February 10, 2011

See Link Above for RA's Part Extracted from Press Conference + Link to Entire Press Conf + Ladies--This Article Confirms Our Fine Taste and Director Jackson's as Well :)

Special Valentine's Day for many RA fans - they've got their Gizzy back...;)
EXCERPT:  Richard Armitage (Thorin) spoke surprisingly little, but when he did he had a notably deep voice, exactly right for Thorin, and real gravitas. He walked into the conference with a kind of testosterone charged lope. I don’t think he’ll have any trouble holding the audience’s attention.

During press conference: >Richard Armitage says he played an elf in a stage production of The Hobbit when he was a child and gandalf was a paper mâché puppet. Says the 3D aspect is like working on Avatar. <
Thank you Musa for this link to the entire press conference...

Thirteen singing dwarves and a very funny Hobbit

February 10th, 2011 by Tehanu
Martin Freeman (Bilbo) and Aidan Turner (Kili) at today's press conference - this cast is a killer combo of wit and good looks.

“Fourteen individuals – and an ensemble.”

Today’s press conference opened with an apology from Peter Jackson, who said he couldn’t be there as he was “under a form of medical house arrest” since being hospitalised with a perforated ulcer last week.

“And to be honest, perhaps it’s just as well. These guys make me laugh so hard that I’d be in danger of popping a stitch or something,” Jackson continued in his statement.

Confirming the truth of that, the cast of 13 dwarves and one hobbit kept up a constant flow of quips and wisecracks throughout the whole press conference. We knew Martin Freeman was funny with a good script – well, he’s hilarious without one as well.

Many fans have been wondering whether 13 dwarves would become a generic mass in the film, or whether they would be fleshed out in the script to have individual personalities.

Dwarf actors William Kirchner and Peter Hambleton spoke on that: “We are thirteen distinct and strong personalities – but we are an ensemble as well”.

Speaking of ensemble, the dwarves confirmed they’d be doing their own singing. “It’s all staying very close to the book – yes, there WILL be singing.”


The dwarves apparently all look very different. Aidan Turner, or Fili, said that they were still experimenting with different amounts of facial hair to define their look. “Facial hair is under review – hence the different beards we’ve got today!” Jed Brophy, or Nori, (who played numerous highly- prostheticised characters in LOTR) said that yes, he [and we presume the others] would be recognisable. “I’m so happy to be me. And I hope to get through this film without dying. Horribly.”

As we saw before in LOTR, the script apparently offers each dwarf a chance to be highly individual, but furthermore, PJ, Fran and Philippa were alert to the quirks and strengths of each actor that became evident as they rehearsed together. So in that sense, the script – and its impact on the characters – is fluid.

Seeing the humour, camaraderie and respect between the actors already, I felt very positive that once again the film makers have picked a group whose synergy will power the appeal of the movie.

“It’s a great bunch of guys,” said Hambleton. “We feel like a bunch of mates already.”

“We’re all strong personalities, but we’re all equal and we get on well together.”


The cast said that far from being downcast about the delays in filming, they were appreciating having even more time to bond with each other. (There were a lot of jokes about dwarf bonding/bondage). “We don’t have to wear as much latex for these roles…but we can still enjoy some on the weekends.”

The team have been training hard in the four or five weeks since they arrived – going to the gym, learning some stunt moves, getting dialogue coaching. (Didn’t get to ask what dialect – a question for another day!)

The Kiwi actors talked about meeting and working with international stars like Martin Freeman, Ken Stott or James Nesbitt. Mark Hadlow (Dori): “It’s an amazing experience as a theatre actor, when you’ve been an admirer for years, as I have been, of Ken Stott’s work on stage and screen…to meet with him and get to talk about all the things that we share, has been extraordinary.”

The visiting actors paid tribute to the Kiwi’s talent as well. “Look at Jed here, he’s done it before and he’s been everything in the [LOTR] movies!”

John Callen (Oin) said it wasn’t just the cast who got on well. “When we’re together, we’re a group. We’re ‘as one’. But it’s not just us. The crew work ‘as one’ too. I’ve met hundreds of people working on this movie, and I have not met one tosser. Except Mark Hadlow,” he joked.

