Shortly before FanstRAvaganza started, I elicited comments from a friend. She surprised me by saying, “you haven’t talked much about Richard Armitage.” This comment brought me up short. Well, hadn’t I? I stated this blog would mention him on the way to discussing something else, but surely I must have commented about him. Looking back through the blog I realized I managed to talk about his roles but not about the actor.
I made an audio comment for RAFrenzy’s blog relating how I discovered Richard Armitage. (I suggest you read the entire post if you haven’t, and all the others. Her blog is always fun and interesting.) But I never said what exactly made me a fan. I knew it was more than his looks, talent and feeling he’s a nice guy; many other actors share the same qualities. But I couldn’t properly articulate what made him special. I felt like my mom with her obsession with Laurence Olivier when she exclaimed “I knew!” but couldn’t explain why. I wracked my brains for weeks and finally settled on these qualities.
I love an intelligent actor. This doesn’t mean actors who are smart, but actors who understand their roles and use their talents to best advantage. I’ve seen capable actors turn in inconsistent or flat performances because they appear to not understand or care how their characters inhabit the overall story. If an actor lacks concern, why should I care as a viewer. Simply showing up for a scene, emoting lines with conviction and hoping that’s enough doesn’t suffice for me. I realized RA is an intelligent actor in RH. Guy wasn’t a cardboard baddie because RA created an entire back story for the character which he then inhabited. Because he fleshed out the role in his mind, there was no need to chew the scenery, usually a good sign of poor character concept. He could imbue the slightest gesture or minor line with meaning. Later I learned RA employed this technique in all his roles. He’s also mastered another concept: facial expression can convey meaning before the lines are even uttered; the words are a throwaway. It promotes subtle delivery and draws the viewer in. These factors along with his light/dark approach make him interesting to watch.
I love his eyes. Not just the color and shape (they’re quite beautiful) but what they reflect: intelligence, alertness, humor, kindness, playfulness, a hint of shyness with a dollop of playfulness. Certain people exude more than average charm and appeal that mesmerizes. This charisma blazing from his eyes captivates me. The fact he’s apparently a nice guy based on what he’s said and what others have said about him also shows. I believe the proverb goes “the face is the index of the mind and the eyes are the mirror of the soul.” I like what I see in his.
There was a third quality but it escapes me right now, but that could be fodder for another post. I’m sure it was quite profound and high brow, naturally. Ahem.
[Images courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com and allthingsarmitage.blogspot.com]