When I was growing up, my father used to read JRR Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' to me and my brother at bedtime. Both Beau and I treasure these memories, as well as watching the old Frank Bashki animated films of these which we owned on the long-forgotten, short lived video disc player.
The last time the three of us were together before Dad died was for Dad's 61st birthday, and we all saw 'Fellowship of the Ring' together in the theater. It had come out that December, so we had all seen it before, separately. But we couldn't let a chance to see it together pass it by. Knowing Beau and Dad, seeing it on January 24 was probably the 3rd or 4th viewing for each of them.
The Peter Jackson films were phenomenal, and Dad absolutely loved Tolkien's words brought to the screen so perfectly. Beau and I have been excited that plans had been announced a few years ago for Peter Jackson to produce 'The Hobbit,' but there had been a lot of strife about it, primarily with the director. A month ago, the attached director, Guillermo del Torro left, and rumors started to fly that Peter Jackson would direct it, as he had the three LOTR films.
A few days ago, that rumor became official. I was already pretty excited about this news. So imagine my excitement last night when my favorite actor, Richard Armitage, was announced as having been cast as Thorin Oakenshield. Its a huge, huge role for him, the biggest he's had so far. Richard is all but unknown in the States. He first captured my attention when he played John Thornton, the Master of Malborough Mills in 'North and South.' I first saw it in 2006, so my love affair, if you will, with Richard has been going on since about the time Ryan was born.
He's had other parts in British shows since then, some of which make it to BBC America or PBS, and some of which I beg and plead with British friends to send me bootleg copies. He had romanced and married the Vicar in the 'Vicar of Dibley,' stole the show from 'Robin Hood' as the chief baddie, Sir Guy of Gisborne, in the tv show, and has also been the lead in 'Spooks' (known as MI-5 here in the US) and 'Strike Back.' And I confess to having paid an obscene amount of money to purchase my own Little Guy action figure when they released the toys in the UK (obscene because of shipping prices). Little Guy sometimes gets a bit jealous that he isn't as tall as Little Edward, but he makes himself feel better that he has super-poseable arms and legs.
Richard's been my little secret for the past four years. OK, one shared with some other friends and a lot of Britain, but he hasn't made much of an impact over here. I suspect that will all change soon. So while a part of me is sad to see him go viral and know that I'll have to share him with the world, I'm hopeful this will lead to more successful roles for him, and preferably in films I'm more interested in seeing. 'Spooks' and 'Strike Back' are much more Carl shows than Annalynn shows, but, you know, I've persevered to watch a very hot, very talented actor. Such a hardship. sigh... Here's to some more romantic dramas and comedies, Richard!
And here's a link to a fan video made by my friend Heather. I'm probably responsible for a large chunk of her 286,000 views!