September 2, 2010

Richard Armitage: Spooks 9 BBC Interview + Upcoming TV Narration & Radio 3's Words & Music

Hooray! The long RA drought period is finally over.  Following news provided by RA Net on Twitter -  

1)  Richard will be  narrating Surgery School starting Sept. 6..three episodes.
                        2)  He will also be doing Words and Music, Radio 3 Sept 12 (see link below)
..Quote:   Poetry, prose and music recording and evoking the movement of a city day, with readings by Emilia Fox and Richard Armitage. The sequence takes as its departure point the silent 'city symphony' documentaries of the 1920s, from Walter Ruttmann's Berlin: Symphony of a Great City to Dziga Vertov's The Man with a Movie Camera, which were among the first documentaries to take the city as both character and subject. The beauty, the energy, and the strange terror of city life, are evoked here by poets and authors across time, from Swift, Dickens and Wordsworth to TS Eliot, Virginia Woolf and William Carlos Williams. Music includes Gershwin, Varese, Byrd, Steve Reich and Charles Ives.

RAnetdotcom: Richard Armitage will be on Radio 3 Sun 12 Sept 10.45pm,
UK & overseas can listen here:
about 1 hour ago via web
A link was posted on Twitter to Sophia Myles website w/pix of her, Lucas & Harry.  Apparently Mr North is again tasked w/getting entangled w/a foxy lady...tough job but someone has to do it:) 
RA interview follows- (Day and time for Spooks to be confirmed by BBC)  

From the BBC website:  >As award-winning spy drama Spooks returns to BBC One this autumn for its ninth series, Richard Armitage, who plays MI5's Lucas North, tells Programme Information what's in store.

What can viewers expect from the new series of Spooks?

This year the storylines feel very politically current but we also learn a lot more about the team. Who are these people, what lies beneath the surface, who are they true to, what secrets do they hide in order to do their jobs? Deception and betrayal are key. Of course there are also exciting and intriguing stories of the week but the overall series arc really unravels the character of Lucas North and blows his whole world apart. His loyalty and his future at MI5 are all under the microscope.

How does Ros's death affect Lucas and the rest of the team?

Ros's death has rocked everyone's world. The feeling is that if someone as skilled as Ros can go down, then no one is safe. It has made everyone really question what it means and what price can be paid doing the job. On a practical level it leaves Harry with no choice but to make Lucas head of Section D. Lucas has longed for Harry's trust and acceptance but he has received it by default and it is bittersweet.

What's it been like working with new actors/characters? Has it made you feel like one of the old school?

The series opens with the introduction of four new characters: Beth Bailey and Dimitri Levendis, played by Sophia Myles and Max Brown; a new Home Secretary played by Simon Russell Beale; and Vaughn, a character from Lucas's past, played by Iain Glen. I feel a bit like the older generation as it feels like a new "'super spook generation" has come on board. Dimitri is ex-SBS, and Beth comes from a background in private security, a "mercenary" as Lucas puts it. He presses Harry to allow him to assemble this team. Dimitri is solid, useful and youthful but Beth is a bit of a liability. Viewers will have to wait and see if she becomes a member of Section D or not. 
(no comment - thoughts aplenty:)

Vaughn turns up from Lucas's past. What does he want? How does it affect Lucas?

It's been 15 years since Lucas last saw Vaughn and, when they meet, Vaughn has a suitcase which contains an assortment of material from Lucas's life prior to joining MI5. Lucas finds a photograph of a girl, Maya – his old girlfriend. It is the beginning of a journey which Vaughn will control and it takes Lucas to the very edge. 
("Vaughn has a suitcase which contains an assortment of material from Lucas's life prior to joining MI5" - O.K. we know he was in school at that time.  Was he an integral part of a politcally extreme student group, and are the papers (written by Lucas)the group's radical manifesto?  Another quote: "it takes Lucas to the very edge" - and oh how very much he enjoys being in that location with a character.

Maya is Lucas's first love; a woman he had to leave just as their life together was beginning. Some 15 years ago, Lucas vanished from Maya's life; one day he was there and the next he was gone. Just like a spook. He wants her back and she is the key to who Lucas truly is. 
("he wants her back" - uh oh - here we go again...will it be a Sarah revisited situation?  We know how that went...many fans are still recovering from the fallout:)  OML's ears are probably twitching right now. haha)

A lot of the scenes in Spooks are filmed in public spaces in London such as train stations, underground stations and in the streets. How do people react to you and the others running through London with a film crew in tow?

Most of the time we try to be as inconspicuous as possible which means working with long lenses so the cameras can be quite far away for the initial master shots, but can also punch in quite tight, rather like a surveillance camera. It's a Spooks trademark and a focus-puller's nightmare! But it gives us the chance to get two or three takes when no one realises that we are filming. I feel like the "real deal", trying not to draw attention to myself and trying not to catch anybody's eye. We often have to rehearse in another location and then walk out into a crowded area and just go for it. We work on hand signals from the First AD (assistant director) so they don't call "action" really loudly.

