Mar 10, 2010

No "Charlie" for Richard *UPDATED*


I attended the Q&A chat session on the Charlie Forum this afternoon.
Updates are in green.

This morning, members of the Charlie Forum (including me)
received an email from Mike Ogden, director of the project,
letting us know that Richard Armitage will no longer be involved in the film.
(Richard was going to play Charlie, the lead role in the movie set in WWII.)

Although I hoped I was wrong (because I really wanted to see RA in a WWII uniform)
I had suspected this might be coming due to the following reasons:

1. Richard had never signed a contract formally binding him to this film.
Mike said he has someone in mind to play Charlie, but didn't reveal who that was.
I asked if he'd announce Richard's replacement when the actor verbally agreed,
or when a contract was signed.  Mike said he'd announce it after they shook hands.

2. Filming had been bumped from early this year to the summer, which made
me wonder about financial difficulties and/or Richard's hesitation or busy schedule.
Mike told us it was his decision to replace Richard as Charlie due to scheduling conflicts. 
Richard's busy schedule doesn't allow for the 10 week stretch needed to film "Charlie." 
Mike said there is a funding offer in the works.  So now we know that

it wasn't a financial barrier, but the timetable that stood in the way.
(At least we know Richard is busy working.  Yay!)

3. I had noticed the Charlie Forum administrator deleted her accounts from all
Richard Armitge forums recently, which made me suspect something like this
was happening and she didn't want to take the chance of being harrassed by
RA fans when the news broke.  (I hope that wouldn't have happened!)
Update: The forum administrator told me that she found out
about the cast change this morning, like everyone else,

so the timing must have been a coincidence.


I do have to say that although I haven't always seen eye-to-eye
with Mike Ogden, I hope that he is able to successfully make the movie
he has been so passionately planning.  Best of luck to all the cast and crew invovled!

I'd like to hear YOUR reaction to this news!

What are your thoughts on the matter?
Disappointed?  Sad?  Smug?  Don't care?

Now that Richard is no longer tied to the project,
do you still plan on following the progress of the film?

If you have invested money into the "Charlie" project, do you now regret it,
or do you still plan on supporting the film whole-heartedly?

*I'm sure there are strong opinions on all sides of this topic,
so please be respectful (no swearing or lashing out) or your comments will be deleted.
I don't mind differing opinions, but dislike aggressive, rude behavior.*

47 comments:

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

My reaction to this news:
First off, smug. (Thinking, "HA! I knew something was up!")
Then my 2nd reaction was to immediately feel guilty for thinking those smug thoughts. (I'm a nice person in general, although I have my bratty moments.)
My 3rd reaction was to feel bad for disappointed RA fans, particularly if they'd invested money and regretted it. (Hopefully none do.)
Then I thought of Mike & Bccmee, wondering how they were handling the wave of responses to this info.

Ruth said...

Somehow I must've missed hearing about this project altogether - but since I love studying WW2 history and films, I'm rather bummed to hear this didn't work out. I tried looking up this project on the IMDB but didn't come up with anything...?

Ruth said...

Leaving a 2nd comment so I can click "subscribe" to get follow up info... :)

@Rob said...

Did fans really invest in the film? Seriously?

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

Yes. There is an "investment opportunity" section in the Charlie Forum. I thought it was fishy, until I read a post by Mulubinba, which said that fan funding is not uncommon, especially for independent films.

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

By the way, I still plan on following the progress of this film because of Kurt Bestor's involvement. (He's a composer from my neck of the woods.)

WitchyWoman said...

Gutted in the sense that it would have been a great role for Richard and we would have got to see him in Uniform(I know I'm not the only woman thinking this) and it would have been great watching him act with children.
I feel bad for any fan who has helped fund the film purely for Richard being in it because they are going to feel cheated right now and I hope they don't take it out on Richard.

As for following the film now I think I would as I love anything to do with that subject matter.

flandersdreamer said...

People, we don't know why RA has pulled himself out of this. It's not his usual way of dealing with things. So, I'm guessing something really insurmountable has occurred, like a new project for which RA has already signed a contract. Maybe a role as Richard III or a chance to do some directing himself? I hope RA is going to put us out of our misery.Don't forget what a nice guy he is, so no judging, lease?

