A is for Action

In the beginning, Richard Armitage made scores of fans – and he keeps on making them! Welcome to the first day of FanstRAvaganza 3. A is for Armitage is proud to kick off the freeform chain in the excellent company of White Rose: Sincere and Simple Thoughts and FunkyBlueDandelion.

For my own contribution to this year’s event, I took a cue from the name of this blog and reasoned that a single letter to describe such a diverse & talented actor like Richard Armitage simply wasn’t enough. The man ought to have his own alphabet and what better occasion to launch the Armitage Alphabet than the illustrious FanstRAvaganza 3?

I’ve always enjoyed watching Richard in action, so to speak. On the small screen he wielded a sword and handled a longbow as the tragic but lusciously leather clad Sir Guy of Gisborne. Who could resist!

As the gorgeous and enigmatic MI5 agent Lucas North he kept us safe in our beds for years by chasing terrorists and other nation-threatening thugs around London, taking them out with his Glock 17 or some good old-fashioned hand-combat techniques.

As the marvelously muscular John Porter he toted some seriously big guns in Chris Ryan’s Strike Back only to come to a sticky end in Project Dawn (which I still can’t bring myself to watch!).

Richard’s move to the silver screen seems pretty action packed too. Heinz Kruger may have taken less than 5 minutes to fail in his attempt to assassinate Captain America, but he packed a lot of action in that small slot. Gun fights, a car chase, hostage taking, a submersible escape, a near drowning and a suicide. Phew! I get exhausted just thinking about it!

And as we speak, Thorin Oakenshield may well be strapping on his heavy armour and picking up his mighty blade to reclaim the treasure and his kingdom from Smaug the dragon.

I’m being slightly facetious of course, but I do think Richard plays these action parts so very well. I’m not one for gratuitous violence on screen (or in real life for that matter!) but what sets his performances apart is the fluency of his actions and the credibility of his characters. From what I can gather, he meticulously prepares for his roles and likes to do his own stunts. If it was just guns and muscle I really don’t think I would have been this impressed but by fully immersing himself into the world of his characters, Richard manages to really get his head around what makes them tick.

To prepare for the part of John Porter he trained with ex-SAS soldiers and it really shows. Not just in the physical aspect – although the muscles are indeed very impressive – but with regards to the psyche too. What makes John Porter work for me is that he really moves like a trained soldier. The fighting scenes are fluent and instinctive. When he has to kill, he doesn’t hesitate and his movements have the agility and efficiency that comes with years of training and experience.

What makes this character credible though is that Richard gets the emotional part right as well. John Porter doesn’t go back to fight for the sheer hell of it. He fights to win back his family. He fights for love. These are the things that are not directly written into a script. There is no text to tell an actor what his character is all about. He’ll have to ferret it out for himself and, more importantly, get it across to the audience in action, not words. And that’s the kind of action acting I admire so much in Richard Armitage.

All of this had me wondering though. With so many great action scenes under his belt and following the example of the ever popular Little Guy, isn’t it time Richard Armitage was given his own Action Man figure? Perhaps it could even be marketed as Armitage Man?

For more freeform contributions to FanstRA 3, see my partner’s post at White Rose: Sincere and Simple Thoughts and FunkyBlueDandelion. Tomorrow, the freeform tagteam continues at Melanie’s Musings, An Obsessed Fanatic and Do I Have a Blog?. All FanstRAvaganza 3 links can be found here.

[Screencaps courtesy of RichardArmitageNet. The ‘Armitage Man’ artwork is my own and is based on a screen cap from an Action Man review – source unknown]


53 thoughts on “A is for Action

  1. Pingback: Let the Conversation Begin « RAFrenzy

  2. Pingback: F3, Day One! One voice to thrill them all, and Armitage to bind them! « Me + Richard Armitage

    • Yes, it would be a little freaky if he’d look like Ken. I don’t even know if Hasbro even makes the Action Man figure anymore but our own British H.M Armed Forces have stared producing their own action figures now (http://www.hmarmedforces.com/) so perhaps they could do a Strike Back John Porter. That would stop him looking like Ken, for sure 🙂

    • Thanks bccmee. I’m trying to ease myself back into Photoshop after a long leave of absence. It’s amazing what you can forget in a couple of years 🙂

      • I switched off the word verification for FanstRA, as recommended, and switched the icons to little monster icons for the occasion, so if you don’t have your own avatar you get allocated a little monster. I guess that if your blog isn’t a WordPress blog it didn’t pick up on your username and avatar without the word verification so allocated you a little monster avatar instead 😦

        PS: I missed out on Little Guy myself so would love for someone to produce an RA action figure. And I don’t even have any kids I could use as an excuse to buy one

      • I think I might want to keep the little monster avatar, I wonder how I might do that across WordPress…hmmm…otherwise, carry on with the FanstRA…

  3. Yeah — I think the dichotomy between action and drama is potentially a false one. This is a great post and something I think about a lot — how amazingly well he has his body under control. In bcc’s post today it came out that he had to throw a little kid into the river a bunch of times — how many actors would feel comfortable enough to do that kind of thing? And as you say, with Porter he can move easily between moving and acting — they are not two separate skills for him.

    Great post.