The cast have met their scale doubles briefly (“What a great bunch of guys”) and will be working closely with them later. The scale doubles are doing their own gruelling schedule of gym, fight and stunt training alongside the cast.

During the press conference I took note of who took a leadership role or spoke the most, since I suspect that will be a good indicator of how they act on screen.

William Kircher and James Nesbitt – Bifur and Bofur – spoke a lot and also bounced off each other like a naturally comic team. They’re very funny. Nesbitt went to the rubgy Sevens ( a sort of sports carnival we have in Wellington, with lots of costumes) dressed as a chicken. “I was in the corporate box and I was the only one in costume. People were talking to me obviously thinking ‘he’s supposed to be somebody [important] ….but….he’s a chicken.’” Why a chicken? “It just felt right.”

Rob Kazinsky – Fili – also took charge of a lot of the answers, with well-thought-out responses. He was sitting next to Aidan Turner, or Kili, who was also very charismatic “take charge”, as well as funny. They’re both good-looking guys and I imagine we could expect to see a lot of them on screen.

John Callen (Oin) said a few things. He had the air of a wise elder statesman, undercut by a strong vein of very dry, sly humour bubbling just underneath.

Richard Armitage (Thorin) spoke surprisingly little, but when he did he had a notably deep voice, exactly right for Thorin, and real gravitas. He walked into the conference with a kind of testosterone charged lope. I don’t think he’ll have any trouble holding the audience’s attention.

Martin Freeman (Bilbo) was simply hilarious. He spoke a little more seriously about how he had spent time watching Ian Holm’s performances as Bilbo. “Of course I’ve been looking at what he’s been doing…I need to look at it and then forget it, in a sense, though. I look at what he does with his voice and movement…Without trying to blow my own trumpet nor with too much false modesty, I think I’m quite a good match for him. I have to try to echo and give a nod to what he’s done, but still be me.”


Freeman spoke highly of PJ. “For somebody who is as rich as Croesus and has that many Oscars, he’s phenomenally normal. And I mean genuinely normal, as opposed to those people that play at being hip or cool or ostentatiously normal, sort of ‘look here’s me being normal and having a normal cup of tea’. No, PJ is a practitioner, not a star. I get the feeling that if you were to have known him when he was twelve, he’s basically the same person now – an enthusiast.

“There’s no tossers on this production – and you certainly don’t want one at the top.”

Nesbitt (Bofur) commented that PJ, Fran and Philippa, the writing team, were exceptionally clear and could articulate what they wanted. “But very importantly, they’re great listeners and take on board what you have to offer.”

Asked how they were preparing for megastardom and crazy fan hysteria, Freeman and the rest said that it was all theoretical at this point. “We’ve got to be good first!”

On the strength of this press conference, I think we’re going to see some memorable performances from a cast that is bound to become highly popular.

Questions were mostly confined to things the cast themselves would be concerned with, so we didn’t get into details some fans have been asking, such as the impact of Del Toro’s departure, or whether casting for Smaug was imminent.

[R - fresh thoughts after watching the entire TH press conference:

--Prior to yesterday RA was the only actor of the 14 that I was familiar(swoon haha;) with.  Today, I've a much firmer handle on their identities as Hobbit cast members.

--James Nesbitt seemed to respond to reporter's queries with the greatest enthusiasm.  An Irishman with a  gift for gab---who would've ever expected it? *winks*  You should meet Mr Ricrar - he who has kissed the blarney stone twice - when it wasn't at all necessary even once. lol  Between his natural affinity for conversation, and both our interests in travel, history, family, world events in general - happily there's always an abundance of lively chatter between us.

--Made a mental note of the  obvious physical fitness of all 3 dwarves to Martin Freeman's (Bilbo) left--proof positive that Peter Jackson wants to retain the 60% female audience he attracted for LOTR series of films.  Assisting in reaching that goal will be his wise choice of an actor to play Thorin, whose "real gravitas" extends to his acting skills as well.  That fact should go a long way to help make THE HOBBIT another blockbuster for it's director.

--Best of all, after observing the rest of the cast in action, my enthusiasm level for the film has doubled.  Have not yet finished Tolkien's book,  but definitely expect that will be accomplished in short order - now that each characters' profile has been more vividly implanted on my mind via yesterday's appearance.

