


About Agzy The Ripper

Sew, Rip, Repeat... and love each moment of it! Join me as I embark on a myriad of sewing and crafting shenanigans.

15 responses »

  1. I can comfort myself with the thought that RA would like to play Richard III in something other than that terrible piece of Tudor propaganda 😉

    • LOL! Is it Tudor propaganda? I haven’t seen the first series as it’s waiting for the free summer months. Hey, hold on, what exactly IS Tudor propaganda? 😉

      • I meant Shakespeare… 😉 Written to discredit the last Plantagenet king so the Tudors felt justified in having nicked the crown…

      • To jest to samo co Cucumberbatch propaganda 😉 -czyli że wszyscy łącznie z moja Córką wmawiają mi ze Ogórek jest boski i przystojny a ja tego nijak nie widzę…zaglądam z każdej strony i ciągle nic;) PS: Bystry to on jest i potrafi się sprzedać no i oczywiście “świetnym aktorem jest”.

    • LOL! indeed,Helen 🙂

  2. Seems like Richard III has to be played as either a comical poisonous toad or a menacing sexy devil… I know which one he would be 😉

  3. Whether it smarts to see other actors filling the role he has coveted? Possibly. But it’s simply bad luck. The time wasn’t right for the role when RA started (surreptitiously) lobbying for it. There is so much else out there, I am sure he’ll find other projects that are close to his heart.
    (Trying very hard to contain that little green monster, too, btw…)

  4. I feel the same sort of jealousy about this role, and also others. I think when it comes to plays, actors of other sexes, but mostly men, can get away with playing younger characters – iy happens in Shakespeare all the time ( and think opera where, frankly, sometimes it’s even a little ridiculous). So, I think there’s still a chance that at some time RA could play Shakespeare’s Richard III – but, in a movie, or in a version that tracks the king’s life from the beginning when he is even younger, and alas, in the very version RA supports, -probably not.

  5. If you play your cards just right, you can catch Martin Freeman as RIII on stage, during the same timeframe as the Crucible.
    That casting was a real suprise to me. I love Martin as an actor & he is quite versatile, but it’s not a role I ever imagined him in. Whether RA was in talks at all for either of these roles is something I ponder with curiosity.

  6. Well said! I also have to wonder if he feels pangs of disappointment. I wish I had a crystal ball to see what wonderful things are ahead for RA!

  7. Wstyd się przyznać ale mam nadzieję że the Crucible i Ryszard Crispin-król naszych serc przyćmi tych szekspirowskich garbusów 🙂
    A tak na poważnie bardzo jestem ciekawa co Martin F.zrobi z ta rolą.

  8. Thanks to say with your words what I can’t say with mine. I agree with you at 1000 %. I am really fed up with the fact that RA is not part of such great events. And I can tell you : in France it’s worst. When my friends ask me who is my favourite actor (and more my “raison de vivre”), obviously I answer R.A. They open their eyes and answer : “who is he ?” So I say (and I try to remain calm) : the one who plays Thorin in The Hobbit and they answer (and I become angry) “Oh this one ? I don’t know because I dont like The Hobbit”. Just after this I stop to speak because it is completely unusefull. But the icing on the cake is when they add : “But I loooove the one who is playing Sherlock” because YES there is this serie on French TV but there is no North & South, Spooks or Strike Back or Robin Hood. Thanks France. I really hope Richard will have such a huge success with “The Crucible” that all the other actors all around the world will be forgotten. LOL. This is my wish and if somebody doen’st agree with it, it implies only me but I don’t apologize for it. One last thing : the manip of FanArt would have to be exposed at Le Louvres at the place of “La Joconde”. Ah Ah.

  9. Mixed feelings — he always said in the interviews (until one very recent one that was an anomaly, which made me think he was at least aware that casting was going on) that he didn’t want to play Shakespeare’s Richard III. I’m sure if he’d actually been offered that role, it would have been hard to pass up, and if he was actually under consideration it must have been upsetting not to get it. OTOH, I’ve always read him as someone who does his best work in smaller steps rather than making the huge leap, and he’s not been on stage for more than evening (as far we know) since 2002. I love the John Proctor role (more multifaceted than Shakespeare’s R3), and the ensemble quality of The Crucible is much more pronounced and Armitage has also said he likes ensemble pieces. So, I guess I am saying I am not all that upset. People have played Shakespeare’s R3 well into middle age, so that ship has not sailed (whereas the production that Armitage most wanted to do, a more historically accurate one with a young Richard, is now unlikely to feature Armitage as actor).

    Incidentally, here’s a collection of all of his interviews on the topic, in reverse chronological order, collated by the people who care 🙂 —

  10. These have been my thoughts too Agzy, but I feel a little better having read Serv’s comment above! 🙂

  11. Benedict become star in overnight thanks to Sherlock. While he is an great actor, he was practically unknown before Sherlock. Now, he is an international star with many fans all over the world. Steven Spielberg called him the greatest Holmes on screen.

    I doubt Spielberg know who Armitage is. The Hobbit while big movie doesn’t introduce RA especially with the heavy wig and all. None of my friends who watched Hobbit 1&2 know the guy who play Thorin. They all know Bilbo though. It got me to the point where I think that a role in Sherlock will bring RA more recognation than Hobbit


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