The RA fandom has been going crazy in the last two weeks over the massive advertising campaign hammering the airing of STRIKE BACK next Wednesday 5 May. We  have been overwhelmed by a huge quantity of new pictures, lots of interviews with the man himself (most of them definitely similar and quite monotonous, few of them fairly interesting) , articles and reviews, clips and trailers....
I've read only part  - and in a great hurry - of  the many interviews to Richard Armitage. I  am very interested in what he has to say about his characters and how he works hard to give them a backstory and credibility. Only this time I couldn't do much , though I tried hard (real life taking the upper hand!). Anyhow, I found some interesting points in the few I read:  Richard discussing the act of killing , Richard analyzing the differences between previous and current warfare, Richard making interesting considerations about Lucas North and John Porter being/or not being  similar characters... Again & again , I found clues of brain between those piercing blue eyes. I was sure of that, aware of the existence of  skills and sensitivity, I have always known that, reading his words or listening to him . It was just a confirmation of my already strong certainties.

Richard on killing ...

Richard on war films and current warfare...

Richard on the similarity between Lucas and John Porter

A spy in one, a soldier in another. It's a boy's dream, playing those two roles.

Yes, it is. And they're kind of similar. Lucas North is MI5, and John Porter works for a branch of MI6, but he's the antithesis of Lucas, really. Luckily they are very different, because I was worried how similar they were. If you met them together, you'd realise that they're at opposite ends of the Spectrum.

Was it a concern, that they are, in theory, so similar? Did the script persuade you to do Strike Back?
I love the idea that the script persuaded me! If only. I had three pages of it to go on, and that's when you have to make a decision. I was weary of the war genre, because we've seen it a lot. It's been done well, done badly, done in clich├ęd ways, and it's also broken new ground. I thought 'Is this going to another of those TV war things that just ends up on the shelf?' but then that became the challenge, to reinvent this idea of a war hero. I had to find something else in an action hero that rings different bells.
I went for the baggage he has from his past, that was the really interesting thing. I wanted to remove the character from the idea of the military and make him apply to everyone... There's this idea that he made a decision he believed to be the right one, and that had huge, catastrophic effect on his life and career. He had to go in search of atonement for that decision, still believing he made the right call, despite the fact something terrible happened as a result. I think that is a universal situation, not necessarily just war and the military. In a war genre, it becomes acutely focused, though.

Richard on a military career ...

Is that something you ever thought about, a dream of working in that field?

No never, I couldn't be further away from that! I'm the guy that's off painting and playing the cello. That's probably why it is kind of satisfying to do. It's a life I never would have chosen and will never choose, so that's why it's interesting to play the character, because it's quite far from my own aspirations.

He's the guy that's off painting and playing the cello. And I definitely like that.
Is he embarassed by his towering sex-symbol status or just bored? "Baffled" , he answers and just smiles and go on enthusiastically talking about his work.
And I deeply appreciate that.
I hope I'll have some spare time to read  the rest of the huge quantity of materials published about Strike Back.
Have you read everything come out so far, instead? Have you got a favourite article/interview?
I'm longing for a TV interview. I'm fond of  watching Richard sitting and chatting on a sofa in a TV studio ... It seems he will be on GMTV (ITV1) early in the morning next Tuesday May 4th.
It was Friday when I started writing this post. It is already Saturday (1 a.m.) now. I apologize for being a bit late.
Enjoy your weekend!


Luciana said...

I was so sleepy when I opened your blog, but suddenly I saw a beautiful pair of blue eyes and my energy came back! I really like this post and how RA talks about his work in this war story. I loved the pics! The first one and the one with the nun are my favourites!

Avalon said...

I always like reading what he has to say. Thanks for posting these because I have not had the time to read any of his latest interviews. I am his worst fan...lol

Phylly3 said...

Great post Maria Grazia! I hadn't read these interviews yet. Wow, so many -- it's very exciting! I especially want to read the Reader's Digest one.
I love the quote about how if left to himself he'd rather be painting or playing the cello!! It almost sounds too good to be true! But everything else he says sounds so thoughtful and unrehearsed too. **sigh** He certainly makes it extremely difficult to recover from my RA obsession!

Unknown said...

WHEW! I KNEW you couldn't leave us without a RAF post, MG! And what a post, starting with that amazing pic - one of the best of the most celebrated 'Venni Collection', which surfaced on the web just hours ago - and going on with those really interesting and sensitive comments by the man himself. Reading the interviews - in fact, you've picked out the best stuff - I've much appreciated his humour as well as his sensitiveness and commitment to work.
Thank you for taking the time to post a RAF, in spite of your hectic RL! :)
Have a nice weekend everyone,

tyme_4_t said...

The "Reader's Digest UK" interview is one of the best interviews with RA imo.
Many of the best bits are here. Love the pic with the nun and RA can work on my car anytime!

RAFrenzy said...

Great piece! Thank you for pulling these together. I really enjoy the thoughtfulness of your blog.

Traxy said...

While waiting for hubby to pick me up from the train, I went to a store and browsed some of the TV mags - good thing: about 3-4 featured "Strike Back" with interviews with RA. "Bad" thing - they were so similar I was wondering if they were the same, just slightly re-phrased. :/ One of the ones I looked at included that blue-shirt picture... was difficult to avert my eyes from it to read the text! *giggle* Thanks for the links! :D

Anonymous said...

Great post, Maria Grazia! I vote for "Readers Digest."

Judy said...

Hi, Maria, and thanks for collecting together the interviews. There's a huge poster of Richard in this right by my bus stop, so I see him while waiting for the bus to work every morning!

MaryKwizMiz said...

Excellent post.
Was just thinking about the deluge of articles that have appeared over the last 10 days, and there are way more to come when the show starts. While most interviews and articles are not all that original in terms of questions askes or comments made, the Readers Diges one is a RAre exception. Thoughtful and very insightful. Wish there'd be more like this one.. and obviously more TV interviews - always better to hear it straight from the 'horse's mouth'.. if only to listen to the voice :D

Judy said...

Maria, I was wondering if you'd seen the little comment from RA in this week's Radio Times in the UK - for some reason they have an article claiming that it is a golden age of British TV drama at the moment (I think not - there is almost nothing on apart from reality TV and no period dramas at all!) Anyway, they have asked various actors for their views, and Richard's comment is as follows:

"Deep down I'm searching for another 'North & South'. It was the first time I started to experiment on screen and take risks. I'd love to play Richard III or Machiavelli. I have fun with the baddies because I can really delve into my naughty side."

There's also an interesting interview in the Guardian today, including a brief video interview:

Maria Grazia said...

Thanks for your active contributions. I've read several interviews and listened/watched some others but not the two ones you mention. I'll give them a look. I need sources for next RA Friday!
Anyhow I knew he would love to be Richard III but never heard about his desire to be Machiavelli. But he if wants to be really bad,he should wish he might interpret Machiavelli's Prince = Cesare Borgia!
I'd love to see him again as someone as complex but as charming as JT.