It's great if something big is going to happen, like a fight, a chase or an arrest, because you get real reactions – of course, if guns are being used, or bomb threats depicted, we have to put up massive signs telling everyone we are filming! It makes me realise how fast London is; no one really hangs around. Most people see what we are doing but rarely have time to stop. I think Spooks really puts London on film in an edgy, contemporary way. Not just the iconic glamorous locations, but the urban and industrial side to London, which normally one tries to avoid but is a designer's dream.

Lucas has lots of tattoos. What do they represent and do you like them?

I love them – it is a literal layer. Lucas has always had many layers and this year we go very deep into who he is. I love that his prison history has been etched onto his skin and they can be revealed to remind the audience that his past is cluttered with complications. Each one has a specific meaning from a specific period in his past. The most prominent is the William Blake picture, Urizen, on his chest. It depicts God as the architect and it is a reminder to Lucas he may not be able to control or construct his own destiny and that he will always be at the mercy of God. 
(**this is the comment that gave me most reason to pause in the entire interview.  The only other time Lucas mentioned anything with a religious connotation(that comes to mind), was in S7 when he told the teen under his protection that his father(Lucas's) was a Methodist minister.  Very interesting for him to say Lucas  believed he "will always be at the mercy of God."  See Blake painting below.

The tattoos also help me avoid the "gratuitous torso shot" as they take about two hours to put on, so "getting my kit off" has to be carefully planned!!!<
(teehee...he has his priorities - we have ours;)   The slow tease is always more effective anyway)
Art appreciation - in depth study(perhaps a stretch:) of the Wm Blake tattoo that RA mentioned.  Blake is believed to have used Masonic symbolism in his paintings and illustrations.  His painting below was the design prototype for the chest tattoo.  It took some time to find due to the fact Blake was a very prolific artist.

(Lucas in ep 1 of Spooks7 was so scrawny that it was almost painful to watch.  Thankfully in brief time chocolate donuts came to the rescue..)
William Blake, The Ancient of Days, 1794. This illustration by Blake depicts Urizen, a being of reason and logic, creating the world. 

for those who would enjoy listening to a few of Mr Mellifluous Voice's voiceovers ...


Musa said...

Hi RicRAr :)

Isn't the interview with RA fascinating. He looks so very serious in the photos. I'm so intrigued about the story for Lucas, and also a bit nervous about his fate. I do find a lot to consider in what he says about the meaning of his tattoos and the connection between Lucas and Blake's Urizen. I did find the text of Blake's Book of Urizen (yes, not just the painting involved here in the meaning for Lucas I think).
Good vs Evil...Why does Vaughn take Lucas to the "very edge"? You are right, I'm sure RA was enjoying every minute of it. Looking forward to more PR for Spooks!

Ricrar said...

Hi Musa, while hunting for the above Blake painting, I'd read portions of his imaginative religious beliefs. Most of it sounded like a modern day fantasy - not nearly as entertaining as Geo Martin's saga but surreal indeed.

Apparently Vaughn was involved w/both Lucas & his former lover...perhaps in a radical student group? Why is the couple held captive at sea? And why was Lucas involved in that violently explosive scene in a 'supposed' exotic location(the one that was filmed a few wks ago in the courtyard of a UK townhall:)

Fortunately, the answers to so many questions are only a month away. Yippee!

Musa said...

I also wonder about the scene that was filmed a few weeks ago. A different look for Lucas I thought???

By the way, much thanks for the "gratuitous torso shots" of Lucas :)

Ricrar said...

Definitely my pleasure. hehe Good to see you were making use of the material for a comparison study of Blake's work & agent North's tattoo.*laughs* It's always amusing to observe a certain % of RA's followers constantly taking great pains to put an intellectual spin on their eye candy enjoyment. :)

Had to chuckle at Richard's recent frankness about avoiding excessive shirtless scenes. Might there be behind-the-scenes production voices working in our best interest in that regard? haha He'd have no need of a wardrobe if they made those decisions based on fan preferences;)

Anonymous said...

Not sure if you are refering to the pics taken form fans were he was shooting an explosion and was all covered in dust. That scene is supposed to be 1995, in another country (I think an African country).

Don't know if it is only me but in that pic I think Lucas is trying to convey something. Other shots I see "I'm capable and ace Spook" and in this one is something like a knowing look in his eyes...Maybe I'm just influenced by spoilers of this new season.

OML :)

Ricrar said...

Interesting observation about the knowing look in his eyes, OML.

During one of RA's pre-SB interviews he was asked to compare Lucas & Porter. His reply had the ring of an actor who had already moved on in his mind to greener pastures. He said something to the effect that John Porter could run circles around Lucas North when it comes to physical endurance & other martial arts, including steely determination in the face of evil.

Richard's answer to that particular question impressed me as a type of closure in his mind for the luscious Lucas North character. We'll shortly discover if that's indeed the case.

Musa said...

I think I interpreted what he said about Lucas and Porter a bit differently. Maybe it's the way I see both characters. I think Lucas is a more cerebral character, more intellectual character, a man of many and varied interests and knowledge (his fascination with William Blake for example). Porter is a man of action, a career soldier, trained to be calm in the face of physical danger, a man of war. I think what RA meant was that by the nature of their different professions and training, and personalities, Porter would be more physically fit and strong of body - but maybe Lucas would be stronger of mind.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Musa, Lucas is the strategy side while Porter is more the action side of say, MI6.