Marigold said...

I am aware of the film soliciting funding (and I hear this is not unusual) but I also feel sorry for anyone who actually DID it. It would be the last thing I'd do, until things were official. (I'm not trying to be smug here, believe me! I just hope that no one invested any significant amount of money in this film, for RA's sake.)

I never got too involved with this film and barely visited the Charlie forum. Until RA officially signed up, it was always in the air and I always remembered that. Because of this, I don't feel so disappointed personally. I am sure that whatever the reasons, that RA has something else fantastic lined up for us to enjoy.

@Rob said...

It is not uncommon for actors to pull out of film projects. It happens all the time. I am sure it has more to do with a scheduling conflict than anything else.

Honestly, I wasn't too excited about this project and now that he's not in it I won't be following the film. I do hope they get their funding together and are able to complete it.

servetus said...

Thanks for the news. I didn't follow it that closely, but I had reservations about it being a good career move, so I am not sad. As long as Mr. Armitage didn't appeal for fans to donate to the project--and the only donation appeals from him that I have ever seen are for registered charities--I don't think that anyone who invested in order to see him really has much to complain about. Perhaps that's harsh.

bZirk said...

I guess I'm a brat too, Nat, 'cause I'm not surprised either, and yes, I noticed the deletion of bccmee's accounts.

Haven't read everyone's comments yet, but I'm very interested to know what others think of the "financing" of this film.

I'm a cynic by nature, so I was none too keen on the "investment opportunity" for Charlie. Frankly, I'm glad RA has distanced himself from that business no matter the reason. Maybe others will heartily disagree, but as someone who's been in business a long time and owned businesses and had to get financing (even some "creative" financing), the way that was done hit me the wrong way. I'll spare all of you my dissertation on this.

But none of my thoughts on the financing made me dislike bccmee. However, the cynic in me is now wondering where is she coming from? I don't want to do that, but I can't help thinking what in heck is going on? Maybe she just got caught up in something and doesn't want to hassle with being questioned. (If I remember correctly she is in the pr business or maybe I've got her confused with someone else). But by being silent, it raises more questions. Or maybe I just see it that way.

As for RA, oh, I would so love to see him as the lead in a film(as I'm sure everyone here desires). So yeah, I'm bummed about that part of this. But hey, we don't know of all the projects he may have in the works. I'm going to stay hopeful and in the meantime get ready for Strike Back. Yeah, baby! :D

@Rob said...

It's called Gang Financing or funding. It's not uncommon, but it is newish. Oftentimes, when looking for financing you'll attach an actor to a project to help find investors. These days filmmakers are looking for all sorts of tradional and non-tradional funding. And the fact that RA has a healthy engaged fan base would really help get a flim off the ground. I had been to the Charlie website and never noticed that there was a link to invest.

I don't think anything nefarious was going on. I am sure that they were more interested in the number of fans and not so much in getting them to invest.

By the way bZirk. I am the PR girl and I am in no way associated with this project. I am just a fan. :)

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

@flandersdreamer: I didn't see any comments judging Richard. Did I miss something? Plus, we now know it was Mike's decision to replace Richard, not Richard pulling out. (Even if RA had been the one to drop it, it would've been his right to make that decision.)

Sue said...

Nat,

I had tried to point out that as Richard had never actually signed any contract that this could not be considered definite. I would just also like to point out that the quote "Richard is no longer tied to the project" is in itself flawed as Richard was NEVER TIED to the project in the first place! Nothing had been signed. Yes Richard had been approached and as his career progresses no doubt he will be approached by many people wanting to cast him in a role. This film had already fallen through once before because of financial difficulties (nothing to do with Richard then as this was some time ago). I didn't think that it was right to use Richard's name and publicise this project as him taking the lead until everything had been signed, sealed and delivered, which is normal procedure with most negotiations. I also never liked the idea of Richard's fans being approached to invest in this project. I think this could easily have meant many vulnerable and young fans investing money they could ill-afford to lose because they wanted in some sort of way to help Richard's career. I'm sure Richard would never want to be under any kind of obligation to anyone especially his fans and any money they could come up with would be a drop in the ocean anyway concerning film-making. Call it instinct if you like but I had doubts that Richard about Richard being in this film. I also doubt very much if the film will ever get made, especially in the current economic climate. I'm sure Richard will not have turned this role down without good reason and I think he will have another acting role lined up before doing so. Trust in Richard's judgement. It hasn't done so badly up until now. His agent will always look out for him regarding any legalities. If the financing isn't in place then no contract would ever be signed period. There are a lot of sharks out there and I'm sure Richard has more sense than to get bitten.

