The SPACE blog was given the chance to sit down with Richard Armitage, one of the many stars of the upcoming film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. You may be familiar with this little flick, Peter Jackson's latest foray into Middle Earth and possibly my most highly anticipated movie of... ever? I've grown up with Tolkien and Jackson, from reading The Hobbit at a tender young age to poring over the Extended DVD sets of all three Lord of the Rings movies, several times over. I was surprised and pleased to learn that, to some extent, Armitage shares my enthusiasm for the world of Middle Earth. In fact, I might even go as far as to say that he seems like a bit of a geek!
Imagine having to be a professional and do your job while surrounded by the same Bag End set you know and love from Jackson's LOTR movies. Armitage had just that problem. "I did actually have to walk on set before I was filming because I knew that I would be slightly mesmerized by everything, so I had a good sniff around for a couple of days, just picking up pens and looking at handcrafted paper and hand written letters because I'd be like, I can't be thinking this when I'm filming." Still, once filiming began he still found himself a bit flabbergasted, and who can blame him? As he put it, "When that door opens and you step onto the set and you look at Ian McKellen there is a moment of going.. ok cut, can we just do this again because that's Gandalf and I'm walking into Middle Earth."
Ian McKellen is also a huge part of The Lord of the Rings, and Armitage had a lot of good things to say about his fellow actor. One of these was about something McKellan did for him on the first day. "It's all about status, and it's something that every actor learns in drama school but never applies because it means being selfless and Ian is a very selfless actor and when I walked in the door of Bag End, Gandalf, this kind of monumental figure for me, bowed his head to me, in reverence to Thorin Oakenshield the legendary warrior and I remember thinking god he's giving me my status. You don't have to play any kind of false weight or status because it's given to you and he completely understood that."
Armitage also shared a few geeky tidbits with us, including his favourite character from the Rings trilogy... "Grima Wormtongue. That's my kind of role. I think that slimy, grisly little.. you know. I love it. If I was in rings I'd want to play that one." Obviously, somebody needs to get this man a villain role.
Finally, I had to ask if he'd been allowed to keep anything from the set. The lucky king of the Dwarves had this to tell us: "Do you know, on the last day of shooting, I was given Orcrist... and the Oakenshield... and the key to the door... and the map. So yeah, I pretty much got the entire kit!" I kept expecting him to stop after each new item... yeah, I'm jealous.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes to theatres Friday, December 14th in 3D, 48fps, 24fps, Imax... and I'll probably end up seeing every version. See you there?