Oct 25, 2010

The Fame Game

About this time a year ago, I held a poll asking blog
readers to vote whether or not they'd like Richard to "go Hollywood,"
or in other words, appear in blockbuster movies and become better known.

You can see the original results post HERE, but to sum it up, these were the results:
Mixed Feelings: 44%
Yes- I want to see RA on the big screen: 30%
No- I'd prefer BBC/low-key roles: 25%

I wonder if the results would change if I asked the same poll question now
that RA is bound to become more popular with the news of his casting in "The Hobbit."

Last Friday, those of us who opened Yahoo's homepage had this image
plastered on our screens with a link to THIS page.
Welcome to Hollywood publicity, Richard.

Several RA buddies of mine have expressed concern or at least mixed feelings
about Richard's biggest break.  (Suddenly he may not be such a novelty outside of Britain
and therefore, not feel like he's "our" secret to share with others.  Will popularity taint him?  Etc.) 
If you feel like this, I can see your point of view.  However, I am thrilled by this great opportunity
Richard has been given (partially because I've been excited to see this movie before knowing of RA's
involvement) and to possibly ease your mind, here are a few of my thoughts on the subject: 

First of all, one thing we all love about RA is that he seems to have
his head on his shoulders.  He's not some naive, 19 year-old spring chicken making his
first film.  I doubt we'll see his face appear on tabloids due to his buck-wild antics
caused by fame-induced craziness.  (I may be wrong since I don't know the guy personally, but
he just doesn't seem like the type.)  Secondly, Thorin the dwarf isn't some teen crush heartthrob.
(Although maybe some of you will suddenly think dwarfs are hot.)  This is a character role,
where Richard will be covered in a big costume and beard, causing him to use some of his best assets
(his voice and eyes) to express emotion.  He may even wear tons of makeup to help him look older,
so I wonder if non-Tolkien movie buffs will even recognize him off screen?

My hope is that Richard gains enough limelight and credit for this upcoming role
to be able to pursue any other role he'll want in the future.  I'd love it if he specialized in character roles,
keeping him busy and a familiar face in the public eye... yet not overly exposed.  Kind of like Paul Bettany
I think he's a wonderful actor, handsome, and have seen him in tons of movies (all sorts of genres and
characters) yet he's not really a household name and I've never seen him on a tabloid.

Anyhoo, those are just my 2 cents.
What are your thoughts on the subject?


Regina Phalange said...

I'm so excited for him! What a great opportunity for him. I mean yes, I'm a little nervous about how popular he'll get because of The Hobbit but at the same time, he deserves the recognition/spotlight! Maybe this role will give him more options in the future. yay for Richard!

Myrtle said...

I don't think we need worry. Of course we don't 'know' RA, but I agree Nat, from what we see and hear, he appears to be a very grounded individual, who will take this in his stride.

He deserves whatever fame and fortune comes his way and we can all take great pride and joy watching the path his career takes.

As this Blog demonstrates, the world is a small enough place for us all to share and admire this wonderful man.

MillyMe said...

I like the fact that Peter Jackson cast British/Irish/New Zealand actors in the main roles, so that there's a feeling of freshness about The Hobbit, although the actors are familiar to those that watch British tv.

Richard deserves every success and I imagine that it will be just as exciting watching his career after The Hobbit as before, because he's an actor who works hard and challenges himself and never rests on his laurels! He loves his craft and I think he will always pursue roles that will further his development as an actor.

Nat, I agree that he is so grounded as a person that I'm sure he won't let whatever fame and fortune come his way spoil him!

missy said...

I for one am very excited that he has been cast! For one, it is a fantastic opportunity for him, this is a HUGE movie, with a massive budget, and he gets to work with Sir Peter Jackson!! The experience of working with such a director must be fantastic for his career, and the contacts he can get from it all.

Now, I am not a LOTR fan (I know, shame on me), but... I do live in Wellington, NZ, and all going well with the WB execs tomorrow, it will be the base for the movie, and the actors!! Maybe I will run into him in the supermarket... *sigh* :)

Traxy said...