Time will tell, but to be perfectly honest I saw this one coming from the beginning. I think Sky may well make a sequel to Strike Back and this time he will be in a series in the starring role, not just one of the gang and it could well be the making of him.

PS: I tried to get into the Charlie chatroom about 10.25p.m. (I had only just got home) but for some reason couldn't so I don't know what the reasons were regarding this. All will be revealed in time I've no doubt.

Skully said...

That's show biz, folks! Honestly, in large productions (including independent ones), it would be a rare thing for there not to be a major change in plan, for some reason or another, somewhere along the way. This kind of thing happens all the time.

The ethics of leveraging fan support for RA to help finance the film, however, before he has signed up to it (sorry dude, a handshake is not enough), is in question. To be fair to the producers though, contracts were never signed, and they were honest about that. So if people are miffed about investing because RA is no longer involved - their naivety about film production should shoulder some of the blame.

Sue said...

I've just been on IMDB and someone has posted the following brief transcript of what was said in the chatroom. To be honest though I would take it with a kilo of salt if I were you. I don't believe a word of it, this is to appease any investors from crying "where's me bloody money"

I've just come out of the chat room.
Here's the lowdown,folks.

MO - "Richard cannot commit to the film thanks to other commitments in tv land. He's a really busy bloke and we needed to make a decision to move on.
I needed Richard for 10 weeks and he simply doesn't have a hole in his schedule for that now,I cannot wait any further and the production has to keep moving so I took a big decision."

When asked if he had anyone in mind for the part Mike said he did but wouldn't say who it was except to say that we will have seen him if we are regular film watchers and that it is a Brit actor.
Someone said that they thought RA would have 10 weeks free. MO said "Like I said,he's very busy. I can understand his attitude,as an actor you have to keep busy."
Q - Did Richard understand and was he disappointed?
MO - "I can't comment on how Richard feels."
Q-When did you decide that RA wouldn't be in the cast?
MO - "In the last few days I decided this."

Debra said...

I'm sorry to hear that RA is no longer tied to the project. I haven't kept up with the latest news (or the CHARLIE board. I got the email this morning (also).

The project does sound like a movie that I would be interested in seeing...so I will definitely be interested in which Brit actor is cast in the role. ***I have several favorites that I imagine in that character***

So, we'll see???

Thank you Nat, for keeping us up to date.

xxxtglxxx said...

I am not too bothered about the Charlie film tbh... It wouldnt have had enough exposure, and I certainly dont think it would have raised his profile more than Spooks, or even the eagerly anticipated (in my eyes anyway) Strike Back. I am delighted to have just received an email from amazon saying my audio cd (venetia) is on its way, I have pre-ordered strike back, and am happy to support RA this way. I would prefer to see him in tv roles anyway, films can be quite hit and miss, and have as much chance of wrecking your credibility as improving it. I think I am relieved he isnt doing the film, and I did think that this year it would be a bit 'hard-man' heavy (Strike Back, Charlie, Spooks). I miss gizzy! :D
I like an evil grin now and again!

Good luck to Richard in whatever he chooses to do, its his career anyway.

bZirk said...

@rob,

Thanks for the info on the financing. I don't even like the name of it! LOL! Frankly, since it was solicited the way it was, it's tantamount to throwing money in an abyss. Given that, it would be helpful if there were some sort of disclaimer about investing provided. I didn't see anything on that site, but hopefully those who invested did receive some sort of notice explaining the risk they were taking on.

Oh, and I think bccmee is involved in PR or promotion of some sort, but I had forgotten that you are as well. Thanks for the reminder. :D

Tully said...