    • Thanks Servetus. I’m always amazed when I watch anything RA at how much I missed when I watched it first time around. He really does use his entire body and there’s just too much going on to catch in one go. I’m currently watching Spooks series 9 for the second time – I’ve only just stopped being miffed with the writers for what they did to my lovely Lucas North! – and he just acts his socks off in that. He just deals with that amazing twist of his character so brilliantly. I’m still not convinced about the John Bates character itself (written a little too shallow and things still don’t stack up) but RA has certainly done the best he can to make it work!

    • Posted on Yo, thanks for the shout-out! Part 3 is prbaboly coming sooner rather than later, detailing JLA #111 and bringing people back up on to speed on Libra (who DC has been pushing as a factor in FC recently). That’s his one and only appearance, and there’s a lot there to suggest connections with G-Mo’s themes.Again, glad to hear you liked it!

  4. I want my own Armitage Man! What a marvelous idea!

    You are so right that he brings so much more than action to his roles. Can’t wait to see him as Thorin!

    • Yeah, I can’t wait for The Hobbit either. He’ll be great as Thorin and will no doubt give him real gravitas. Rumour has it they will release some Hobbit action figures (at least they did with LOTR) so you never know – someone may cotton on and do us an Armitage Man one day. I know I’d buy one!

  5. Love it! Where do I get my Armitage Man!? He does the action men so well. His dedication to every aspect of his characters-including the physical-really does make him superb.

    • Thanks Jas. I’m really not sure they still produce Action Man anymore, although there was talk of releasing a couple of ‘vintage’ models. I can’t wait to see what RA brings to the role of Thorin. There’s a dwarf with some real issues!

  6. He plays action so well … and works hard at his physical fitness in order to do so. SB was airing on our TVs last Saturday, and I still really love the “humanity” and emotional vulnerability of Porter.

    Loved action RA …lol.

    • I’ve done a fair amount of gym work myself – in better times – and my husband is well into his fitness too. I can tell you that it takes a lot of hard work (and proper nutrition) to develop the kind of abs and biceps he sported for the John Porter part. Apparently, he did all that training after his day’s filming for Spooks. Now that’s real dedication!

    • Thanks Grati. I’d love to buy one of these – even if it makes me sound a little bit strange. I don’t have kids and my nephew is too old for one now, so can’t pretend to go out and buy one for him either. Can’t wait to see what the Thorin action figure will look like – pretty small I guess, as he’s a dwarf 🙂

  7. Action movies have never been my “cup of tea”. So why did I watch all the series you mention above? There must be A R eason! I really find RA has instilled some “touchy feeling” in those tough guys up there (wondeful pics!) making all of them lovable. Pretty special action heroes.

    • I know what you mean. Plain action movies really don’t hold much interest for me – even if the actors are as good looking as RA – but Richard really manages to present his characters as fully rounded human beings and in the process gets us thinking about the real issues behind the action. That’s what makes him such a good actor & long may he continue to do what he does 🙂

  8. Pingback: It’s here! FanstRAvaganza 3!!! | Do I Have A Blog?

  9. As Little Guy went out of stock pretty soon, I’m sure ArmitageMan would also!

    Of course, I would order my AA with a full option of accessorises and clothing! LOL

    • Yeah I know. I missed out on Little Guy myself. I like your idea of stocking up on accessories though – bet you’d spend all your time dressing and undressing him though 🙂

      • Good ideal. 😉

        Chris, if you are looking for a Little Guy, you can find it sometimes on Ebay. 🙂

  10. This “guy” is great. The training and experience! Paid his dues. Right out there. Jeannie – admire is right. A pro. Super post!

  11. LOL!! Here’s an idea…an Armitage Man Transformer…one minute he’s JT, the next a dwarf and then a SAS guy w/muscles and a full line of accersories AND a different voice with each change of character re: JT “look back”, TO “I am Thorin son of…” JP “There there Katie” or whatever he said cause I forget and am too lazy to go look. Love love this post!!

  12. What a great article … I have always been impressed by the high level of commitment to their roles. It’s exciting and fascinating …
    (I’ll go, now I have to start building a special box for ArmitageMan….)

    • Posted on Dammit. I have long been convinced, for resonas unknown to me, that Rumours’ came out in 1975, the year that I was born. Kind of disappointed to realize I was wrong about that.Oh, well, I’ve still got Born to Run.’Love your discussion of the album, totally agreed. There are some great singles ( Dreams is pretty close to a perfect song for me), but put together it’s greater than the sum of its parts.I love your music writing, I hope to see more of these!

  13. ChrisB, I have been so out of the loop in the RA world for the past several months… which is the reason why I must not have discovered your blog until now. It’s fantastic!!! 🙂 (Thank goodness for F3.)

    And, like all the others above, I want an Armitage Man! Woot!

    • Posted on nice anyone annttdieg the Baltimore con this weekend, these are the ideal item to print out and leave randomly on tables, chairs, bits of empty floor, etc

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  15. This is a great article and I LOVE the idea of Armitage Man figure. I am already hoping for a Thorin fully poseable figure complete with braids and Orcrist. And I also agree–Richard’s ability to convey through his physicality not just his personal fitness, but the character’s emotions, thoughts and, well-character. He uses every “weapon” in his acting arsenal–voice, facial expressions, body language. He even hair acts. 😀

  16. Pingback: Melanie's Musings: Book Reviews | Movie Reviews | Giveaways

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