Articles and interviews : 2012
A selection of articles and interviews with Richard Armitage published in 2012, from press, radio, TV and the Web.
Please see the links at the bottom of the page for articles published in other years, or use the menu.
These articles mostly concern The Hobbit.
Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt and Aiden Turner on 'The Hobbit' dwarves, Emma Dibdin and Tom Mansell (video)
Richard talks about Thorin's relationship with other characters in the novel; Digital Spy, 18th December 2012
MAX 60 Seconds with Richard Armitage, and MAX 60 Seconds with Martin Freeman, (videos)
A pair of delightfully funny and informal interviews in which Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman ask each other questions, some of them about The Hobbit... ; Cinemax, 18th December 2012
'Hobbit' star Armitage finds a wee bit of fame, Brian Truitt (video and print)
An interview about playing a dwarf that includes some comments from Philippa Boyens about casting him. Also includes a video, Five questions for The Hobbit's Richard Armitage, previously mentioned below; USA Today, 16th December 2012
"The boots give you a way of moving. There were times where they said, 'You don't need to wear the boots for this scene because it's only a mid-shot,' and I was like, 'I can't do this character without the boots on.' "
At 6ft 2in, who'd have thought Richard was born to play a dwarf in The Hobbit?, Gemma Collins
An extensive interview in the local newspaper of Richard's home town; Leicester Mercury, 15th December 2012
EXCLUSIVE Hobbit Interviews Part 2: Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Aidan Turner and James Nesbitt, Sarah Doran (video)
In this Irish interview, Richard discusses how much of himself is in Thorin, dreaming as Thorin, and looking forward to seeing Smaug in the next film; Entertainment.ie, 14th December 2012
'The Hobbit' Star Richard Armitage on Becoming a Dwarf and What We'll See in Part 2, Matt Patches
A short interview that covers, among other things, his pleasure at reuniting with the cast for the premieres of the film. See also this page, which mentions his small part in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and which shows a screenshot of him in that film; Hollywood.com, 14th December 2012
Richard Armitage on The Hobbit, beard grooming and dwarf workouts, Oliver Franklin
A general interview covering spies, skiing and clothes, among other things; GQ , 14th December 2012
"We trained with a weight belt to drag us down, to get our centres of gravity low. But when you put the costume on, you're carrying 20-30 kilos extra, depending on your character. It's pretty heavy! I try to keep at a non-obsessive level of fitness. It's not about looking great, it's about just feeling good. So I do a lot of yoga. Bikram just blows my mind. It's mental as well as physical; if I don't train I get very depressed. But the training for The Hobbit was about stamina and back strength so that we weren't injuring ourselves with the extreme circumstances. It would be good to go back and find that level of training again."
Richard Armitage of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey', James Rochhi (video and print)
A print interview, with video of cast interviews, which briefly feature Richard; MSN Movies, 13th December
On building a character out of the costume, the sword and the shield: "Tolkien described Thorin as a legendary warrior and a very important dwarf, which were two descriptions that terrified me. But then you get kitted up with this incredible set of tools that you just described, and they give you a body to operate. The entire face of Thorin is created by Weta Digital and Peter and Fran and Phillipa. It's great to be collaborating in that look, and even down to the arsenal of weapons that these dwarves carry, we had some input. But yeah, it's thrilling, and I love the transformation of a character losing yourself visually inside a character like Thorin. "
Richard Armitage Interview - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, James Kleinmann (video)
A British interview that discusses, among other things, Elvish, the Thorin action figure and Richard's reaction to seeing the film in 3D; HeyUGuys, 12th December 2012
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Interview, Bonnie Laufer Krebs (video)
An interesting 7 minute interview with a Canadian newspaper,in which he discusses the dwarves, Martin Freeman, and being directed by Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis; The Tribute, 12th December 2012
Richard Armitage on George Stroumboulopoulos, George Stroumboulopoulos (video)
A very interesting interview on a Canadian TV show that includes a clip of the Powhiri welcoming ceremony that took place at the beginning of filming on The Hobbit. See also this extra discussion about filming in 48fps; George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, 12th December 2012
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Exclusive Interview with Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner & James Nesbitt (video)
Richard Armitage talks about getting the call to play Thorin and his hopes for the film; The Telegraph, 12th December 2012
'The Hobbit' Star Richard Armitage... Nearly Missed Peter Jackson's Audition, But He Doesn't Mind Retiring Now, Caroline Frost
A short and varied interview including his thoughts on working in the heat, and falling in love with New Zealand; Huffington Post (UK) website, 12th December 2012
On whether it was now downhill all the way for his career after being cast in The Hobbit; "I don't care because I've had that moment. I could retire now and it would be okay, because I've had it. Of course, the fear kicked in soon afterwards, when you realise you have to actually play the role. You can't be the weak link, and there was controversy about my casting, along the lines of "he's not old enough... he's too tall... no one knows him". You just have to put your head down and earn it, by working like you've never worked before."