I'll be one of them fence-sitters. I think this is a great opportunity for advancing his career. Being disguised by the beard, he's not going to get admirers from an "OMG he's GOWGEOUS!" point of view (although those of us who are familiar with him will of course go "OMG that's one smoulderingly hot dwarf!") but rather, he'll be judged on his acting merits. Which is great! Those eyes can express what a thousand words struggle to, and we'll still have The Voice. He'll get to act and get people noticing him for his acting skills, and get new fans because of that. (Won't some of them be surprised when they realise that he's 6'2" and devastatingly handsome?) It's likely to get him more, and bigger, roles as well, so that's great!

My comment about him landing this role was that I feel an odd sense of pride and trepidation. I'm really proud that he's got a big role in a movie that people all over the world are wanting to see, and are GOING to see. "Our" Richard is going to be a "proper" star, and get all the recognition for his acting that he deserves and has worked so hard for. The trepidation part is what might (and is likely) to come with it. That he won't be "our" Richard so much ... well, it doesn't bother me that much, I see it as we gain more friends, as a lot more people will discover him and fall hopelessly into fandom like the rest of us.

It's more that he's a private person and that increasing fame is going to lead to more publicity, which he might not be too keen on, and also, I'm worried because increased fandom will mean he'll have more nutters after him as well. Not all of us are well-behaved and stick to blogging about Thornton's cravats, and dream about what it would be like to meet him and make tribute cartoons and review the latest Spooks episodes and such. There is also the underwear-sending fraction of us (although I hesitate to use the word "us" as I don't wish to associate with them), and I can see that getting worse. So for his sake, I'm a bit cautious. He's old enough to look after himself, certainly, but ... he's going to have to get a lot thicker-skinned, because being a fairly successful Leicestershire lad on the BBC is miles away from being a fairly successful Leicestershire lad in Hollywood. If you know what I mean?

Unknown said...

I'm quite excited to see RA "go Hollywood" in a role like this. The Hobbit isn't a "typical" action picture or something like that (that is often easily forgettable)...thanks to Peter Jackson & team's brilliant work on LOTR, and the built-in Tolkien fan base, these films are sure to last, if that makes sense. So to see him in a role like this and where it might lead? I'm thrilled. :) And good call likening him to Paul Bettany...I could totally see that.

cobalt60 said...

I don't really put Peter Jackson and "Go Hollywood" in the same sentence. Jackson makes character films without much of the pomp and circumstance I think of as Hollywood. RA is a true character actor and I am excited about this role. Somehow I put him and Colin Firth in some of the same roles.:p

cobalt60 said...

Opps I fogot to add that his Captain America movie is what I think of as Hollywood. Except that he is playing the bad guy in that one!!

violet8886 said...

I am with Traxy...The more "international" exposure he gets the less privacy.But who knows? Sean Bean was in the Lord of the Rings films and after that he still really didn't get recognized or bothered too much in America.I just hope that he doesn't change his essential self after being in too many Hollywood films.Yanks appreciate British actors cos' they are different...Nice, Kind, rugged, polite, handsome...I don't want him to "go Hollywood" personality-wise...

I remember him saying in an interview, the last time he was trying to get roles in Hollywood some years back, when he went to shake the hand of a director one of the director's assistants slapped Richard's hand and said the director doesn't shake hands or something like that...Richard was taken aback by that and rightly so...Richard has to get a thick skin about Hollywood cos' of people like that..I just don't want him to become like that..We have enough rude people...and we don't want Richard to lose his wonderful Britishness...

diveknit said...

I don't think we have to worry about RA losing his way (even though I don't know him) - he doesn't seem the party guy and he keeps a low profile in general. Even in Hollywood, the big starts who don't want to be in the lime light, actually are very little in the lime light. So I do think and hope he will be fine.

I am very excited for him though and for us, because I am hoping that this means we will see more of him and his great talent.

pi said...

Just from reading these comments I think we see (I certainly do)RA as a beacon of light and decency in a progressively artificial and soulless world. He's got divine gifts and he seems a decent human being. It would be a shame for his light to dim in some manner, a manner we fear but can't articulate. He, in a way, is us.

Unfortunately, we don't know how his mind works when it comes to motives and personal goals, so that creates some anxiety. I think he will manage better than we. :)

My fear is that any genuine responses from him will fade over time and be taken over by a certain glibness. Whether protective or not, I would find that dismaying.

Other than that, I am SO PLEASED for him!

Anonymous said...