--I was disappointed that Sir Peter was unable to attend the news conference, but was very much impressed with how easily the cast collectively filled the role of spokesperson for him, while he continues to recuperate.  That's a good omen of how well they'll collaborate during filming, in order to make the director's creative vision transform to the screen.  As the photo op portion finally came to an end, one of the actors could be heard saying to the reporters off camera - "see you in 18 months."   Yes, we'll all excitedly await that day---although a few sneak peeks now and then (of Thorin in particular;) would certainly be appreciated.

Proving yet again that in one way or another dreams can come true--received following email:
Lucas North (@Lucas_North) is now following your tweets (@armitageblogger) on Twitter

of course the fact there are currently about 5 different Lucas Norths on twitter does rather soften the impact ;)


Musa said...

Can we all say we adore his "testosterone charged lope" - swoon. Just Love him with the full beard. OMG! Valentine's Day has come a few days early for me :) Yes, the voice, and they only heard a few minutes of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Be still my heart! He looks happy, they all do, and that's wonderful!

Musa said...

Hotness x3 Indeed RicRAR! Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, and Robert Kazinsky! Ay Dios Mio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ricrar said...

Deliriously happy with all this news Musa -- the lonnnnng wait is finally over.

I'm surprised how much thicker Richard's beard looks in the video above as compared to the still photos. It's definitely HOT -- they start filming in about 5wks I believe, so it will be slightly longer but still attractive.

The writer of the article commented on the sex appeal of the dwarves. She was definitely taken with RA's deep voice and his take-charge gait.

Wonder if he deliberately remained mostly silent in order to not monopolize the press conference. We've already seen how reporters become very impressed with his eloquence. Therefore, Richard's reticence to speak might've been planned with an eye to retaining the comraderie among cast members. Remember the almost jealous remarks sometimes made in the RH behind the scene extras.

No doubt the disparity between his and their screentime will be clear enough when we're finally watching the finished product.

Musa said...

RicRAR, I think he's somewhat shy (or actually rather shy) as a person, and I think that's the reason he didn't speak more. As a shy person myself, I know it's difficult for someone shy to barrel in and speak in the midst of a large group, like James Nesbitt who is not shy for example.I think it would have been different had he been asked direct questions more. We all know how eloquent he can be, so let's hope they have some one-on-one interviews with the cast away from the group dynamics. We know that he thinks deeply about his roles and we can be sure he has about Thorin.

I think his quiet demeanor is part of his attractiveness, the contrast with the gorgeous physical man :)

Brown-eyed Girl said...

Oh my, I'm sooooooooo loving that beard *thud*!

I have a "thing" for bearded men (is that even a word?), and RA looks absolutely perfect!!!

I've seen the interview like 4 times now, and his voice just gives me butterflies in my stomach... oh, to dream of hearing him talking to me... it makes my palms sweat!!!

I can't wait for the film, but what I'm really looking forward to are the DVD extras... if they're as good as LOTR's - and I'm pretty sure they will be - I'll have a RA overdose :D

Ricrar said...

Did anyone make note of the questions put to Richard? First he told her he'll play Thorin. Then he said she'd need to ask PJ for the next answer - had she asked why he was chosen for that role? If we were there, no doubt we'd have piped in with "because he has the superb acting range the director required and he's hotter than Hades...which never hurts. hahaha

After that he described playing a Hobbit elf in school and being thrilled to be part of the production.

What did she ask when he replied "you'll have to be more specific - there's 40yrs of it."

I wonder if the female asking the questions is the same one who wrote RA has gravitas and exactly the required deep voice to play Thorin.

We're agreed the beard is scrumptious...trying to imagine how long Thorin's hair will be - hope it's similar to the LOTR look-a-like below.

Musa said...

Didn't you all think it was hard to hear the questions clearly?

I think the question where he answered "be more specific" she asked something like "Tell us about yourself..."?

For the question that he said to ask PJ, she asked, something like "why do you think you're suited for the part?"

Ricrar said...

Thx Musa..expect we'll see a written edition of the conference within a few days. There's always an RA fan somewhere going the extra mile for everyone else, isn't there.

