The January 5, 2020 London Sunday Times has a new interview article with the talented and prolific British actor Richard Armitage –ostensibly as a promo for his new play of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” — that covers old and new territory. Richard Armitage is currently in rehearsals to portray Dr. Astrov. The Sunday Times interview gives a retrospective of Richard Armitage’s career over the last sixteen years—from 2004’s North & South to the present day.
And though Richard Armitage mentions that he feels that his peak was with The Hobbit trilogy films (2012, 2013, 2014)—with the international acclaim, the Hollywood style world premieres, and such—the depth and breadth over Richard Armitage’s long career, and since then, has certainly continued to be on the rise in film, tv, audiobooks, podcasts, and now again the stage, with “Uncle Vanya”. So at 48 years old, and with over twenty years honing his craft, Richard Armitage is only at the midpoint of what will no doubt continue to be a varied and fulfilling career for him.
I felt that this interview took a fresh look at Richard Armitage’s career in total—mostly due to his own introspective reflections conveying nuanced interpretations. So though some familiar themes weave their threads throughout the interview–of Richard Armitage being a detailed and an explosive dramatic actor, a heartthrob (which he seems to be perennially embarrassed by), and him finding his roles transformative professionally and personally—his view of his Dr. Astrov character’s perspective in “Uncle Vanya” as being so future oriented that the present and his place in it escapes him gave him another new insight into himself:
“It’s interesting that he’s [Dr. Astrov] an outsider in the play. I’ve often felt like that myself in life. I’m quite a solitary person.”
So one question remains yet unanswered with this interview. Will Richard Armitage’s portrayal of Dr. Mikhail Astrov (RA’s first Michael role?) in “Uncle Vanya”—with its undercurrent of romantic emotions, times four (Astrov, Yelena, Sonya, and Vanya)—will Richard Armitage’s performance banish or burnish his heartthrob image? We’ll have to wait and see.
For more about the play, and to visit, see:
“Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre, London SW1, January 14–May 2; unclevanyaplay.com “
P.S. And since I’m not likely to be able to fly across the pond to see “Uncle Vanya”, I do hope that Digital Theatre steps up and films it—as they did for Richard Armitage’s 2014 tour de force Olivier nominated performance in “The Crucible”.
Image thanks (in order) to: The Sunday Times interview article; and Mat Khal for Richard Armitage in Uncle Vanya.