For those few folks needing more proof (assuming they still exist) that big budgets aren’t essential to good moviemaking, I present to you Brendan Muldowney’s “Pilgrimage”, a beautiful and propulsive medieval thriller anchored in 13th century European complexity and brutality. With a meager budget of just over $5 million, “Pilgrimage” looks and plays out better than many of its […]
EXCLUSIVE: Richard Armitage has joined the cast of Julie Delpy’s My Zoe, which is being sold at the EFM in Berlin by Protagonist Pictures. He’ll join Daniel Brühl, Lior Ashkenazy and child actor Sophia Ally in the pic, which is written and directed by Delpy and produced by Philomena and The Invisible Woman producer Gabrielle Tana. Armitage, who’s renowned for playing Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, will play the role of James, the ex-husband of…
It was German Intelligence officer Esther Krug (portrayed by Mina Tander, below). Below is a cap (Thanks to Book of Esther blogger!; which I brightened) from a clip of Esther leaving the bar (below) after their little testy tete a tete between she and Daniel. Their exchange was the introduction of her character in Berlin Station, episode 2. She disdained him, he patronized her– the stuff of the beginnings of a fitful if not a beautiful relationship.
Might Esther end up being a love interest for Daniel? Sleeping with the enemy, so to speak. Certainly…
Three years ago today I started this blog to say Happy Birthday to Richard. Today it continues, even though so much is different, and yet some things do not change.
Richard, may you drink deep from the well of happiness, good health, and prosperity. May your good friends, and their love, be endless and unconditional. And may you have the most beautiful, productive (or restful,) and glorious of Birthdays!
Happy Birthday Richard Armitage!
A late contribution to Richard Armitage Birthday Week
Shamefully, however, after receiving them (because I have many other books in my “queue” to read), I failed to notice a very special feature about these particular books.
I had tucked them away to await their turn in my queue, but auspiciously, while I was moving the books a few days ago, Outlander fell open to reveal a unique concept of giving which is labeled and detailed on the inside cover.
These series of books have been entered in a program which is designed to encourage book sharing. The books’ participation – all initiated and perpetuated by Arkie – have been labeled with custom-made sticker labels that each carry ID numbers for tracking and information on this share program. Each book’s new owners are encouraged by the sticker to seek out the website www.BookCrossing.com, where the its specific travel history can be obtained and a new owner can continue on the tradition.
After being clued in to the fact that there was more “gift” beneath their covers, I spoke with Arkie about this program and her participation, where more was learned on her passion for reading, writing and sharing.
CC: I just adore my new books! Please tell me how BookCrossing.com came to your attention and when did you join the program?
TA: My husband gave me a Nook as a Mother’s Day gift in 2010, with the intention of ridding our house of the over-abundance of books. Let me step back for a second, not only did I have new books, but I also collect pre-1950 hardback books. Why pre-1950? Because there are less of them. My oldest is an 1853 Fifth Grade Primer. Think about it. 31 States. No Civil War, No Abraham Lincoln. Franklin Pierce was President. Potato Chips weren’t invented until August, 1853. There were also less words per page. Anyway, he knew I wouldn’t get rid of the old books. For the next few months, I gave several boxes to the local library, but they didn’t have the room for any more. I sent my paperback books to the Veterans Association or Wounded Warriors. One day I was searching the Internet for some books for my Nook and happened to see an advertisement for BookCrossing.com. The rest as they say is history.
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
CC: Aside from signing up, what is the process for participating in the program as you understand it?
TA: It’s really that easy. You don’t have to have books to share. You can look for books that are available and request them. It’s a sharing site to get people to read. It’s a chance to read an author you might have heard of and not read. I think there’s probably more books there that people have never heard of than you can imagine.
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
CC: When did you first read the books/become a fan of Diane Gabaldon? What made you choose, or wish to share, these books in particular?
TA: I have always been a fan of science fiction and fantasy. When “Outlander” came out in 1991, I bought it. I read it in 3 days. I couldn’t put it down. I bought every one of the series as soon as it hit the stores. I didn’t wait for the paperback. I really thought I would keep them forever. Then when word got out that Starz was making a series, my first reaction was “Oh no. I have to cart those heavy tomes around, when I’m now using a Nook?” I decided since I was going to buy the ebook version, that I didn’t need to keep 12 pounds of books around. I first put them on BookCrossing.com in a controlled release, simply because there were so many copies of the Outlander series already listed. That way I could hold them and not feel obligated to set them out someplace. They were in pristine condition.
