With the release of what is easily the biggest movie of 2012 happening shortly, British actor Richard Armitage must be in the process of preparing to forever be immortalized in film history as a dwarf. Not just your usual pint-sized, axe-wielding dwarf, who loves to chug mead as much as he does cutting down paths of savage orcs. Armitage portrays Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, who is king to all dwarfs in Middle-Earth. For anyone familiar with Tolkien’s universe, this is a big deal; and for those who are unknowing of Peter Jackson’s first movie in his prequel trilogy to Lord of the Rings, Armitage is going to be the guy who’s onscreen for the majority of all the three movies.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is going to be a massive film, as both a money-earning machine of revenue and a famous piece of extravagant fantasy fiction come to life. No one is caught more aware of this than Armitage himself. We recently had a chance to join him at a roundtable interview in downtown Toronto to discuss the film and everything that accompanies such a global phenomenon like it.
Check it out below.
We Got This Covered: What did you enjoy most about playing Thorin the the film?
Richard Armitage: I really liked learning to fight in a specific way, I liked using that sword because it’s shaped in the way that it is. It kind of has a motion of its own, it’s very hard to control and once you get it moving it does its own thing.
We Got This Covered: What was it like transitioning from a BBC miniseries like Robin Hood to one of the biggest trilogies of this decade?
Richard Armitage: A lot more money! I suppose the amount of people who work on it it feels bigger, but Peter made the film incredibly intimate. There’s much more time to experiment with the character, which I think why so many actors crave working in film. You get to develop your character further and there’s time to push yourself further with the character, and I really felt that Peter allowed me to do that.
We Got This Covered: How overwhelming was it for you on your first day on set?
Richard Armitage: My first day on the set I wasn’t actually filming. But I had to stand in front of the entire company, cast and crew who were giving us a welcoming ceremony. I was more terrified of that than actually the filming. You get onto set and there are 200 people and then behind the curtain are another 200 people on computers. But when you get to the nucleus of Pete’s film set, it’s just you and him and other actors. Once you’re inside of the character, especially if your playing a character of relatively high status that I was, then your just become him. It was important to me to walk on set and have the crew believe that this character was a king, and I tried to protect that as much as I could.
We Got This Covered: How did you approach the difference between the younger and older versions of Thorin?
Richard Armitage: I wanted him to move faster, and fight in more efficient way as he grew older. He know what he’s doing on the battlefield, and I wanted his voice to be lighter. I actually wanted him to smile, because as an old man his burdens are so heavy he doesn’t get to crack a smile too often.
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