I'd also like to thank you for keeping us up to date in this matter, Nat. I agree with what Sue said in her first post. Mike never did get anything in writing, namely a contract. I just assumed that he was on board- officially. This was never the case, and I believe that we were misled by the hype.
I couldn't get into Mike's evening chat either, and I was quite frustrated with trying.
I don't know if I'll continue to follow the film's progress or not. To be honest, Richard was the only reason I was interested. I'm looking forward to Spooks 9, Strike Back and his lovely voice on the radio series that airs in a few days. Those should keep me happy for awhile:)

bZirk said...

Yep, thank you, Nat. I honestly didn't want to spend time on the chat, but I really appreciate that you and others did.

@Rob said...

Venetia! I can't wait!!! I have it on pre-order. I love, love, love Sylvestor and listen to it over and over again.

bZirk -- I got nothing but love for ya. You gave me my screen name. :) I just didn't want to get mixed up with that "other" pr person...us pr people get enough of a bad wrap as it is!

I want to clarify one thing -- it is not uncommon to attach an actor to get funding from real investors or lure producers on board. I do not condone having fans invest in a film.

!

Twinkling Moon said...

Wow! I feel like a bad RA fan, because quite frankly, I don't care. As has been mentioned, RA had never signed a contract so I never thougt of it as an RA project; I never was enthusiastic about the film anyway so to me it's no big deal.

I wish RA all the best in all his projects, and most likely will watch them. but I rarely become interested in projects simply because someone is attached to them. The project itself must interest me.

Longhairedtoad said...

Thanks for this updated info. I'm not embarrassed to say the only reason I was interested in "Charlie" was because of Richard. The chance to see him on the big screen was the draw.

I am sorry things couldn't work out and that Richard will not be a part of it. There were already so many inconsistencies and different news reports on why it was delayed; lack of financial backing at first and Richard's schedule for another.

At least Richard is busy working and that is good enough news for me. I am relying on fate, that RA wasn't meant to be a part of this. Hopefully another role will show and one day we will see him on the big screen. As Richard the III possibly? It will just take a little while longer to happen.

Red Shoe Artist said...

As long as he keeps working in general I'm happy

bZirk said...

Oh, I have great affection for you, @rob, and yeah, I'm glad I don't have to call you Anon @ 2:10 anymore (or were you Anon @ 2:09?) :D

As for luring serious investors or producers, I understand attaching a name can effect that, so it can make business sense to do it. It was only the fan solicitation that I had qualms about.

Frankly, my investment in Richard Armitage is mostly sitting on the shelves near my tv and also on my desk. At least my cash investment. My time investment can't be calculated. LOL!

Oh, and I've been playing Sylvester a lot, and I normally don't like books like that -- Regency romance nor audiobooks. But I'm changing my mind. :D

Twinkling Moon said...

@bZirk,

Honey, you said it best!

"Frankly, my investment in Richard Armitage is mostly sitting on the shelves near my tv and also on my desk. At least my cash investment. My time investment can't be calculated. LOL!"

I think that's probably true for most of us :)

bZirk said...

Oh, dang. I missed the chance to say priceless. :D

Skully said...

I HAVE A SUGGESTION! A solution to this quandary, if you will. A good friend of mine is working on a script/film right now that, coincidentally, is also set in WWII in Italy (seriously!). It won't be as long as a 10 week shoot. It hasn't been cast yet.... are you with me? ;) Different film, same uniform! It's low budget - so I imagine a crew made up of Armitage Army volunteers who are prepared to work for free in exchange for RA gawking opportunities, could be a viable option!

Downside... no way in hell this production could afford RA!

Rup said...

"Q - Did Richard understand and was he disappointed?
MO - "I can't comment on how Richard feels."

I am sure this comment can be ascribed to the fact that Mike O had invested a lot of emotional and psychological energy in Richard playing Charlie. I am sure he must be feeling a bit of betrayal at Richard pulling out/not being able to make it / putting his TV jobs ahead of Charlie etc. I know Richard did not commit to the role and Mike O may not have the financing, but still not having Richard must cause some pain.

jtmh said...

bzirk - what do you mean by bccmee deleting her account. She still is on the charlie forum. I am sorry for being all confused having just read this news

mulubinba said...

I've just come home from work so am really late in commenting here.