CC: Yes, the books are indeed in pristine condition, and I do plan to keep them that way until I put them back into circulation. So how many books would you say you read a year?
TA: Easier to ask me how many books I read in a week. If the book is good, I will read it in a day. I’ve been known to read a book a day. So on an average, I would say probably in the neighborhood of 200, more or less. I will read almost everything and almost anything.
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
CC: Shamefully I could never keep up with you as such a prolific reader. But I think we may mutually know of a certain someone who might come close to that when he’s not working, hm? So, when did Richard Armitage come into your own sightlines?
TA: Probably 2011. My husband was channel-surfing and we came across Robin Hood. As someone once said, “I rooted for the wrong side.” I didn’t really get into the whole “Armitage Army” until later, but I did look him up on the Internet and checked out a few of his fan websites. I was amazed at their dedication to him. That is until Gandalf opened the door to him at Bilbo’s house. Thorin Oakenshield pretty much turned my whole world upside down.
The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
CC: So was it then that began reading fan fiction containing the characters portrayed by Richard Armitage, or does it go further back to other characters/fandoms?
TA: I didn’t read fan-fiction before I wrote fan-fiction. There are a couple of series I read now.
CC: How long have you been writing yourself? Is there a site that we can go to?
TA: I wrote my first fan-fiction in June 2013. I post on a couple of sites, Wattpad and DreamerFiction. Wattpad is easy to register on. Dreamer Fiction you have to be invited to join. It’s a little more selective. [Note: Dreamer Fiction is a private chat forum site. Joining requires a referral from an existing member and is for those aged 18 and over.]
CC: Would you like to mention specific fan-fiction writers that you adore and/or recommend?
TA: There are some really good writers out there. My absolute favorite is Morrighan’s Muse. She wrote a serial called “A Willing Heart” that was my first fan-fiction story that I could not get enough of. She’s writing a serial now called “Every Fifth Living Thing”. It’s amazing. A publisher soon is going to notice her. Zeesmuse is another one. She wrote a story called “Manna From Heaven.” It was yummy.
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
CC: What are your favorite fan-fiction sites?
TA: There are several fan-fiction sites. I wouldn’t want to say which are better than any of the others, since they are all different in their own unique way. Some are more geared to teens and band fan-fiction. Some are geared to slash fiction. Some are soft porn or are fairly racy.
An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
CC: Anything else specific you want to share or say?
TA: Just a couple of things. One, share. Share your knowledge. I am amazed every day to hear that our children know so little about our country and the world. Ask your children some simple history questions. See what they are learning in school. Share your books. There are still people out there who cannot read because books are not available to them. There are soldiers and sailors serving our country who would be thrilled to have a paperback to read. They don’t even care what it is. Some of those same veterans are in hospitals recovering from injuries who wish they had something to read to pass the time.
Lastly, thanks for taking the time to listen to me ramble on.
Where The Arkenstone can be found, amongst other treasures of course –
Olga Levina (SceithAilm) has completed all the elements of her 2014 Geek Calendar in time for printing and gift giving. She has made her Hi-Res images available to all – and not just this blog – essentially gifting it to her fans, as well as the fans of the Artists depicted. The images are high quality and print beautifully in 11″ x 17″! (see below)
(To view higher resolution – click each linked image, then click to enlarge; right-click to save image)
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – january – benedict cumberbatch, khan
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – february – tom hiddleston, loki
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – march – benedict cumberbatch, sherlock holmes
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – april – helena bonham carter, mrs. lovett
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – may – tilda swinton, gabriel
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – june- gary oldman, dracula
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – july – johnny depp, capt. jack sparrow
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – august – richard armitage, sir guy of gisborne
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – september – alan rickman, severus snape
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – october – tom hiddleston, adam
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – november – natalie portman, princess padmé amidala
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – december – richard armitage, thorin oakenshield
The printing of this calendar on 11″ x 17″ calendar paper, including cover stock and binding, cost approximately $16 each at Office Max, which made great gifts for the holidays – including for yours truly.