Dreaming of Thorin, Steve Fitch
A long and interesting interview about Richard's preparation for the role of Thorin, designs for The Hobbit, including his own suggestions for Thorin's shield, and dreaming as Thorin; Middle-Earth News, 11th December 2012
"Before I went to New Zealand, I did have quite a lot of time, so I obviously started with the book and looked at the Appendices in ‘The Lord of the Ring’s. I didn’t really read ‘[The] Lord of the Rings’ because I’d read it as a kid. But I just started looking at a lot of other Tolkien work. I looked at ‘The Silmarillion’, I looked at ‘The Book of Lost Tales’. I looked at a lot of biographies about Tolkien because I wanted to understand why he’d written ‘The Hobbit’ and what had influenced him to write ‘The Hobbit’. He wrote a lot about dwarves and the Nordic aspect of it and his fascination with language and etymology. So all of these things I was just interested in. I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to use it.
"So that was the beginning. And then when we got to New Zealand, it was all physical. Learning how to move like a dwarf, sing like a dwarf, fight like a dwarf…s**t like a dwarf. Then you put aside the work and start filming. Also the work about dressing Thorin and making him look right. It wasn’t just somebody else; my opinion was always involved. I found incredibly it flattering that it was democratic. I was always asked, “What do you think of this?”
"Actually, I had an idea for a weapon, and I remember going to Pete the very first week (we were having like a drinks thing in his garden), and I said to him, “I don’t want to talk shop when we’re being social, but I’ve got an idea for this thing. I think [Thorin] might have kept a piece of wood from the battle where it saves his life. And he’s honed it and he carries it around with him.” And he said, “Ok, well go and do a sketch.” So I did a really crude pencil sketch of this Oakenshield, and he said, “Okay, we’ll give it to Weta.” And they designed this amazing thing for me. It just became fascinating that it’s part of the character now, and I think, “How did that happen? He actually carries the Oakenshield around with him.” I don’t know how it came to me; I was like, “Oh, let’s have a go at that.” "
Richard Armitage Talks THE HOBBIT, Transforming into the Dwarf Leader, Thorin, and Filming Additional Footage for the Sequels, Steve Weintraub (video)
The title says it all; Collider website; 11th December 2012
On 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,' Richard Armitage steps into big shoes as dwarf ruler Thorin Oakenshield, Ethan Sacks
An interview done in New Zealand, shortly before the world premiere; New York Daily News, 11th December 2012
"On day 3, I think, these massive boots showed up that we were all going to be wearing. Because Tolkien describes the ironclad boots of the dwarfs very specifically, so they're like a boot that fits around a normal foot — so they’re huge. So we all had to learn how to walk in them, and it was very informative because a dwarf is a very heavy being. Their bones are denser and they’re heavier and their center of gravity is lower, so we had to work on all that kind of stuff. And also, when you have those big boots on, you sort of walk like you're wearing a diaper. So we had to de-diaperize ourselves.
