When meeting someone new, proper introductions must be made. But one fellow had gone maddeningly without appellation until Monday. Of course, I refer to the teacher character that British actor Richard Armitage portrays in Todd Garner’s tornado movie filming now and set to release in 2013, titled “Black Sky”.
Speculation abounded as to the character’s name –especially as pictures of RA in character started to trickle out from “Black Sky” producer Todd Garner on his Twitter account @Todd_Garner:
Being a curious soul, I took the direct route and simply asked Mr. Garner in a tweet if we might know Richard Armitage’s character’s name. And he kindly replied:
@GratianaL: @GratianaL @Todd_Garner Any hints on Mr. Armitage’s character’s name? RA kind of looks like a “Greg” to me. Close – Gary
Okay, Gary it is. But we still don’t have a surname. So, urged on by others enthused with my supposed name guessing prowess–Gary and Greg both start with G, but that’s where the similarity ends, Ha!–I decided to go ahead and try guessing RA’s character’s surname. And my name Gratiana also starts with a G. So maybe I was just subconsciously choosing a name that might blend well with my own–Greg/Gary and Grati, so alliterative. Ha!
And as a story writer myself, I like to choose names for my characters that mesh well with that character’s persona or context. I go to those baby name sites all the time to look up name meanings. For example, Richard means strong, and William means protector. But name meanings only get you so far. How a name sounds is sometimes almost as important as what it means. I feel that names with hard sounding consonants beginning and/or ending them seem more masculine to me–“G’s”, “D’s”, “T’s”, “J’s”, “K’s”, etc. And then there are the plosive consonant sounds that literally “explode” the sound or “stop” the sound–as in “b, d, f, g, k, p, t, etc.–with either bilabial (both lips like a “b, m, p), labia dental (lips and teeth, like an “f”), or lingua dental (tongue and teeth like “th, and sh”) that can often sound edgy–and masculine. Whereas as feminine sounding names to me might have more vowel sounds or fricative consonant sounds–“a, e, I, o u, y” and “s, f, h, sh,” respectively.
Now before you start thinking that I am a “Henrietta Higgins” about to embark on a gender bending “My Just Gentleman”–hey, that’s not a bad idea for a new story, Snap! Ha!–I should admit and aver that I was a Communication major and English Literature minor in college. And in my Senior year I studied the sounds of the English language in a wonderful elective course called Phonetics. I learned how to translate the sounds of the human voice into written characters such that I could replicate the sounds later. Being able to transcribe the sound of the human voice was actually an immeasurably helpful tool when I taught public speaking class to help my students with improving their pronunciations–helping them to hear how they were voicing words. My apologies in my phonetics content memory to anyone who is currently a Speech Pathologist professional.
But I digress. Often, there are other forces at work in selecting a character’s name–an homage to a classical figure of history or literature, a writer or director’s child’s name, or their dog’s name. Seriously. Ha! So here are some name guessing frameworks that I came up with (in no particular order) to help us in our quest for discerning Richard Armitage’s character Gary’s surname:
1. Richard Armitage Central tweet asked if previous RA character names–Porter, Thornton, Gisborne, Standring, Mulligan, etc.–might be choices of mine? I tweeted no. And “we” are “all” somewhat relieved that RA’s character isn’t named John–as it seems like roughly 55% of his characters have been (though we love these characters dearly)–I prefer to shy away from a “self referencing” name for RA’s Gary character. Though his fans love love love all of Mr. Armitage’s John characters. However on Frenz’s blog, someone suggested that Gary means John in Esperanto. Ha! So maybe RA has just increased his John character name percentage. Ha!
2. And we would want to shy away from referencing famous Gary’s because people have predispositions about them that might translate to their assumptions about “this” Gary chaRActer:
a. Garry Marshall (director of Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, Raising Helen, etc.)
b. Actors–Gary Oldham, Gary Cooper, Gary Busey
c. Athletes/musicians–Gary Player (golf); Gary Barlow (composer)
3. We might base our surname guesses on a name that comes from Todd Garner’s life and career as a producer for Broken Road Productions. Gary Todd, Gary Garner, or Gary Boom? Nah. Ha!
4. How about a surname that references Richard Armitage’s life and career? Gary Lester, Gary Pattison, Gary Richards, Gary Johns, Gary Bond, or Gary London, etc? A few of these might be possible. And of course the Gary Johns name would be priceless–on a couple of levels. Ha!
5. Or we could think logically and strategically and always go for the obvious eponymous name choices. Basing Richard Armitage’s character Gary’s surname upon what we know about the role from RANet’s Aug. 17th news posting–we want a name worthy of:
a. a teacher–Gary Aarons, Gary Learned, Gary Class, Gary Book, Gary Latimer, etc.
b. a father–Gary Williams, Gary Abbot, Gary Patterson, Gary Fitzgerald
c. an American, from Oklahoma (using a few county names) –Gary Adair, Gary Beckham, Gary Blaine, Gary Bryan, Gary Carter, Gary Craig, Gary Custer, Gary Greer, Gary Harper, Gary Hughes, Gary Logan, Gary Mayes, Gary Noble, Gary Payne, Gary Rogers, Gary Stephens, Gary Tillman
So here are my favorite suggestions of U.S. sounding surnames for Richard Armitage’s Gary character in the film “Black Sky” from the various naming schemes above:
A. Gary Logan–I like Logan because it uses the “g” sound in it as a complement to the “g” sound in the first name, thus creating a strong sounding surname.
B. Gary Lattimer–related to RA’s role as a teacher
C. Gary Harper–an Okie county
D. Gary Mayes–an Okie county
E. Gary Rogers–an Okie county that also has a strong sounding “g” in it
F. Gary Stephens, or the slightly preferred Stevenson–due to the strong sounding “v”
G. Gary Noble–I’m guessing that Richard Armitage’s character will rise above his regular everyday existence as he endeavors to find and save his sons from the tornado’s wrath–thus enobling him. Though this might be too eponymous a name. Ha!
Please feel free to “vote” for the surname suggestions above–A to G–or provide your own suggestions in the comments. And please share why you like a particular surname for “Gary”!
And who knows when the “Black Sky” producer Todd Garner might reveal Richard Armitage’s character Gary’s real surname. Personally, I doubt if we will hear anything right away. Mr. Garner seems to be strategically parceling out the film tidbits about once a week. So, Richard Armitage’s character Gary’s real surname is something to look forward to. Snap!
P.S. And I have to include here the lovely and fun mock movie poster that bccmee (of bccmee’s Richard Armitage Vids & Graphics blog fame) created on July 12, 2012–before the current movie title of “Black Sky” was known. Her movie was titled “Tornado of Love”:
Richard Armitage fans were particular pleased to see that the tornado had blown off all of RA’s British television series Spooks (Series 7-9 from 2008 o 2010) character Lucas North’s tattoos. Ha!
P.S. And for guys like my husband who are mesmerized by the power of tornadoes–from a distance and hoping that tornadoes don’t do damage to people and property–here is a wiki link for more about tornadoes. Geek yourself out! Ha!