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm, as printed by crystalchandlyre
2014 geek calendar by sceithailm – calendar boys – richard armitage, mr. august & mr. december as printed by crystalchandlyre
Artist, Olga Levina – SceithAilm. Friend/Follow her at:
“I visited the Waitomo Caves and saw the glowworms. I skied down Mount Ruapehu. I skied at Queenstown and all of the ski locations there. I skied at Mount Hutt. I took a helicopter out to White Island. I took a helicopter to the Milford Sound.” – Richard Armitage
Return to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Los Angeles Premiere
My drive to Hollywood was an auspicious one, being that one of the visions when approaching the event was the very beautiful image of the Gothic First Hollywood Methodist Church silhouetted by a sunset backdrop. The sky looked as if on fire.
Because I was apprehensive about actually going at first, my very first reaction when I first arrived at the Premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was surprise at the relative sparseness of fans in attendance. I was actually both relieved and a little dismayed.
For my own sake, I was relieved because I do not do well with crowds. For the sake of the filmmakers and planners of such an event, I was dismayed because crowds make a premiere appear more successful. At the time I did not realize that LA people – like me – actually really do know how it works. If you come too early, you wait around a lot. If you come too late, you miss a good spot. Like most anything, timing is everything. It was also a work/school day, so many were probably still commuting. The fact that I got lucky in that respect was probably pure kismet, or just good timing.
But later, I would find that there were indeed more people than had met my eyes at that moment.
After securing a spot or two, with one retained in absentia by persuading some kind folk to look after a much-needed chair that I appropriated from another level – for a stranger who has had two knee surgeries and simply cannot stand for what might become hours – I then wandered the complex more to enjoy seeing the people, scenery and possibly find an even better vantage point.
bofur cosplay at the hobbit: the desolation of smaug los angeles premiere – the hollywood and highland
I walked toward the front entryway, and virtual proscenium, to the street where the Black Carpet actually makes a right-hand turn into the complex and towards the Oscar steps. On my way I was pleasantly pleased to encounter a cosplay “Bofur”, who indicated that he was making his way to his own “Thorin” and in the direction I was headed. We emerged out onto the Hollywood Boulevard section that was now transformed into the carpeted and dressed “Hollywood Hobbit Greeting” for fans, paparazzi and guest talent that were to walk the 8 foot wide ebony ribbon laid out before them.
cosplay at the hobbit: the desolation of smaug los angeles premiere – the hollywood and highland – elves and dwarves certainly can be friends – legolas, tauriel, thorin and bofur
Bofur and I were then greeted by his friends Tauriel, Legolas and, of course, Thorin, who were holding court at the barricades and on the Walk of Fame Stars beneath our feet. Naturally, I begged permission to take photographs, which they graciously allowed. Immediately thereafter, the now increasing crowds descended in such a way that let me know I had broken the ice enough to want ask and take pictures themselves.
I then walked up and down the elaborate setup that was just now filling with photographers in mid-setup in preparation for the onslaught. Their onslaught.
The Real Hollywood
I would later hear what Benedict Cumberbatch would have to say about that very bank of paparazzi, which dismayed me. I think Los Angeles press photographers are getting meaner and pushier with the years of living in this town, and I think it is beyond sad and embarrassing. Nothing is more pathetic than saying to the world “You are welcome here as long as you do exactly what I want and I get what I want from you.”
screen cap – live stream, the hobbit: desolation of smaug los angeles premiere
As a kinder, gentler Angelina, for the most part, I would just like to say here to people visiting Los Angeles from other countries, that as rude as people can get here – or as shallow also as they might appear to be – on the whole we are really not all of us that bad. We can greet openly occasionally, share smiles and stories, and – thank goodness – even willingly save seats for strangers. We like tourists and visitors and do not see them as a hindrance or bothersome. We really do love our guests.
The is an unfortunate reality, however, there is just no room for them to stay permanently. The town is more than full and over-flowing and that overcrowding is making people mean and bitter, especially in regards to auto traffic. As nice as the weather is here, and as pretty as some of the people and specific places might be, it really is an ugly place. We hide the ugly as much as possible, like one would sweep dust under the carpet or hastily stash away junk in the closet or beneath the bed.
the hobbit: desolation of smaug los angeles premiere black carpet – “Giant Eagle” eye view.
The “real” Hollywood is actually not in Hollywood at all. It is in Burbank, Century City, Culver City and a smattering of other outlying areas. The traffic connecting those parts of Los Angeles, the even more cluttered downtown area, and the vast, outlying urban-suburban sprawl spanning miles outside Los Angeles proper, is beyond unnerving, unhealthy, and down-right often dangerous.