Now, everyone lean closer while I whisper a theory why Richard 'deliberately' stood at the very back of the group during the photo op outside. Notice in the very last pic in this post, there's a lovely looking woman standing directly across from him and looking right at him. Everyone else's attention is focused on the photographer in the front and those actors who are making jokes - she is gazing right at RA. Did he have a visitor from home?...or even a local he'd met during the past 5wks in NA?

Anyone agree there might be something to the theory? We'll keep our voices low...*whispering*

If he did, you really couldn't blame a single male for inviting someone to visit - knowing non-stop filming will soon start. A testosterone charged dwarf needs a date now & then;)teehee

Ricrar said...

p.s. NA of course is NZ.

My theory is that he knew the outside photoshoot was scheduled and he told her to wait there - they would leave together as quickly as possible..perhaps on the way to lunch/dinner.

Maybe that fresh looking haircut wasn't only for the reporters afterall.

romantic soul signing off...it's so close to Valentine's day - how romantic would it be if he finally met the right one in NZ. ahhhhh:)

Sue said...

I agree with Musa, I don't believe Richard deliberately kept silent, it was because he is really quite shy. Actually I thought he looked very pre-processing and calm, although I bet his heart was beating like the clappers just the same! The fact that he wasn't gabbling like some mad man, trying to push himself forward (unlike James Nesbitt who came over as a big-head, who thought he was in charge)worked for him, sometimes less is more! The interviewer asked him to tell us about himself, that's when he said "can you be more specific, I've got 40 years to talk about" (nicely side-stepped Richard, charmingly done). I wish he wouldn't put himself down, he isn't forty YET and neither is he middle-aged!!!He's just a slip of a lad, as my mam would have said!

Anyone notice as Richard was walking outside for the photoshoot, what the words said on the back of his shirt? There was a brief glimpse of Richard's back (and ever so snug jeans with a motif on the backside) but I couldn't make out what it said? Any chance of one of you whizz kids giving us a quick action replay or a still of it?

Ricrar said...

Morning Sue..well it is here;)

Agree with you that Richard looked and sounded very calm and self-assured when he answered the reporter's questions. Believe he might've already assumed his strong, silent Thorin(& Porter) leader attitude. The director's supportive words about Richard's powerful acting abilities had probably negated any whines heard in past few mos from some hobbit corners. Although, he might've deliberately mentioned being almost 40yrs old in order to transmit the message that he's no longer a boy; and that after yrs of paying his professional dues, he's now well prepared to take on a major starring role in the most expensive film to date.

As for Nesbitt, it seemed the others were very hesitant to speak up when the reporter started her questions. He seemed to pick up the ball, so to speak, and then the others chimed in. The actor has such a charming personality that it didn't impress me as being pushy - more like he was helpfully trying to keep her from having an awkward moment without an answer to her query. The truth is, the reporter should have mentioned one of their names - would've avoided the confusion of who should answer in the first place.

Yes, RA sounded very calm and composed - especially when he began with "I'm playing...vocal chord elevator started it's deep descent...Thorin" Whew! *thud* That's the moment I said to myself "Richard's already in his Thorin state of mind - in charge and ready to keep everyone else focused ont he mission."

Musa said...

Hi Sue, I was wondering about what it says on the back of his shirt too? I've seen a cap of his back (indeed looking very fit our man!), but can't make out what it says.

BCCMEE has posted the transcript of RA's portion of the press conference

Ricrar said...

Thx for the written transcript link Musa. Where did you see a screencap of the lettering?

Sue said...

Ideally I think that the conference should have been more orchestrated, and probably would have been if the director, Peter Jackson had been there. I think Richard handled himself very well and looked well groomed, unlike some who looked as though they had just got out of bed!

I agree having James Nesbitt chip in now and again smoothed the way, but he does have a habit of taking over which I find irritating. He has rather a large ego (about all that is judging from it). As you can tell I'm not really a fan. I noticed that his hair implants had got a bit longer and thicker (yes he had an Elton John hair transplant because he was balding, some time ago).

I also noticed that Richard looked as though he'd bulked up a bit, probably for his role as John Porter, that I'm guessing he must have finished filming?

Ricrar said...

Sue, the shirt print is the Dutch fashion house G star RAW. Didn't see any discussion about the jeans logo..girls must be slipping a wee bit;) haha..a joke.