I am in the camp of those who don't think we have to worry about RA losing his way. He is old enough and has enough experience of the fickle acting world to look after himself.

We know heis a private person and that increasing fame is going to lead to more publicity, which he might not be wildly enthusiastic about, but he knows it comes with the territory after perhaps the initial period of adjustment because he had worked ‘under the radar for some years.’ The evidence suggests that he is becoming more and more assured in dealing with it. I think in general, stars who don't wish to be in the lime light, actually manage to go about their lives and keep out of the limelight. I think, too, that we have some evidence of his becoming ‘thicker-skinned,’ if that is the right term, by his articulating in interviews his awareness that he will do work his fans don't like and they have to accept that. Also his responses to the inevitable questions about his ‘Army’ suggests his greater assurance in this area, I feel.

Thorin the dwarf isn't a heartthrob role, it’s a character role, which I think Mr Armitage has probably hankered after for some time: a role where his look are irrelevant and he can flex his acting muscles in a different way. The evidence suggests an actor who likes to challenge himself and one who will, as far as he can, pursue diversity in roles and ones he feels will assist and further his development as an actor. As Thorin, he'll be judged on his acting merits, not his looks or appearance, and as someone has remarked it will be a surprise to those who find him interesting because of that role, to find out that in actuality this man is tall, dark and very handsome!

@Rob said...

Waay more happy than sad, but it is a still bit bittersweet. I nearly fell over when I opened Yahoo and there was RA!!!

For him, I think it will mean freedom to explore roles that he really wants, instead of taking things that are offered. Creativly and $ it will be great. Althou, once he's unleashed on a large group of women, watch out!!! I doubt he'll fly under the radar for too much longer.

The bittersweet part is that we have what I consider a nice community of women (maybe there are a few men :) ) and I hope that it stays nice and friendly. I have been a fan since the beginning, but only in the last year started visiting the fan sites and blogs --you got me hooked Nat. And I enjoy, the community.

Joan Crenshaw said...

The more thought I have given to this -- and yes, I have given it quite a bit -- the more I think about Colin Firth who came to the attention of women worldwide in "Pride and Prejudice," yet managed to maintain a normal life combined with a successful career. HUGE fame was very hard on Russell Crowe because he bought into the perks and hated the publicity. From what we have seen of Richard (and of course we do not know him), he seems more Colin Firth than Russell Crowe.

But on the other hand, I am so excited for him. Hopefully this will give him choices of work that will take him forward. MAYBE he'll get his Richard III project off the ground as a result of the contacts he makes.

And we can all say we followed his career before it took off.

About the fans -- yes, that too is my concern. We already have some online whose behavior makes me want to suggest high doses of tranquilizers. I come from the beginnings of online fandom when you picked and chose the people you "played" with because it was small and required an actual cash involvement to buy zines, go to small fan gatherings, write or phone friends, and even email (about 10 cents an email). I tend to wander away from online forums like the proboards when the denizens get crazy OR the admins get carried away.

I just get nauseous about women who send him underwear. I couldn't even fathom sending a gift. I do make a donation on his birthday/Christmas BECAUSE THAT I can do as a thank you for the hours of enjoyment his work has brought me and for the friendships I have made as a result. Not to mention the collateral goodies that have come from being his fan: reading Bernard Cornwell, discovering the Sharpe's series and Inspector Lynley, even listening to Georgette Heyer.

That reminds me. Have you all read the Hobbitt? I tried years ago and couldn't get into it. Maybe now...

Violet8886 said...

I just hope that more work for Richard in Hollywood means us Yanks will finally be able to get more of his word by Region 1 NTSC DVDs!!! LOL...So far, much of his work is still on Region 2 DVDs...

kaprekar said...

It's all good. Not worried yet. He is gonna be a big star now!!! Good luck to him.

Anonymous said...

I am excited for RA in another way! He said in the great Volpus interview that his favorite books were the RR Tolkien as a kid, how wonderful to play a part in a book you idolized as a kid! a dream come true for a actor! I think RA has a great head on his shoulders that he will be fine with the new fame, and of course us Yanks will get to see him at the Hollywood parties for this move the Oscars, the Globes, the Screen Actors, with the cast..it will be great!

and excuse the typos...just got back from a long business trip..but did get to listen to RA on the plane...

twinkling moon said...