And there is truth in the fact that we never walk anywhere if we can help it and we may never get to actually know our neighbors after living next to them for years. These truths probably seems odd to the rest of the world, and sometimes to me as well, but the reasons for it are not fear or – in the case of the latter – unfriendliness. From my perspective, it has been that when a complete stranger approaches in most instances, my first thought is often that they want something from me or they want to sell me something. Those are the pitfalls of living in a sprawling, stranglingly crowded, and fast city such as this one. But there it is.
hollywood boulevard as viewed from the hollywood and highland – wikipedia image
This town taints and is tainted in ways beyond the effects of mere traffic frustration, and in ways that are just too numerous to fully describe. However, when I know there are tourists or folk who nearest me, and for an event such as the Premiere, with an almost unified purpose I have a tendency to force passed my shyness and push out the graciousness within me – both the “Virgo” willingness to be of service and the person proud to welcome someone who is possibly visiting for the first time. I want visitors to have the best experience possible when here, especially when I hear they have saved all their lives and/or traveled thousands of miles just to come here. It is then that want to show them what is actually beautiful, as well as what they would most like to see. Of course, since I have not a vested financial interest in it, I could care less that they bring money or business. They do. But better still, they go home retaining the memories of a place that I call home, so I would only wish them the best experience.
Like that of Jed Brophy, I have a pride in my home town that I would want to share with a visitor. But unlike Los Angeles, Jed’s home has far more breathing room and likely better air to do so.
After I left Bofur, Thorin and friends, I made my way back into the complex, taking elevators and escalators to the upper levels to scout, sight-see and people watch. Throughout my wandering, several people asked me to take pictures of them against the Hollywood sky line, such as the one above, of which I obliged gladly. I was relieved to find that many people had gathered further and were littered throughout the upper levels of the complex. Many preferred the birds-eye views that were afforded them, looking down into the sprawl below and taking in the glittering and sparkling scenery that culminated both the Hollywood strip, skyline, and Hobbit Premiere finery.
the hobbit: desolation of smaug los angeles premiere – black carpet inside the hollywood and highland
I was beyond elated.
To the folks who watched the online streaming, and to the actors and talent who walked the black carpet and “might” see this report, there was no way you would have know about the masses above you. If you were on the carpet and looked up, you might have seen some faces from way above looking down, but that would not have given you a complete grasp of the volume of people there.
After doing my own sightseeing, I made my way back to my spots, where one was thankfully still available.
I stood with a young woman of whom I thought was a photographer, but when asked she said “No, just a fan.” She had been getting eagle-eye zoom shots down from the upper level of the receiving line. I asked who she had gotten pictures of and asked specifically about Richard. She was not sure who was who in the initial arrivals, but said that a actor pulled up in an ostentatious yellow Lamborghini. My instincts thought No, but I described Richard anyway. From my description, she thought it might be him. She further described what he wore, that he was tall, and seemed to be very “all about himself” as she put it. I just that couldn’t be. So she showed me a picture, although slightly blurry, where it was confirmed that it indeed was not Richard. But I knew who it was. The who had emerged from the yellow Lamborghini was non-other than Manu Bennett.
Waiting for Romeo
My primary vantage point was that of a second level area to the right of the entrance way, or the right-most area as seen from the Live Streaming cameras. It was almost my very own “Juliet Tower” – a common, affectionate term for a small balcony for just such purpose in most theaters – and I settled there for a long time.
dean o’gorman – the hobbit: desolation of smaug los angeles premiere
When things got busy down below, I had taken images that later I would discover were quite good, along with others of course that were, well, not so good. I also discovered some that I had not realized I had indeed gotten – such as that of Dean O’Gorman and Aidan Turner, along with Stephen Fry and Orlando Bloom – the latter image being far to blurry to post, but in existence none-the-less.
When it occurred to me that my vantage point was truly not a good one, I moved as fast as I could and made my way through the thongs and towards the Oscar steps.