"Literally like the costume, the body of the character, the skeleton of the character was different, so you feel somehow buried deep inside of there. But slowly you find your way through it and you can’t function without it then. When sometimes we had to go down and rehearse not in costume, I struggled. I couldn’t do it without the huge boots."
'Hobbit' Inspired Actor, video
An interview with a Canadian newspaper, recorded during Richard's visit to Toronto: The Record, 10th December 2012
Richard Armitage feels one with Thorin, Michael Oliveira
Largely based on the video interview above; Metro News, 10th December 2012
"I read the book when I was 11 … I remember picking it up for myself and sitting under the bedsheets with a torch and I really feel like it inspired my imagination. And if I really think back, it’s probably one of the reasons why I became an actor, because my imagination was fired and those things that Tolkien really taps into — the secret doors, the keys, the code words, the scary threat of the darkness — I think those are the things that really appealed to me as a kid,"
Richard the Second – Part II of TheOneRing.net’s time with Richard Armitage, 'Greendragon'
A long and detailed interview (see part 1 below); TheOneRing.net, 9th December 2012
"I really needed the crew to believe in my character. Sometimes we were called to set half way through the process of getting ready – so sometimes I was asked to go to set without the wig on – and I remember hating it, and wearing a hoodie – because I just didn’t want Thorin humiliated in front of the crew. I wanted them to believe that when the King walked onto the set, that they felt a change in the atmosphere. It’s like I didn’t want anyone seeing the dwarf suit underneath, coz that’s like Thorin being half naked – so I know it sounds stupid, but I was really protective of that. I could always gauge it because a lot of the time, leaving the set through the gates – I used to cycle to the studio – most of the crew didn’t speak to me because they didn’t recognise me. So it took a long time for them to go, ‘Ah! That’s the guy that comes in on a bike! That’s Thorin!’ Which I always took as a compliment."
THE HOBBIT Interviews: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Richard Armitage, Jake Hamilton (video)
Richard's interview begins at about 12 minutes into this video - he talks about the etymology of Thorin's name, imagination, and acting as fear; JakeTheMovieGuy, 8th December 2012
Elijah Wood: Revisiting Middle Earth ‘was a gift’, Ann Curry (video)
An interview with Richard Armitage and other cast members for Today; MSNBC, 7th December 2012
Richard Armitage on The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey, Scott Orlin (video)
An interview (in English) on a German film website; Cinema.de, 7th December 2012
The Hobbit's Richard Armitage - Dwarf Star, Barbara Chai (video)
Richard talked to the Wall St Journal about Tolkien's writing, Thorin's character and look, and Orcrist ; Wall St Journal, 7th December 2012
'Hobbit' Star Richard Armitage Takes Fan Questions, Barbara Chai (video)
As part of the interview above, Richard answered questions sent in by fans; Wall St Journal, 6th December 2012
Richard Armitage chats about The Hobbit, Graeme O'Neil, (video)
An interesting interview in Toronto with a Canadian TV station, shot outside the cinema where the film received its Canadian premiere later in the day. Among other things it covers his transformation into Thorin, both cerebral and physical, and his reactions to the fans at the premieres; City, 6th December 2012
The Hobbit's Richard Armitage talks Thorin, McKellan and Peter Jackson's epic return to Middle-earth, Emma Badame
Another report from an interview that Richard did with several journalists in Toronto; Cineplex website, 6th December 2012
Richard Armitage talks Thorin Oakenshield and The Hobbit, Ann Brodie
A detailed interview about fame, filming, Thorin's dirty look, and giving up Spooks and Strike Back to play him; Monsters and Critics website, 6th December 2012
Richard Armitage talks to TheOneRing.net, 'Greendragon'
While in Toronto, Richard talked to a representative from the web's largest and most comprehensive Tolkien site (see part 2 of this interview above); TheOneRing.net, 5th December 2012
The Hobbit actor: We filmed for 278 days, Kathie Lee and Hoda (video)
Richard was interviewed for Today about The Hobbit; MSNBC, 5th December 2012
Richard Armitage Interview For The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
An interview about filming The Hobbit, Thorin's story and working with Peter Jackson; FlicksAndBits website, 5th December 2012