I have a daughter training in the industry and have been running all the strategies used right from the start of this film proposal past her. She got info from her lecturers in the arts and I had a comment from an indie film maker on my blog. It was felt unanimously that until everything is finalised legally, cast members should not be publicized. The "subject to contract" clause beside RA's name should have been enough to warn fans but even as late as yesterday people were talking on C19 as if this movie was a done deal for RA. The other RA forums even had boards dedicated to the movie. At no time did RA or his team ever even mention the name of the movie - it all came from MO. I never felt comfortable about the way the fans were recruited to support this movie and I hope many of them are not too upset.

BTW, jtmh - lovely to see you posting here!! You have been missed.

endorwitch said...

i dont know why there is such negativity going on. i havent been hangng about in the fandom since December when my computer died so maybe stuff has been happening that i dont know about, but the Charlie site ALWAYS said that RA was going to appear subject to availability. SO any investors were taking a risk if they were expecting RA to definately be in i. Also back when i joined the Charlie forum I asked about the investing and they were accepting amounts as small as $10. I didnt invest because i am a lazy bum but i did think about it. Charlie sounds like an interesting film so if it gets made then I will be happy to see. I am disappointed Our Man isnt in it anymore but as long as RA is out there working I am happy.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

I'm just disappointed. I would have loved Richard as Charlie. I didn't follow the forum regularly but I didn't like the idea of soliciting funds from RA's fans. That was something which deeply bothered me. Then, now I'm even more bothered by that fact. I can't wait to discover Richard's future plans and projects, now!

Joan Crenshaw said...

I recall Mike telling people that they could not use Richard's image as Charlie on the forum because he was not yet contractually obligated.

I am surprised at bccmee pulling her account at AA because she was VERY active over there till the Charlie forum opened. She managed to get right next to Mike quickly so perhaps she has leveraged her PR background to work that means she needs to get off the AA forum? That was not meant as a criticism of her; if she is indeed in PR, it's her job to do these things well.

My personal opinion is that I don't care what work Richard does, as long as he works steadily. A film would have been nice, but maybe someday soon. Spooks and Strike Back, plus the voiceover work and reading makes me quite happy.

Mike was very generous with his time in answering questions and participating with the women on the board. But in return he DID secure some of his financing --was that unfair of him? I don't think so as he was VERY upfront at all times about Richard not being signed. I wish him well and will still follow the progress of the film because it interests me. But I was rarely on the Charlie Forum. Too much else going on.

Skully, love the idea of an all-volunteer fim crew. Count me in. I retire next year and will ahppily come spend 10 weeks in Italy with your fantasy film crew.

Myrtle said...

Uh, my brain is hurting after reading all those comments. Interesting though, as I don't have a clue about the internal workings of the film industry. I was looking forward to 'Charlie' but aslong as the 'handsome one' is in work and on our screens in some form, I am a happy girly. I am longing for the Richard 111 production, unfortunately RA may be slightly to old to play the lead, but I am sure he could have another role? It will be fun discovering what his new plans are!

Sue said...

I think if all the finances for the making of Charlie had been in place Richard would have cleared his desk of other projects and made a 10 week time slot available. However he could easily have made a 10 week time slot available, turning down financially luctrative work for the BBC/SKY, only to discover that the film was later cancelled through lack of money. This would have ended up with Richard losing definite work elsewhere, the end result only to be a 10 week unpaid work gap. No actor will take that risk. If other work has been offered (such as Strike Back)then I don't blame Richard for accepting the work and putting Charlie on the back burner. Mike Ogden was still stratching around for DVD deals with Sky up until a couple of weeks ago which means he is still looking for investors, not a good sign in my view. No, Richard is better off out of this one I believe.

What happened about the stage play mentioned anyway?

Tully said...

I think Sue is spot on once again.
Best of luck to Richard, as always.
That's all:)

bZirk said...

@Sue,

No question that a bird in hand...

I'm just happy he's always got one in hand. :D

@jtmh,

Good to "see" you.

I was referring to bccmee's AA and C19 accounts. I'm not bothered by her deleting them other than I enjoyed talking to her. Oh, and I didn't necessarily think anything "nefarious" was going on. I just wondered about her and what was up with her Charlie connection. Frankly, if she is having some success in her field, I'm glad. I hope she comes back and updates.

