Richard Armitage – the tallest dwarf in Middle Earth

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold,
it would be a merrier world.”
– Thorin Oakenshield

What an exciting start to a Friday morning! Reading all these lovely blog posts between trying to make a website layout. I think it’s safe to say we’re all tingly with excitement over the news that Richard Armitage has been cast in Peter Jackson’s forthcoming adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

This I greet with a slightly overawed: Aaaaawesomes!

I wonder where it’s going to be filmed, though. Or have they sorted out the problems with the New Zealand acting union finally? Even Sam Neill got involved with that a while back and thought they should pipe down and settle it over a cuppa tea. Which I noted with considerable glee, not previously really caring about The Hobbit film because, well, who cares? I’ll see the film, absolutely, but I’m not actually a fan of the Ring trilogy. I am, however, a big fan of Sam Neill. And speaking of which, he should totally have a part in this, seeing as he didn’t have the time to be in LotR (no, he really wasn’t! Hugo Weaving ≠ Sam Neill), and he’s chummy with Peter Jackson. Makes sense. If he has the time. Please, Sam, have the time! The opportunity of BOTH my favourite actors in the SAME film would be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Oh actually, they might be filming it here in the UK. They do have a bunch of Brits aboard, and this is where Tolkien penned his tomes, after all. Seems fitting. And filming in the studios where they did the Harry Potter films, which again, is something I’m a massive fan of. This production is looking better and better! 😀 To be consistent with the look of the other movies though, New Zealand would be a better setting. Not to mention they’ve already got locations prepared over there. But where they’ll film it isn’t something I’m really going to get all that passionate about. Just bloody film it already.

“We’re not in the Shire any more …”

Anyway. I remember reading once upon a time that the Lord of the Rings is one of Richard Armitage’s favourite books. (I also note that in the same interview, he says he’s read Wuthering Heights “many times”. Squeee! I wonder if he’s read Jane Eyre too. He probably has, the charming bastard.) And that he once played an elf in a school play. And now he’s to play not just a dwarf (!) but the leader of the dwarves in the prequel. It must be really exciting to be in his position. If I were an actress, I’d pretty much be willing to sell my soul to play an Aes Sedai in a filmed adaptation of the Wheel of Time books. (Yeah, you expected me to say Jane Eyre there, didn’t you? 😛 Well, I’m too old to play Jane Eyre now.) Any Aes Sedai would do. Heck, if someone said I could be an extra as a lightforsaken Andoran villager, I’d be over the moon. (I’m a little too short and much too fat to be an Aiel, boo hoo.) And this would be like … I don’t know, landing the role of, say, Verin or someone. A dream role if you’re a fan, basically. And there he is! Really happy for him. He must be chuffed to bits, not only landing a substantial part in a big-budget blockbuster, but to be landing a part in something that stems from Tolkien.

So, that brings us to the part he’s playing: Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the dwarves. I have only read Bilbo once and it was a fair few years ago now, so I really don’t remember any details. That’s where one of the most useful websites in the world comes in, which tells us this about Thorin’s characteristics:

Thorin is described as being very haughty, stern, and officious. He has a talent for singing and playing the harp, wears a gold chain, and has a very long beard. He refers to his homes in the Blue Mountains as “poor lodgings in exile.” He is a capable and a cunning warrior, if not a particularly inspiring or clever leader.

That last sentence sounds a bit like Gisborne, doesn’t it? The fact that he has a talent for singing and playing the harp has me gasping and wondering if we’re actually going to hear the man sing. I’m speechless at the mere thought!

The bit about the very long beard has me giggling. He did say that he was ready for his “Elephant Man phase”, so is this it? Being squashed in a computer to half your height, while sporting a ginormous beard? I did read that apparently, the guy who played Gimli in LotR was 6’1″ so okay, 6’2″ (188 cm) worth of Richard Armitage is probably going to look convincing enough. I wasn’t too convinced at first. It was kind of “he’s been cast in The Hobbit! Hooray! As a … dwarf? Err … How’d they figure that one out?” But the big beard … Gimli had a good one going on, it has to be said. Still, the picture of RA with a ZZ Top look is … too funny.

What I think is really nice to read is Peter Jackson’s comments about Richard:

“Richard is one of the most exciting and dynamic actors working on screen today and we know he is going to make an amazing Thorin Oakenshield. We cannot wait to start this adventure with him and feel very lucky that one of the most beloved characters in Middle Earth is in such good hands.”

“One of the most exciting and dynamic actors working on screen today,” he said! And he’s sort of an independent adjudicator of sorts, because a) he’s a bloke and b) he’s a film-maker. We can sit here in the blogosphere and gush over how brilliant an actor the man is, but it’s not unusual to be biased and therefore overlook certain foibles … So it’s not just that we think he’s a great actor because we fancy him something rotten, but we actually think he’s a great actor because HE IS. … In case you were wondering, no, I really didn’t need Peter Jackson to tell me that. I’ve noticed that he’s a great actor quite a while ago, and reading rather long and in-depth blog posts analysing every aspect of his acting, including subtle eye movements, has reinforced that opinion. The man can act the socks off most people. And now he’ll be available to the public all over the world. Perhaps the blogosphere will grow even bigger now. 🙂

The news breaking out around the net:

Funny how most people who have something to comment on these articles are delighted Richard Armitage fans. Don’t Martin Freeman, Cute Guy from EastEnders and Hot Irishman from Being Human have excited fans too?

But wow, “our” Richard is finally going to Hollywood. I feel an odd sense of pride and trepidation.

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