I had a bout of insomnia and I was catching up on reading some of Richard Armitage’s interviews. He usually has something interesting to say and I look forward to reading it. He’s a smart, well-read guy who thinks for himself and is down to earth and generally not a pretentious douche.
However, he has moments. The rest of this interview has some great insights oddity of perception, but it also contains this:
“He calls acting a ‘public service’ and himself a ‘volunteer.'”
Look honeybunny, you are very talented and very skilled at what you do. Amazing even. And I know how hard you work at it and the traumas, physical and emotional, you put yourself through for these roles. And I appreciate that.
But Teachers are public servants. Police officers are public servants. Firemen and paramedics and nurses are public servants.
And most of the lives they save? People don’t even know their names.
And they get paid a pittance.
A volunteer is someone stacking up sandbags against a flood or spending a day helping out at a local food bank.
YOU are paid a shit-ton of money to play dress up & pretend in order to, best-case scenario, portray/declaim revealing insights on humanity discovered by writers while you get lauded to the skies by the press.
And this is not solely aimed at him, but all actors who have similar statements about how important they are.
The arts are important to a healthy society, absolutely. I, like the rest of the public, get a lot from what actors and other artists do. I value them. But I still think this is something they need to keep in mind: Society would collapse a lot faster if all the garbagemen in the world disappeared than it would if all the actors disappeared. The attention actors get is not indicative of how vital they are.
(And unless they are doing a charity gig for free, they sure as heck are not volunteers, no matter how difficult the role.)
And he probably, hopefully, does not actually think that, but…come on.
Now I am positively thrilled his performance in The Crucible has been so well-received by audiences and critics alike, that he has proven his chops as a theatre actor. I love that after all the years of being restrained, he has proven he can hurl it all against the wall and it sticks. (Though I hope the restrained part never goes away completely because it is remarkable how he can lay down such intricate layers of character with subtle veracity. How he can ground the outrageous in realistic scale.) Being able to do both large and small scale emotive performances is shows a remarkable range and flexibility and he is an amazing actor. I hope this opens up the artistic opportunities he needs and the challenges he seems to relish so much.
Though maybe something lighter first. 😉
Seriously, a comedy. You’re overdue man.