Richard Armitage – A Quiet Week? Who Knows?

Source: from SundayTimes 2006

Source: from SundayTimes 2006

Whatever Richard Armitage has been doing this week – he’s kept it under wraps. Resting maybe? Gearing up for the whirlwind called DOS coming down the pike? Or contemplating what’s next for him?

Perry has another possibility to add to her “Miniseries Miniseries,” occasional blog posts earmarking upcoming miniseries that might contain a future role for Richard Armitage. Today, the adaptation of Man Booker Prize twin winning historical novels:



I confess, this is one instance where I actually imagined Richard Armitage in the lead role when I was reading the books.  Nevertheless, Mark Rylance  seems like a catch for BBC. It should prove interesting. Mr. Rylance  was a whirling dervish in La Bete and Jerusalem, exhausting not only himself and his co-stars, but the audience as well.  Yet the novels are written in the third person but exclusively from Cromwell’s POV – everything is in his head, very tight and very measured. If I were adapting this, difficult as it might be, I would keep it that way.

Anyway, there are some good male roles as yet uncast or unannounced, and if we don’t mind another early death for an Armitage character, there are plenty of noblemen, clergymen, foreigners and even a servant or two suitable to showcase Richard Armitage.

previous suggestions: here, here and here

18 thoughts on “Richard Armitage – A Quiet Week? Who Knows?

  1. He would be FANTASTIC as Thomas Cromwell in these adaptations. These are IMO the best historical novels to appear in the English language in *years*. I don’t talk much about my Hilary Mantel love (and it’s not shared in Armitageworld — the only other Armitageworlder that I’ve discussed it with hated Wolf Hall and didn’t read the second one) but I will admit that she’s the only novelist I’ve ever written to. I have a long draft for an OT post about why these novels are so good. My only fear for Armitage in this role would be that the adaptations would spoil the novels. In the wake of the Tudors, there might be an impulse to sex them up a little, but they are a beautiful and melancholic reaction on the nature of passing time.


    • I’m with you all the way. The minute I finished the second one I started waiting for the third. They’re FABULOUS and I agree. Ever since I started reading history on my own over 10 years ago, I just couldn’t read historical novels anymore – but these are terrific.
      Well, we need not fear that he’ll be Cromwell and I’ll be surprised if they sex Mark Ryland up – but there are a few good roles for Armitage. I’m eager to see what the team selected does with this, but as eager too see that I am more eager for the final in the trilogy.
      Maybe some of the newer Armitage fans like it better than the ones you communicated with?

      When is final one coming out – end of next year?


    • I agree and disagree in equal measure. IMHO Wolf Hall is not only “the best historical novel to appear… in years”, but the best novel ever, period. Those who know me, including a small number of Armitageworld members, have been bored so silly by my proselytising they have resorted to buying the book just to get me off their backs. Bring up the Bodies comes a close second, followed by Hilary Mantel’s remaining opus not far behind.

      However, the very last person I would consider as a likely candidate to play Cromwell is Richard. Cromwell, if contemporary descriptions and Holbein’s portrait are reliable, was of very average height, squat, square and not exactly eye-candy! You probably recall, Servetus, in ButB where Cromwell examines Holbein’s portrait of him and he comments (something along the lines of) “Christ. I look like a murderer”. The response (Gregory? Rafe?) was, “Didn’t’ you know?”

      As far as the Beeb’s dramatisation goes, check this out:


      • It sounds like the BBC is putting together a team with a varied track record. As far as casting Richard Armitage for the role, it’s academic now -but i think it’s less about how he Cromwell looks and more about the actor becoming the subject, and to that end, I think Richard Armitage would have been great in portraying the quiet, cerebral, calculating Cromwell. With historical figures it’s easier to fudge the physical similarities -it’s not as if the public can recognize Cromwell on sight.


        • To me, one of the fantastic things about that book are Cromwell’s inner reflections about time — and you have to find a script that can make that available to the audience and an author who can show that on his face without telling. I imagine it will be very hard to dramatize.


          • That is some of what I was getting at when I discussed the POV in my post, though not specifically related to time. If they just adapt it to dialogue, I think most of what made the books great will be lost.


            • well, I wouldn’t limit it to time either, although I am susceptible to that as a historian and a person. But for example take the recurring symbol of the “angel wings” costumes for the little girls. That kind of thing is *so* hard to navigate — how do you make the viewer aware that Cromwell is seeing that without pounding the viewer over the head with it. Hard.


      • I wouldn’t go that far but it is an excellent book, one of the best I’ve ever read. I’m not sure if it’s better than Lotte in Weimar or Buddenbrooks, though.

        re: height — for me, height, schmeight. Actors play all the time historical characters who didn’t look at all like them in many regards. that question might, however, be an issue for Armitage.


  2. Pingback: Richard Armitage Legenda 101: Stuff worth reading | Me + Richard Armitage

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