Must admit, I am one of the ones who had mixed feeling about all of this. I was initially thrilled, because it means a great opportunity for him and the option to explore even more roles. He seems like such a decent guy, that it makes me happy to see him do well because when good things happen to good people, you just can't help but smile :)

But I'm also selfishly concerned that he might "go Hollywood" in his attitude on us. But the more I think about it, there is good reason he won't. He's being "discovered" at an older age, and seems to have tremendous amount of respect for his craft. I just hope that he continues to live in the UK, because I have the impression that those Brits that chose to remain there even after finding Hollywood success, somehow remain more grounded and less show-bizzy. No offense to Americans, as I'm an American myself, LOL!

Like @Rob said, it is a bit bittersweet. I feel like RA was this lovely little gem that was "our" secret, at least on the States-side of things. But now the cat is out of the bag and we have to share him with everyone. Oh goodness! Do I sound like one of those creepy possessive fans, or what?!!!! LOL!

missy said...

@violet8886 I don't think he will have the problem of Sir Peter Jackson not shaking his hand on The Hobbit - he is a very down to earth director, and comes across as very relaxed about things (well except when his movie is threatened completely unfairly by an Australian based union affiliated with the NZ union trying to enter into illegal negotiations - then he was just really angry, upset and hurt). If anything Sir PJ might have an influence on RA, and next thing you know he will be turning up to work in shorts and jandals (thongs or flip flops for those of you who aren't kiwi!). :)

Missy said...

WOOHOO!! The Government have negotiated a deal to keep The Hobbit filming in NZ - RA will be down in my city to film - so excited. I will be on RA watch from January on....

Anonymous said...

I just read that too, Missy...The Hobbit will indeed be filmed in New Zealand..They will be happy cos' that helps with the economy...Maybe someone will catch a photo of Richard with some lovely background scenery...

Anonymous said...

It seems that Thorin may be somewhat of a heartthrob role after all (so says Peter Jackson)...hmmm...I'll believe it when I see it. Also, interestingly, the actor, John Rhys Davies, who played Gimli the Dwarf in the Rings Trilogy is actually 6'1"! I guess with body doubles and CGI they can do anything - I wonder if RA will even be recognizable under all the make-up, prosthetics and hair extensions etc.
I enjoyed the Rings trilogy, despite the violence (it is a battle after all) but the orc's, well, they just freaked me out.
I'm so pleased for RA, this is a wonderful opportunity, and so well deserved.
(Just had a thought - thank g*d RA is not playing an orc! That, I could not watch).

Sue said...

I think that Hollywood Executives may have managed to squeeze a few more concessions by making the decision to film in NZ, very astute, but still a risky strategy and if the unions change their minds this project could still go t*ts up!

I can never quite understand why Richard seems to be so obsessed by what fans will or will not like. I can watch Richard in an acting role and appreciate his characterisations objectively and although it is a good performance, that doesn't mean I like the series/film he may be in simply because he is in it however. I may not like the character, but that doesn't detract from his acting ability. I watch Richard if the programme is something I am interested in and find entertaining, if it isn't then I'm not likely to watch it, simple as that! For instance I'm excited that Richard is in the Hobbit, but I doubt if I will go and see it, not my thing. I didn't buy the audio books he recently did either, definitely not my thing! (Except Lords of the North, which is just my thing, plenty of blood and gore - and laughs!)Strike Back - loved it!Sparkhouse though will always win over N&S as far as I'm concerned. N&S was filmed using different and clever camera angles, lighting, costumes etc. but John Standring was a simple lad and acted by Richard beautifully. Sparkhouse was made on a budget and the casting and quality of acting made all the difference. You can throw as much money as you like at a project but at the end of the day it's the talented actors that will dictate whether it is likely to be successful or not. Richard may one day portray a character I detest but I will appreciate the quality of acting never-the-less, so I'm afraid Richard you really can't win on this one.

Joan Crenshaw said...

I am actually reading "The Hobbit" right now and VERY early in the book, it is stated that hobbits are little people, half our height and smaller than the bearded dwarves. That was cheering.

Sue, I never got the idea Richard had an obsession with what the fans will like. It seemed to me he simply expressed a hope that we would like something he did. But hey, like you, I am just bringing my own filter to something he said.

I WILL go see "The Hobbit," as I will see "Captain America." But that is my choice.