Armitage as Object- Take a Lesson From a Pro

Okay, the blogger who is Perry has had  a few earlier fan girl crushes in her day.  Mild stuff- seeing the films, rooting for them if  they were up for an award, reading an article if she came across it. Right up there, would be Robert Redford. I fell for him in the incredibly romantic film The Way We Were but my appreciation of both Redford and the film grew in subsequent viewings as I understood the relationships better.

Robert Redford as Hubble Gardiner in The Way We Were.

Robert Redford as Hubble Gardiner in The Way We Were.

Redford’s acting career waxed and waned, but he’s enjoyed a well-deserved status in the film industry as a director, producer, writer, mentor to young film makers and the founder of The Sundance Film Festival.

Still, after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the two The Sting films, he was a sex symbol, heart throb with a popularity that dwarfs our favorite, Richard Armitage. However, like Armitage, Redford jealously guarded his privacy, locating to a remote ranch in Montana and keeping out of the Hollywood spotlight.

Robert Redford in "All is Lost"

Robert Redford in “All is Lost”

Mr. Redford , now 77, is on the talk show interview circuit  promoting his new film, All is Lost a one man film, which is getting rave reviews. ( If this film doesn’t sound like your thing, Redford has signed on with the Marvel Franchise,and will appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

I caught him on The Today Show this morning when he was asked about how he handled fame.  His answer resonated with me, especially as a die hard fan girl now.

Redford recounted that after some undisclosed event or publicity, he found that he was getting a level of  attention which surprised him and which he wasn’t prepared for. He said that he made three written signs, and tacked them up:

The first: He’s being treated like an object.

The second:  If he’s not careful, he’ll be expected to behave like an object.

The third:   You will  become an object.

He took it as a cautionary tale and asserted himself to make sure none of that happened.  In setting a course of his career, he decided not to look back and to try and gain momentum for focusing on the future.

Richard Armitage fans have discussed his status as an object more than he has, though he’s danced around it in a few interviews. Armitage  may not have couched the problem in exactly the way  Redford did, but I’ll bet he’s had similar thoughts. One might even think taking the role of Thorin was to him, in addition to everything else it could do for his career, an opportunity to  play down his sexiness by in the role of an old, short dwarf. Peter Jackson had other ideas.

So, to Richard Armitage, follow the advice of a master at maintaining individuality: set a course for your career; don’t look back, try to gain momentum (now’s another chance) and focus on the future.

20 thoughts on “Armitage as Object- Take a Lesson From a Pro

  1. Even though I was much too young for him, I had a thing for Redford in my teens, too, watching all the old stuff that he had been in. I always respected him for his carefully guarded privacy and I think he was very successful in maintaining a balance between being considered a sex symbol and being revered as an actor. Sometimes, I suspect, good looks can be a hindrance when you are actually *really* good at your game – but people focus on the hunk status too much. No wonder that Redford (and Armitage) played it down.
    The message of the three signs is really wise. Although that sounds hypocritical coming from someone who does actually objectify her favourite actor a lot *blushes*. Thanks for this, Perry.

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  2. It’s not hypocritical at all. It’s a map for someone to deal with the inevitable. I was also a big Paul Newman fan, and he was even older than Redford. Thanks to TV and VCR, I was able to see everything. Newman is a great example of a gorgeous, gorgeous sexy guy who was also a fine actor. TWWW is one of those Romcoms that I can watch over and over, along with Pretty Woman and You’ve Got Mail.

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  3. Thought provoking! You have to admire Redford, Armitage, and the late Paul Newman for keeping the adulation in perspective. I feel it is difficult for any actor to keep their head in the right place. So many beautiful people…Marilyn Monroe comes to mind….have been used by the machine to capitalize on their looks and not show enough respect for their talent. It is a balance between pursuing your chosen craft and giving your life up for the public. Newman and Redford were able to live their lives. I hope RA, once the dust settles, will be able to find that balance between personal happiness and professional life as well.

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    • I don’t much about Paul Newman’s early days – but of course,both older men were operating in a different culture when they were younger, hot actors and with Newman, things were run by the studios in the beginning.
      I hope that Richard Armitage gets to a place in his career where he has the fan adulation these guys had – the he can worry about dealing with it It seems to me he’s on the right track for dealing with what fame he has.

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  4. Interesting post. I’ve watched my share of Redford too…he was on my over 40 list of, well, you know, when I was in college – Newman too. I can’t help that think that so much of this has to do with the ability of the individual to keep things in perspective…that it is a character trait of sorts. As you say, there is almost no way of getting around being objectified to some degree. It seems to be status quo in the entertainment industry, whether it’s right or wrong, (and people will argue about that until the end of time.)

