1. LAST WEEK my RA Friday post contained a video quiz (click and see it) . A few of you took the time to watch it. Mulubinba and Phylly3 immediately guessed. It was not that hard, was it? Thanks for watching and commenting,  of course! For all the others , here’s the answer. The title of the clip is Strike Back quoting Spooks because … they used the same soundtrack. Have you noticed the music in the background while Lucas and Elizaveta talk is the same as that while John Porter is informally debriefed by his superior. I noticed it immediately, as I told you, because I had seen that scene from Spooks 7 more than once. Congratulations to those of you who guessed, then!

2. THIS WEEK I’d like to go on with the comparison . No quizzes, relax, but not too much. Tough issue, I'm afraid. I’m sure you noticed there is something more Spooks 7 and Strike Back have in common. You have to focus on the first two episodes of SB, those set in Iraq in which JP has to rescue reporter Katie Dartmouth (Orla Brady). What else do they have in common?

Waterboarding. Richard Armitage was again waterboarded as John Porter. But did Richard accept to be actually tortured this time too? It seems he did. I had doubts at first,  but watching carefully the sequence I think they didn’t use a stand-in. Though this time Richard didn’t talk about it at all, or did he? Promoting Spooks 7 he happened to discuss the shooting of that torture scene (series 7 ep. 3) in detail in many interviews, this time he didn’t even mention it, if I’m not wrong. Has he told anything about waterboarding in SB?

In 2007 Richard declared that consultants from both the CIA and the FSB, the Russian intelligence service, assured him that waterboarding was much more of a psychological device of extracting information, “a humane way of extracting information without hurting people”. According to Kudos Film & TV, producers of Spook , there was a health & safety advisor on the set and Lucas /Richard was totally in charge during the filming to the extent that there was an agreed upon signal that he could end the procedure should it become too much to handle. Richard said the signal was given somewhere between 3 and 5 seconds. He couldn’t resist more and he also said it was definitely awful. It was not a psychological device, a humane procedure but a real physical torture.

Think about it … It must be terribly hard - though you know you can stop it waving your hand. Think how stressing it can be when one - Richard - has not got a very good relationship with water. Reading what Richard said in 2007 can help us realize what a physical and psychological effort it may be even to a strong and fit man as he is.

Here are some articles/interviews in which Richard talked about it ( The Telegraph co.uk, Times Online and Daily Mail Online) . It seems Richard was really shocked by the experience. So it is incrdible that he  accepted to repeat it for Strike Back. I personally wouldn’t do it. But knowing his extreme sense of duty and his wish for authenticity in  acting, I suspect he might have done it again.

Richard goes on saying he is nothing like the tough blokes he has or had to play in Robin Hood, Spooks or Strike Back , that he could never be a good soldier like John Porter, but maybe he undervalues his strength. What makes a man heroic? was the title of my interview with author Beth Pattillo. I agree with her answer to my question: "I think a man who is a hero is strong enough to know when he can be weak, courageous enough to know when to be afraid..."

3. INTERVIEWS . I’ve loved reading Richard’s latest interview in The Mirror (it seems conducted on the SB Premiere but came out only on 30th May) and listening to the second part of the audio recording David Stephenson, TV editor for the Sunday Express, released from his interview with Richard a few weeks ago. Actually,  they didn’t have to waterboard him to extract information. He just seems to like speaking about himself, his work, his future plans.

From the audio interview
- It’s interesting to know  how much he cares for his Richard III project. (20 episodes? I’d love to see such a long costume series with Richard as the protagonist!)

- To listen to his voice talking about his middle-aged, quite well-educated , radio 4 listener fans is less disagreeable than reading the same words as they were put in the article by the journalist. The tone of his voice was caring and respectful, not ironic at all. He explained he knows the attention to him came through his John Thornton but it has then gone on . His fans even watched Robin Hood which was meant for kids ( black leather – clad Gisborne for kids? ) and now were ready to see Strike Back ... but maybe not to approve of it (He still doesn’t know or can't imagine how much his admirers are ready to widen their horizons!)

- He also jokes about working in the movies and going to America . Does he really want to do it? He doesn’t sound so sure. He seems to prefer Rupert Penry- Jones staying there and he being engaged in good British productions. But … who knows what he actually wants?
From the Mirror
- He still can’t believe he is considered sexy, a hot date, the not-so-much-secret dream of many a woman . A beanpole with a nose?!? That gorgeous giant?

- He was wearing Italian designer clothes at the SB Premiere (Dolce and Gabbana suit + Prada shirt) but usually wears Lucas’s clothes. He doesn’t like shopping for clothes. Neither do I.

- He would like to get married and have children but suffers from a sub-form of the Peter Pan syndrome: he doesn’t feel about 40 but 25 in his mind! ( I sympathize with him, I always remove how old I am!) Anyhow, my husband got married at 25 and had his first child at 26 … with me, of course. So, if he is 25 at least in his mind, it is not that early… what does he need? To find the right woman. Let’s see…
- His dream woman should be a bit naughty and should love eating. Just that? Why hasn’t he found one yet? It shouldn’t be so difficult … naughty and loving food…. The world must be full of women like that. But of course, he was joking. I'm sure he must want much more.