Frankly, I was never all that into the Charlie movie other than thinking, "Alright! Maybe a film role for Richard and a lead!" I only looked at the forum a couple of times out of my cussed curiosity, and once it was satisfied, I didn't spend anymore time there.

To be candid, the best thing that came out of my introduction to the movie was becoming aware of Lara Fabian's talent. Ohmygosh! she is a fantastic singer! So I'm glad for having heard about the movie simply because of her.

Okay, that was probably more than you wanted to know, but this entry is mostly to everyone in general.

Myrtle said...

I assume Lara is still invloved in the Charlie film??? she certainly does have a great voice.

Anonymous said...

I invested in the film purely because I wanted to help get what seemed like a good role for Richard off the ground.

I am very disappointed that it won't happen with Richard and although I wish the movie well and will follow its progress, even a return on my money would not take the disappointment away when I see someone else in the role.

This outcome and no movie at all was something I was prepared for, and I was aware I was taking things on trust, including RA's participation. I knew my investment would quite likely end up a write off but my hoped for outcome made the risk worth it for me.

I approached Mike about the possibility of whether small investments or donations could help in any way before the investment option arose on the forum, so he never solicited me in any way. It ended up an investment but I always thought it would most likely be a donation.

jtmh said...

thank you everyone for the welcome back:-)!

Missed you all too and as you can see, could not stay away from RA world for long!

Sue said...

It seems Richard has done yet another audio book and narrated a programme on the British Channel four TV network, which aired last night (and I missed!). This means that when the filming of Charlie was put back earlier this year it certainly wasn't due to Richard wanting a break. It was obviously due to being offered voiceover work. Personally I believe Mike Ogden was still fannying about trying to raise finances for the film and so Richard quite rightly deferred signing any contract. There probably wasn't any money to pay him in the Charlie kitty anyway.

Here's a link to the YouTube clip Too Poor for Posh School which Richard narrated:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m598b6zbiyQ

and here's the US Amazon link to the new Georgette Heyer audio book read by Richard:

http://www.amazon.com/Convenient-Marriage-Georgette-Heyer/dp/1843794411/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268396273&sr=8-1

Joan Crenshaw said...

Perhaps voiceover work and an audio book were relaxing enough and done close enough to home to be an enjoyable part of a break? I travelled a LOT from 2005 well into 2007, though not half of what Richard has done since shooting began on RH. Going to work from my own home WAS a break.

I can't see how you can say with authority that it "certainly wasn't due to Richard wanting a break."

My opinion only.

bZirk said...

I share your opinion. My downtime doesn't look like downtime to most others.

TheJoker said...

Like many others commenting here and on other forums I was neither surprised nor disappointed at the news. I'm glad I didn't invest though. I was not in the least bit comfortable with what I saw as blatant profiteering on MO's part. That's not to say that MO deliberately set out to take advantage of the fans, I just think he saw an opportunity and took it. Like someone further up these comments has said it's not really the done thing to announce an actor is taking part in something before they've actually signed for it. Maybe precisely for this reason. MO didn't just break that 'rule', he stomped all over it. Why? Because he's producing his first feature film and will almost certainly do anything to get it made. My consideration now is the people who did choose to invest on the basis that they firmly believed RA was going to be in the film. I hope they're not too disappointed and that they still feel they're part of something interesting and exciting, if in fact, it does get made.

I don't think for one moment that the investment of the fans was the make or break in getting the film made. But I do think having an actor with a significant and highly active fan base involved in the project was important to it getting made. There is no doubt in my mind if MO had managed to get Richard to sign a contract the level of investment from the fans would have been higher. From what I've been told MO was approached by fans asking specifically about investment opportunities and not the other way round. I'm not comfortable with the way he's gone about this business but I do appreciate he did not start the ball rolling on this.

The film did sound interesting and if it does get made I will watch it. But it's only fair to say I'm not nearly as interested in the project as I would be if Richard was involved.

I guess the reason why some of the forums had boards specifically for the project was as much about being organised as it was about Richard. At one time there were several threads on each of the boards dedicated to the project, a board for the project acts as a place to keep them organised.