    Richard Armitage seems to have been pretty good at keeping a life for himself that is separate from his career thus far and he’ll probably continue to do so if it suits him. For as much as people constantly (not necessarily the famous) say that fame is so intrusive, etc, there are plenty of celebrities (like Redford, Newman, Viggo Mortenson, and a host of others…) who manage to live their lives outside of the public eye, if they choose to do so.

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  5. Wise words from Mr. Redford. I remember preferring Dustin Hoffman to him in All the president’s men (as a kid really) because he wasn’t a pretty face. Redford seems so much more relaxed in his later work (The company you keep is a recent example) and the same goes for other actors with striking good looks (Brad Pitt?). From what we’ve seen so far, RA has his feet firmly on the ground and I doubt it would change – there’s a good side to fame coming relatively late in one’s life.

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  6. l really think a lot of it has to do with your upbringing as well. Brad Pitt is a was raised in the midwest by very down-to-earth parents. You look at people like Lindsey Lohan and her family situation and you have to think it plays a role in how her life has played out. I’ve heard Fassbender say he is glad his fame came later in life, and I also think his parents played a role in keeping him grounded. From what we know about Richard’s family, they have instilled values in him that make him the man he is. It is difficult to raise a man who is that good looking and keep his feet on the ground.

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  7. Fact is people are inherently attracted to attractive people, like it or not, fair or not ( see studies on attractiveness etc.) It cannot be a hinderance for an actor who wants to become successful because being attractive will get you more parts more often than not- just not always the good parts you want, so you better be very good at acting and very good at convincing people to hire you against type. As for trying to look frumpy to get parts-do you really like the part ?Is that what the character really looks like? If not, don’t worry about your looks, because looks fade for everyone. Eventually people will no longer offer Mr. Armitage parts where they ask him to take off his shirt and show his abs. Enjoy it now, because it ends all too soon, and it never comes back. I think we all take it for granted when we are younger that we have a choice in this matter, so we let some choices pass us by or we fuss over them, without fully appreciating that someday we won’t have that choice.

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    • Exactly Es! ” Enjoy it now mr.A “(so true ES!) Looks fades..but now he is strong,vital..he has great posture, deep voice,striking eyes,”noble”face..he should use all those advantages .
      For now, I’m afraid he is destined to play in “king’s cloak” 😉

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  8. What you say is true – it’s more difficult for a great looking actor to be taken seriously for his talent. On the other hand, not every good role is against that type. The problem is getting type-cast as nothing more than a pretty face.

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  9. I think it’s Robert Redford’s way of staying grounded in a world that sells dreams to the masses. My first introduction to Redford was his directorial debut of Ordinary People which starred Timothy Hutton (now he is of my generation)’ Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore and Judd Hirch, so I got to see him as an amazing director first before discovering him as a ‘heartthrob’.

    For RA such a list, or something similar, will help him survive when the cameras stop rolling and when the calls stop coming – may they always will keep on coming for RA but this is what every performer fears after the last movie wraps. In a world where you have to know whom to trust, people who won’t objectify you but tell you things as they are, will keep you grounded.

    In Notting hill! Julia Roberts’ line quoting Rita Hayworth, “they go to be bed with Gilda. They wake up with me.”

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    • I thought the list was aimed more towards the times when the cameras didn’t stop flashing – when there was too much attention and manipulation.
      “Ordinary People” was masterful for the performances Redford achieved from his cast – especially MTM – big shocker for her as well.

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      • I think the present times aren’t any different unfortunately, if not worst. Not being grounded results in the person falling for point #3, forgetting who he or she really is. We see that in some celebrities, and have seen it in those who have passed on as well.

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

  11. Okay Brad Pitt went through all the Hollywood nonsense first time around remember so he certainly knows that game and how it works. Now he sets the pace the way he wants it and keeps private what he wants private. Richard knows that though we talk a lot of stuff about him most of us still want him to have his privacy and wish him all the best which includes a family of his own and happiness outside of his career. Most of us try to protect his privacy by not being intrusive in that area. I’m sure there are others who don’t but overall he does a very good job of protecting himself and that is great. It can be done if you want it and obviously he does. He does his job but he makes sure at the end of the day that is all it is and he has been lucky that all those mags out there pretty much leave him alone. I agree with Redford. If you allow yourself to become an object that is all you will be. The young have a really tough time with that and so many fail. Luckily Richard has been very well grounded. Truthfully he wasn’t as good looking as a kid as he is now and I think that truly helped him. Inside that kid is still there and he had great parents so as long as he always remembers who he really is and where he came from he will be fine. I’m sure he would like to be able to say that he had a career as esteemed as Mr. Redford has had and still has.

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