“I feel it as a real challenge to keep challenging that fan base and introducing them to something they wont [sic] like.
“I knew Francis Dolahyde was controversial because I knew a lot of people wouldn’t like him. Because they [fans] like you to be a heartthrob or attractive. So I saw that as ‘let’s see if we can change people’s tastes’.”
Richard Armitage, Article here
A quote, or quotes from one of the worst Armitage interviews of recent time. There’s a good discussion of it here.i-wish-you-would-turn-the-discussion-on-its-head-for-once-richard-armitage/.
I tried to post about this sooner, but I was all over the place.
There’s an interpretation for the first quote that can be seen as inoffensive and probably true. He could have meant that it was a challenge ( difficult) for him to maintain parts of his fan base if he repeatedly chooses roles either of characters or in works and genres that he knows some of them won’t like. We don’t know the question he answered, but his use of the phrase that fan base makes me wonder whether he wasn’t expressly referring to his early North and South fans, sometimes referred to as legacy fans. Also, his use of the word introduce was especially unfortunate because some other word wouldn’t have made it sound like he thinks he has to educate his fandom – just urge them, (through promotion), to stick with him.
But the second quote makes me think the word introduce was intentionally meant as educating.As to the second quote, I agree with many of the commenters who felt a real negative vibe from his comments – they want you to be a heartthrob or attractive and by suggesting that he could change some fans’ taste. ( Here, I think taste was also an unfortunate word choice.)
There was no way in Hell that Into the Storm was going to get me interested in tornado films or that I’ll continue with the serial killer genre , unless he plays another one. He can’t change tastes. The most he can do is be clever and intelligent in his promotion and hope he’s convinced naysayers that there’s something of him in the film that’s worth their seeing, despite reservations or regular preferences.
But to suggest that fans don’t want to see something they don’t like because they want you to be a heartthrob or attractive in the roles he plays, gives us little to no credit as an audience. This is so whether one takes attractive to mean in the physical sense ( i.e. handsome, gorgeous), or in the moral sense (likeable).
When I read or hear these sorts of statements, I feel that Richard Armitage is placing some blame on his fandom for his depiction as a heart-throb and for having to take his shirt off. He says how thankful he is for his fandom, and I believe it, but I often imagine him thinking, especially in interviews, that his fandom placed a monkey on his back.
We don’t cast him and we don’t decide how he looks in a film or series. I doubt that he takes or rejects roles with any consideration for his fans. It’s clear that he takes the role for his own reasons, and then if need be, he spins his choices after the fact. No problem.
At this stage of the game, he should have had a better spin formulated for his role choice. His original spin for Francis Dolarhyde was fine – great opportunity, complex, maybe empathetic, Bryan Fuller was just fine. Changing direction? Well, when you spin too much, you vomit.