12/03/2012

FANSTRAVAGANZA 3: RICHARD III IN MOVIES OR ... WHY WE WANT A NEW KING RICHARD

Visit the site King Richard Armitage








I became an eager fan of this project as soon as I heard about it while watching an  interview with Richard Armitage at GMTV (3rd October 2007). Now, not only I signed the petition but I also started researching about Richard III and reading history books as well as historical fiction dedicated to him. I've also invited Ricardians and historical fiction writers to write for FLY HIGH to support the cause and I go on, fingers and toes crossed, hoping the project comes true sooner more than later. Of course, I'm talking about Richard Armitage's dream of producing and interpreting a new Richard III.
"And why do we need Richard Armitage's King Richard III project come true?", you might ask. Well, not only because it would be incredibly good to see our favourite actor achieve one of his dreams and ambitious goals -  one for which he has been working, reading and planning for years now - but also because the other Richard, King Richard III,   deserves the acknowledgement of how wronged he has been after his defeat at Bosworth (1485) by Shakespeare's portrayal and, especially, by the Tudor propaganda.
It's rather time people substitute the popular image of the deformed, hunchbacked, wickedly scheming murderer with a more balanced portrait, closer to the historical reality.
This is what Richard Armitage has been dreaming about in the latest years: a fictional,  biographical TV series proposing a new Richard III based on the belief that he was  probably one of the best king England has ever had. A prequel to The Tudors.


Richard Armitage talking about his Richard III project at GMTV (October 2007)
This is something which has never been done before. While historians and historical fiction writers have re-discovered and re-written what people for centuries have thought of Richard III, the only image we have on stage and in films is the one we inherited from Shakespeare.
"The history of the world, like letters without poetry, flowers without perfume, or thought without imagination, would be a dry matter indeed without its legends, and many of these, though scorned by proof a hundred times, seem worth preserving for their own familiar sakes". (from the preamble of Richard III 1955)
On Imdb you can find a detailed list of all the filmed works dedicated to or  focusing on Richard III,  and including even those movies just featuring him as a minor character. But, except for The Black Arrow (adaptation of R. L. Stevenson's historical novel in which young Richard of Gloucester helps the protagonist Richard - Dick - Shelton), in all of them we have him portrayed as the wicked villain. 
It is also true that  Shakespeare's Richard has his fascination: he is sharp-witted, articulate, cunning and persuasive; he works his charms both on the other characters in the play and on the audience. So, we risk to be seduced each time he is on stage and looks directly to us reveiling his treacherous plans. However, as perfect as Shakespeare's Richard is, it is time the literary villain is substituted with the historical figure based on documents and not on propaganda. 
And therefore since I cannot prove a lover

To entertain these fair well-spoken days,

I am determined to prove a villain …
So far, the most famous and remarkable Richard III movies we have are:

- Laurence Olivier's Richard III (1955).  




- Ian McKellen's Richard III (1995),  the classic Shakespearean play staged in an alternative fascist England setting.


- Al Pacino's Looking for Richard (1996), which is more a documentary film about Shakespeare’s significance and relevance to the modern world through interviews and an in-depth analysis of “Richard III.”



- Then, if you love modernizations, you might want to  have a look at Shakespeare's Richard III (2008) with David Carradine as Buckingham and Scott Anderson as the protagonist. This modern day retelling  is set in contemporary Hollywood.

Don't you agree with me that we really need a good TV series, popularizing a different image of Richard III, the image so dear to all Ricardians and to which Richard Armitage has dedicated so much enthusiasm  so far?


This trail dedicated to Richard III and Richard Armitage continues tomorrow on Inge3's blog, Crispin's eclipse, Richard III: A Biography

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes - I do agree. A TV series would be great. More time to flesh out the story than in a movie. And of course RA to play RIII. :-)
Cheers
BB

servetus said...

I think we need something that's done well -- and we know that if Richard Armitage is involved, it will be done well. I hope he can realize this project and have signed the petition.

bccmee said...

I agree now that I have discovered RA that RIII is long overdue for a fair hearing. :)

Mulubinba said...

I've always liked the idea of RIII. If he does this it would be interesting to see if he plays a role in front of camera .. or directs.

Anonymous said...

I do hope this dream will be realised. As a "Ricardian" long before discovering Armitage, it is reprehensible - the character assaination done to Richard III by the Tudors. (Of course, slightly laughing; the Tudors had their points, too) But Richard Plantagenet deserves his rightful place in history. And in the English consciousness.

jazzbaby1 said...

I love that interview with Lorraine Kelly. It's ambitious, I wish him well with it.

C. Doart said...

I fully agree and very much hope the plans of Richard Armitage for a more truthful depiction of "King Richard III" will work out.

Prue Batten said...

Wonderful comment on the Ricardian adventure. Found this the other day which may interest those of a similar view:
http://booksandpals.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/author-interview-joan-szechtman.html

Phoebe said...

ARMITAGE VS SHAKESPEARE

I know who I'd pick!

Faboamanto said...

I agree and I hope this does happen for RA and for us as the audience.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to type in name. One of the anonymice is fitzg. :D
fitzg

Maria Grazia said...

Thanks a lot to you all ladies! I'm catching up with all the other blog posts around today. Lots of interesting stuff and a great deal of gorgeous pictures too. Glad to be part of this event.

memythoughtsandwhoknows said...

I hope RA is able to realize this dream. As other's have said, a television series would be great, as it would provide more time to flesh out the character.

A Scattering said...

This project needs BBCTV interest and $$$. Wouldn't it be amazing?!

Vec170203 said...

Thanks for the post, it's really wonderful to see such passion for a character ... I hope to have the opportunity to see how the project becomes a reality ...

Anonymous said...

We could kidnap Richard Branson, or Bill Gates and "twist" their arms to provide the $$/pounds to BBC?

fitzg

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

MG, it has been too long since I've dropped by! I always love reading what you write. I agree, Richard III with RA would be so interesting! *crossing fingers that some day it will happen*

Feminema said...

MG, this is just great -- I'm so happy to see this long history of Richard III on screen and stage -- I can't imagine a better Richard for this day & age. Here's hoping the project comes through, especially with all the new international attention he's getting from The Hobbit and other projects of wide appeal.

Jonia's cut said...

I'm praying for Richard III with our Richard :)

Gratiana Lovelace said...

Hi MG,
Richard Armitage in another tv series as KRIII? Beamed into our homes weekly? Be still my beating heart!
Cheers! Grati ;->

Fanny/iz4blue said...

Excellent post! I've signed & agree the time is here & near!!

royalessays said...

thank's for the information buddy

Joanna said...

Hi Maria Gracia!:)
If they can hired a better craftsman than in "Bobbin Hood",RA will be looking good in crown and armour.;)