- His love life is nil. He’s not in a relationship any longer – He’s working too much – but he would like to settle down at some point. That’s probably why he’s going to LA soon... What does that mean? The naughty, food loving lucky, very lucky girl must be American and from LA? ( I found this answer to the question “ how’s your love life?” rather awkward). Did I get it wrong? Well, I’m Italian, that is, English is a foreign language to me, after all.
- Then we learn about his being addicted to skiing , his being very proud of his grey 2-year-old  BMW, his being able to plumb and sand floors and not fearing to remain unemployed if his phone stops ringing, his nostalgic dragging out his cello from the loft recently.

- He started the interview drinking water (good!)   but ended up with a glass of white wine ( better!) , he is a gent and helped the journalist to see  SB screening (she had forgotten the tickets!)

So what? Well… I feel that the more one reads/listens to his interviews the more one must admit he is so incredibly... human. Not an alien from the stardom planet.  He's just very … Can you help me? Which is the right adjective to you? ( Have I already told you my favourite among his performances are ... his interviews? Yes, in Richard being Richard )

Sunday June 6th
(Fingers crossed for Spooks!)


Phylly3 said...

Wow! I can't imagine submitting to torture willingly not only once, but twice! He really does go the extra mile for his art.
I adore his acting, but I am like you and am more fascinated in the "real" RA (or as much as we can discern about him).
I hope that once he achieves a certain level of fame, where he doesn't need to search for projects, but can pick and choose amongst the best offers to him, that he will be able to relax and enjoy his real life and have a good relationship and family life. I wish all the best for him because he brings such joy to my life!

Unknown said...

You're right, MG, it's strange he didn't mention SB's waterboarding in the interviews. But neither did the interviewers! Perhaps they forgot all the fuss about Lucas having been tortured that way, which got titles on the newspapers only 2 years ago? I remember having read about that even in italian newspapers, which was quite unusual, also because our TV doesn't show Spooks anymore.
As for the 2 scenes, I still find the Spooks one much more disturbing, probably because of the B/W, the editing and the real feeling of terror you can smell form these quick flashbacks (the same effect did to me the torture scenes in ser. 8). The SB waterboarding was "softer", and you can see that the second time most of the water is dropped far from his nose/mouth. But his reaction is very credible all the same. To reply to your question, I don't think this kind of torture is a 'softer and more humane way to get informations': the feeling of drowning and choking is one of the most scary nightmare, and yet an ancestral fear people cannot really avoid.
So kudos to Richard for having accepted to endure that once more.

Maria Grazia said...

@Phylly3, Karen
Hi! I can understand, Phylly, what you mean by liking the "real" Richard, though I'm also aware, we only know his "public face" and not the intimate , private self, of course. Anyhow, I still go on thinking I like that "he" more than many of his characters.
And, yes, Karen , I too find the torture scene in Spooks 7 more effective and disquieting than that in SB. Have a nice day, the two of you! Big hugs!

tyme_4_t said...

I thought I read / heard him mention during the SB promotions that because he had been "waterboarded" before he was able to remember the physical & mental reactions without going through the entire process again...have no idea what article or interview this was from ... if I find it I'll let you know!

I too am interested in the "real" Richard (again as much as he chooses to reveal) because I have always been fascinated by the process behind how artists of all kinds work. One of my favourite vids on youtube is actually Matthew Macfadyen & Michael Gambon rehearsing "Henry IV". Its such an amazing "glimpse at the process". If you get a chance check it out...

Maria Grazia said...

Thank you! I'd love to read what Richard said on being waterboarded a second time if you find the article you remember!
I'll go and search for the MacFadyen/Gambon video on UTube, immediately!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the answer! LOL, I think I'm too focused on RA that I haven't really paid attention to the soundtrack (and I watched your vid at least 3 times! :S ).

The waterboarding might have not be mentioned because its 'old' news? He discussed it previously for Spooks and might not be as interesting as the 1st time(¿?).

Maria Grazia said...

You're just welcome! Have a great time down there in ... Mexico? Is it there you live?

Mulubinba said...

I must have read the same interview as tyme4t - he mentions the SB waterboarding experience but I can't remember which interview it was.

I think I'm in a bit of a minority here as I would rather the real RA remain a mystery. I read the interviews because I can't resist (curiosity gets the better of me), but bizarrely they always leave me feeling a little uncomfortable ... I can't work out why that is. I think I prefer the questions that just focus on his work :)

Maria Grazia said...

@Well, Mulubinba, different opinions are always stimulating. Don't you think so?
Have the best of weekends!

Anonymous said...

@MG, I live in Spain but I'm from Peru :). Have a nice weekend!

Maria Grazia said...

Vale...hablas Espanol!
Thanks for being back. A great weekend to you!