You of course are far more familiar with Nesbitt than I am. Thought his remarks about taking his entire family to NZ were endearing - he said the children of assorted ages are settling into their news schools. Everyone was very complimentary about NZ.

Too bad it's on the other side of the world..would enjoy seeing it but really hate(no exaggeration) flying. Will do it however when my desire to go somewhere is stronger than the inevitable anxiety. Suppose it's necessary to fly to AU and then to NZ? That's over 12hrs in the air--eeks! The thought alone feels claustrophobic:) A cruise from here to there would be ideal but might take a month - of course, that makes the cost prohibitive.

As for RA bulking up, I'd assumed it was necessary for the Thorin role, but the stars of LOTR were heavily costumed, so bulging biceps might not be visually necessary.

He said their look as far as prosthetics is still "up for grabs" so possibly the director is still deciding whether he wants his 3 hottie dwarves to flash some well defined muscles for the 60% female audience. Why let all that masculine yumminess go to waste? IMO, that's what entertainment is all about -- providing sights, sounds, ideas, storylines that make our jaws drop.

Laura said...

Hoh-lee CATS!!!

I leave for a day-and-a-half of kid-induced nonsense, and LOOK AT WHAT I MISS!!!

I'm gonna have video overload after the boy goes to bed tonight!!

Thanks for all this stuff. Can't wait to spend a little leisure time browsing through it!

My two cents... I know he needs it for the role, but I prefer him with just a scruff, as opposed to full beard.

Sue said...

I really love the full beard, but it does age him a little, which is probably the intention. I don't see why he can't have his hair short as Thorin. I've just taken the plunge and bought an audio book of the Hobbit on Ebay (a snip at 99p + postage). So four hours of Thorin no less very soon. I should have bought the book, but I'm getting lazy in my old age and it means I can listen and do other things at the same time. I'm sure I'll be comparing the narrators dulcet tones with Richard's and it will leave me wanting. I notice that there are kids models of the characters for sale, also one of Peter Jackson as director!

I think Richard's presence at the press conference will silence those critics who say he is too young for the role as Thorin. They've probably come to that conclusion due to the young photo's that constantly circulate (especially in America)of a very young Richard when he appeared in CF. The one on the IMDB Hobbit film website doesn't help either (taken from United Agents website)which makes him look very young indeed and has been touched up by the looks of it.

Oh well, back to the BAFTA's, although it's a sure bet that "The King's Speech" with Colin Firth will dominate the evening. Personally I would have preferred the film "Made in Dagenham" to win, but then I'm just an awkward bugger, as I'm sure you've discovered!

Just wait until next year, Richard will be treading the red carpet collecting an award - or I'll eat me wellies!

Ricrar said...

Laura, did you catch the twitter pic in latest post of Thorin Oakensfield? Expect to be shocked;)

Sue, your 'awkward bugger' remark sounds very familiar after hearing Richard Sharpe called everyone in last night's two hr ep either a bastard or a bugger;) That is, except the ladies of course, for whom he always drips with attentive chivalry.

Can we dream Thorin will have short hair? really? taking into consideration his description in the book it seems medium length hair would be reasonable. The Aragorn length in pic below is yummy combined with the short beard.

How could they not have decided 5wks out from start date what each dwarfs look will be? If they do decide on prosthetics(please lord NO:) it would take awhile to design & manufacture them.

Giggled at your Colin Firth remark. Sorry to all those who swoon but he's never had that effect on me - many other English actors yes, but not him. Ducking down to avoid thrown objects. haha

Sue said...


I agree with you about Colin Firth, he's a fine actor, but he doesn't press the necessary buttons for me, not even as Mr. Darcy! Now Richard in dripping wet clothes, that would be different (I'd even offer to help him out of them and towel him down!)

Ricrar said...

You're charitable as ever towards RA, Sue...such a selfless fan;)

I'll massage those broad shoulders while you're on drying-off duty. We live to serve..haha.

A fan asked me how to reach RA in NZ:) teehee Somehow he forgot to leave his address at the blog. LOL

I'm certain he wants those who feel the need to communicate to do it through the usual routine, rather than to NZ. I'm not that type of fan so can't be sure (have never forwarded anything to any celebrity) however no doubt anything sent to his agent would eventually find it's way to the staff RA has assigned to deal with fan mail.