Richard Armitage Talks Thorin, Tolkien, and Being a Leader of Dwarves in THE HOBBIT Saga, Jason Gorber
In a conversation with journalists in Toronto, Richard talked about filming the The Hobbit, and working with Ian McKellen, Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis; Twitchfilm website, 4th December 2012
Damnit Maurie & Richard Armitage chat about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Damnit Laurie
A bizarrely filmed but interesting interview filmed at Union Station in Toronto; Kiss925, 3rd December 2012
The Dwarves' Leader, Richard Armitage, Marilyn Denis (video)
An interview on the Canadian TV show about The Hobbit; The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV, 3rd December 2012
Richard Armitage on The Hobbit, Richard Crouse (audio)
A substantial and fascinating conversation about The Hobbit, both the book, his playing of Thorin Oakshield, and his playing of an elf in a play of the novel when he was a child; Richard Crouse, 3rd December 2012
Richard Armitage the warrior dwarf, Tom Cardy
An interview in a New Zealand newspaper about being cast for and playing Thorin Oakenshield; The Dominion Post, 23rd November 2012
He was asked by Peter Jackson to read for the part of Thorin. "I thought, first of all, I'm six foot two [1.8 metres] and Thorin's an old guy. Maybe they want me to read it for a general audition. But then when I read what they'd done with the audition speech I realised that they were looking for something quite different. They needed someone who could play a warrior, who could play a young Thorin and old Thorin and also to bring the idea of somebody who could return to his full potential to become a king. That's when I sat down with Peter and we talked through the journey and the arc of the character – and then they offered it to me. I had to pick myself up off the floor."
Massive Secrets of The Hobbit - Revealed!, Lauren Davis
An article about a visit to the set of The Hobbit by several journalists includes an interview with Richard Armitage; IO9 website, 25th October 2012
||"I needed [Thorin] to be heroic on the battlefield and somebody that still has a potential to rise to that state of brilliance on a battlefield, even though it's like— He's like a flame that's fluttering, and has nearly been extinguished, but it has the potential to re-ignite. It's like a dying flame when you first meet him, but he still has to be a flame."
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Set Visit, Jim Vejvoda
An interview with Richard Armitage on the set of The Hobbit, extracted from a longer article; IGN website, 25th October 2012
"I think the dwarves by nature are greedy and stubborn, and they covet gold, there's no getting away from it. They don't see that as a bad thing. You have to remove your human sentiment when it comes to greed and the accumulation of wealth. They see it as a very positive thing. But this particular group of dwarves, only thirteen of them have come out on this quest. Everyone else turned their backs and said, 'No, no, no, leave it alone. Stay away from that mountain.' So it really is about thirteen survivors that are going to attempt to do something which people have dissuaded other dwarves from doing. And so there is a sort of spirit of conquest in the dwarves."
"From Thorin's point of view, I think he's thinking less about the gold and more about his people and his own personal agenda with his grandfather, his father, and his nemesis Azog who slaughtered his grandfather. And also the dragon Smaug, he has this personal relationship with Smaug who came and-- I've used Hiroshima, actually, as an inspiration for that kind of devastation that drove them away from their homeland. So that's been Thorin's driving force."
Richard Armitage Talks Dwarf Humor, Steve Weintraub
An on-set interview with Richard Armitage about The Hobbit; Collider website, 25th October 2012
||Speaking about Thorin he said, "I think knowing that his father and his grandfather have been touched by this dragon sickness which doesn’t necessarily affect all dwarves, but some dwarves are susceptible to it. It’s this attraction to gold which becomes their downfall, has always been at the back of his mind. And I think the burden of taking his people back to their homeland, which is so massive, makes him a lonely figure. Knowing that his grandfather failed, and his father failed, so if he doesn’t do it, there’s no other member of his line that will ever do this. So he will continue through history as the king that failed to achieve the potential for his people. That’s something, again, which is a huge burden to carry. And I think that’s what drives him, but it’s also the thing that he fears, that he will fail."
