I’m Sorry, What?

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.


6 thoughts on “I’m Sorry, What?

  1. I’m with you darlin’, no way he’s a volunteer in the service of the public. Performance is…performance, no matter how it informs or enhances our understanding of the human condition. I do hope this isn’t a development of ‘luvvy’ syndrome…

    • Oh kiss, kiss Dahling!

      (Seriously when I was living in L.A. people I just met leaning in for a kiss would drive me nuts. “You’re not my mother and we aren’t sleeping together. Back the fuck up.” Fortunately, I did not belong to the industry and the people I know who did belonged on the production side so I did not encounter it much.)

      It is not terribly surprising that famous people lose touch with the real world. It is such an insulated community (in part by necessity when dealing with rabid fans) of people blowing sunshine up each other’s skirts. But one could make more of an effort to stay grounded and aware of it. Especially if one did not get their real break until he was in his 30’s and did not become the famous *holds hand up* Act-TOR until he was in his 40’s. I have no issue with him enjoying his well earned laurels, but he can avoid being a pretentious jerk. Not that he has been one, this was just a douchey moment for him. We all have them.

      • What, me? Never!
        Lol, he’s always come across as quite sensible, it would be a shame to have him go all naff on us now. Maybe the theatre does that? Nothing worse than an actor who goes all farty on you.

      • From what I have seen thus far, as he has been catapulted into the fawning spotlight, he has only had moments of that sort of ego. But then he has moments of Leo ego before that (which were pretty natural), it just got a shade more “braggart” during The Hobbit premieres. In any case they seem to pass quickly, so I have confidence that this is an aberration. I think he has lived too long in the RL and struggled too long to get carried away easily.

      • Maybe his mum or Annie will slap him down a bit? Funny how she was at The Old Vic but no one bothered to mention it, only the weedy guy, and of course all the other Hobbity people…

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