Gosh, even as I have read some spoilers I'm not sure what to expect from Lucas character...


Ricrar said...

Well, I'd definitely agree more with both your assessments that Lucas is the 'stronger of mind' if he had demonstrated a firmer resistance to his Russian interrogator. The latter didn't impress me as all that profound yet my favorite RA character seemed to squirm in his presence. Porter didn't flinch mentally, emotionally (or physically) when his torturers pulled out all the stops.

Agreed Lucas's personal style is more subtle, polished than John's but that alone, at least to me, doesn't signify a higher quality mind. Can't the latter be demonstrated in multi-faceted ways?

When threatened, Porter's cerebral capabilities instantly react like a high-powered computer---gathering numerous threads of knowledge, training, instincts and then speedily translating the information into effective action to neutralize the threat.

Suppose it's a question of the debatable topic 'what actually constitutes a finer mind?' In the grand scheme of things, aren't artistic/philosophic/worldly nuances simply a few ingredients of the delectable complex stew recipe that ultimately creates a fine mind? Doesn't an overabundance of a certain type of knowledge often actually stunt the mind and lead to mental gridlock?

The perfect mind & man to me is one that demonstrates a complex mix of the cerebral plus tactile senses.
*starting to melt here and it's still early in the morning* hahaha

Actually, on a personal note, the rationalizing above might reflect the fact I've already moved on as well - finding reasons to swoon over Porter at least as strongly as I had over the spook I often referred to as a modern-day knight, luscious Lucas North.

Musa said...

I didn't mean that Porter is not highly intelligent, I think he is. But he's more instinctual and Lucas more intellectual. I guess I don't feel I have to give up one character, Lucas, to also love another, Porter. But, as a personal preference, if I was forced to chose between being with one or another man, I would chose Lucas. After all they are both played by Richard Armitage - who is both intellectual and instinctual-and beautiful- LOL. I think it's a credit to RA's acting ability that he can create characters that we as the audience can feel are different "people". That's quite amazing really, if you look at all the characters he has played, how he changes not only as a character, but even physically. Bottom line for me, I hope we get to see both Lucas and Porter for quite some time :)

Ricrar said...

Musa, it would be ideal if it's possible to enjoy both characters indefinitely, but how can RA possibly have time to film 10eps of SB2 plus Spooks10 when we consider the fact it took 5mos to shoot the 6eps of SB1?

Upon reflection, part of my moving on process to the Porter character could easily also reflect the good vs evil tangent you mentioned with reference to Blake. To me, those who cannot see clearly in today's battle w/Islamic radicalism which side represents good & which commits evil on a daily basis, have obviously clouded their moral judgement & code with pedantic excesses.

Therefore, Porter supports my belief that it's wise to know when a line must be drawn in the sand & notice given to those who kill innocents in the name of their fanatic cause.

Lucas's moral compass(at least in S8) lacks as clear direction as John's. Agent North seemed personally conflicted in that regard for some mysterious reason. Will we learn why in Spooks9? Hope so:)

In Spooks7 Lucas's attitude towards today's world-wide struggle with terrorism was clearly defined. Particularly so when he met his MI5 peer who expressed concern for the fate of a young jihadist he'd lived with undercover. Lucas replied to the effect "you realize he'd blow up both you & me without hesitation if given orders to do so?". The other man said "yes." Lucas: "then he'll get what he deserves."

That type of moral clarity was not nearly as evident in Lucas8...perhaps his love for Sarah had damaged his compass:) OML's ears are twitching again - someone mentioned Sarah. hehehe

Anonymous said...

I think you can't really compare the reaction fo Lucas in front of his capturer with Porter in front of his. Lucas has been physically and psicologically tortured for 8 years while Porter only a couple of days, so is understandable you see the first breaking a little (and IMO it was at the end of everything when he goes back to his aparment almost numb)while the other seems uneffected and in control.

Porter is as intelligent and capable, I meant Porter job description and training is more action driven while Lucas is more intellectual as Musa said.
When JP was 'reactivated' to come back even if he kept himself training, had to pass physical tests while Lucas had to demostrate he still had his spy-abilities.

OML :)

Ricrar said...

It's true, OML, that Lucas's job description is less physically demanding(unless, that is, he's required to gain 'pillow talk' intelligence:) than John's; but the latter's mental skills must remain finely tuned at all times in order to simply stay alive.

Of course, LN has the luxury of spending a great deal of his professional time in comfy MI5 offices, which could ascribe to him the labels cerebral/intellectual to a greater degree than the more instinctual/sensually aware Porter.

True test for me would be how aware ea man is of real-time geo-political events. Yes, Lucas has a firmer handle on that aspect, therefore leading to more interesting conversations - while John's experience is more practical, hands on so to speak. So therefore, we can spend early evening deeply engrossed in a current affairs discussion w/agent North - then retire to the boudoir with the more active oriented & passionate Porter.
Fine plan - let's do it! ;) haha

Background music....sweet dreams are made of the world & the.....

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work. general health