Richard Armitage Talks The Hobbit, Garth Franklin
Richard talks about Thorin Oakenshield and the filming of The Hobbit; Dark Horizons website, 25th October 2012
||"I didn't really unpack my bag for about three weeks, 'cause I thought that I was going to be on the plane going home. Bag End was the first week of shooting for this character, for me and for the other dwarves as well, and it feels so different. But it was good that it felt awkward. It felt like they were out of place because they are in that environment. Dwarves don't belong in a cozy, domestic situation. They belong in giant halls and on a battlefield."
Thorin Oakenshield, The dwarf with a plan, Ian Nathan
An interview with Richard in a special Hobbit section of the December 2012 issue of Empire, a British film magazine. He talked about being cast as Thorin and about playing him, and at his wonder at being in the film of a book he'd read and re-read as a child; Empire, December 2012
"I’d read The Hobbit over and over as a kid. Then I got into The Lord Of The Rings as an adult, but sadly I was never in a position to even be considered for that trilogy. There’s nothing that could have stopped me from doing Thorin. If I never do another piece of work again after this, I think I’ll be happy, genuinely happy. It feels like an arrival."
Asked to sum up his experience of being in The Hobbit, he said, "I've loved it - you leap out of bed in the morning. I know that sounds really corny, but you do. You constantly pinch yourself: "I can't believe I'm standing in front of Hugo Weaving, in front of Elrond, and he's telling me the secrets of this iconic map." I learned how, in one of the drafts of the book, Tolkien wanted the moon runes to be actually written in, printed into the ink, and they couldn't afford it. But just seeing the map for real and going, "Oh my God, I'm holding it, I'm holding it." It was quite nice that I'm bringing a little bit of that wonder and magic to the character..."
The Future 100: The new faces of The Hobbit, Matthew Leyland
A feature in a British film magazine about "the films, people and events shaping the next 18 months of cinema." Richard Armitage and other cast members are interviewed about The Hobbit; Total Film, Summer 2012
||"[Thorin's] completely paranoid. I don't think he thinks he's good enough."
Richard Armitage's Journey To 'The Hobbit' Best 'By Far', Kevin P Sullivan
An interview about The Hobbit with the MTV website, which calls Richard Armitage "One To Watch in 2012". Filming was still in progress at the time. ; MTV, 11th January 2012
||Asked about the make-up and prosthetics used for the dwarves, he said,
"It did evolve. We all started with quite an extreme version of ourselves. I think because my character does spend a lot of time onscreen and you really have to understand what he's going through emotionally, it became clear that if we started make the prosthetic as close to my features as possible but still make him a dwarf, it would be much easier to read the character. He has to go on such a journey, it was really important to do that. I grew my own beard after the first block [of filming] because I felt that it was restricting my face. The jaw is so connected to emotion that I wanted to have that free. It made such a huge difference."
"It's really weird now because I can't play the character when I haven't gotten everything on. It's very hard to rehearse when you're not in costume, when you haven't gotten the prosthetics on, but I look in the mirror when it's all finished and I don't see it. I can't see where it starts and where it ends. I just see the character. I've never had that before. It's such a unique experience. It's a face that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to WETA workshop and the people that created it."
On leaving behind the character of Thorin after fiming finished, he said, "I don't think it will be possible to leave it behind me. I think this is one of those characters that always stay with you because you spend so much time with him and it's such a transformation. I'm in the character every day, and I've become so familiar with him. I sort of know how he thinks. I feel really close to the character, and he will continue beyond this job. I think he is a fascinating character. I will probably wake up in six years' time and be inspired to think about him again. It's really exciting."
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