As luck would have it, I had positioned myself just in time to see the very person I had really come to see – the one who could either make my night, or ruin it, if indeed I had missed even the slightest glimpse of him. But I did indeed get to see him – Richard Armitage – and in a way that may not have been optimum, but still would turn out to be special, even if fleeting.
aidan turner – the hobbit: desolation of smaug los angeles premiere
Seeing Richard at the moment almost made time stop. And it only came to be that when I had actually stopped fiddling with my #@%&ing evil contraption of a camera to observe and “be” there. I watched him ascend the steps where possibly even he, at that moment, may have realized that others of whom he also admires have had actually walked. He may have also realized that millions of fans have walked those steps with also just that very thought in mind. He may have also said his own personal prayers of hope , as I did, that someday he would walk up the those very steps again, and to an awards show that would require him to descend down them while grasping that oh-so-familiar and coveted piece of gold, naked hunk of metal that means far more than its actual monetary value to the one who earns it.
“I had looked directly into his face at one point. No eye contact, but I saw “him” and that too is invaluable…Those of us who have now seen him probably have different takes.
I will say this…where I should have said before, he was both alike and yet different from how I have imagined. Bigger-than-life is difficult to describe about an actor’s persona and physicality when compared to their actual physical being. For instance, some images appear to me to make his head seem larger. His head is better proportioned in reality, at least from my perception.
He is slender, but because I know that images can put “weight” on people, he did not seem any slimmer than in recent images. He is still slimmer than that of North/Bateman, John Porter or Sir Guy, but not skinny.
…I don’t know where he gets that he has a mean face. I saw much boy, and a softness (not fleshy – soft.) And I can now easily see how one might not randomly recognize him on the street, as he has said in interviews. He has the everyman about him – in countenance and looks. This is the truth.”
richard armitage – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug los angeles premiere – live stream screen cap
In that moment I could only lament that the time was indeed so fleeting. My own memory retention may not be the best – and often escapes me, and disappoints others almost as much as it disappoints me – but in this respect I can honestly say I am not embellishing or creating any new memories based on images seen in print, online, or on any screen – these memories are mine and they are unusually strong. This is probably because I wish to hold onto them so desperately, and I am consciously working to be sure that none are added to by other input.
When he walked up the stairs, and I stopped my useless and wasteful fiddling, I watched him ascend and felt nothing but pride and admiration. For someone who is a complete stranger really to me – as I to him – this is possibly viewed as an odd, almost disjointed reaction to someone reading my recollection from the outside. Probably. Although I don’t care really, I am still aware, acutely, of how it must look to observe a stranger so intently.
I think I comforted to know, as he has relayed in interviews – even recently – that Richard may practiced or experienced something like this himself, over someone he admires even now or has idolized in the past.
This thought gives me comfort really, even if there is a chance that it’s not true to the same extent in which I feel my admiration for him.
denny’s – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug promotional menu – link to theonering.net article
When everything was done, at least as far as I was concerned for myself, I headed east with the intention to get something to eat and maybe write. Once I secured a location (I almost went to Denny’s but I decided I really just wanted to get out of Hollywood.) So I settled on a place that I was more comfortable with, and closer to my own home, with the intention to have dinner and go home to write more.
I hardly ate a thing, just having a glass of wine and a partial bowl of soup, because I write the entire time I am there – essentially closing down the place because I was committed (obsessed?) to relaying as much as possible. But still, I was forced to cut it short at least to the point where I had an ending and could post in a reasonable amount of time relative to the event, unlike this one.
leena tailor (@leenaNZ & @koolkiwis), her friend abbey, and orlando bloom – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug after party – dolby theatre
If I had had both the tenacity and energy to stay, I might have eaten instead there at the Hollywood and Highland to wait out the premiere exit and sought the after party.
There’s always an after party.
This could have been in one of several places, with the more likely being The Highland, the Grand Ballroom that normally holds the Governor’s Ball/Oscar Post Party or another ballroom immediately adjacent to the theater.
But wherever the location, it was there that Twitter friend and Freelance Journalist, Leena Tailor of @koolkiwis, along with her friend Abbey, indeed ventured to seek out the premiere goers. Although she indicated that she had seen Richard at one point, it was there that was able to connect with a Middle Earth Elf, rather than a Middle Earth Dwarf this time.
As with any post I do – and this is each and every time – I never know if anyone will ever even read it, much less find anything I have to say interesting. But I go ahead post, looking forward to any comments that might come my way that might express pleasure in what I have written.
I was floored and overwhelmed at the response to my initial story. The fact that I had more to say didn’t really occur to me until after I was prompted in comments by others, which was after a comment or two posted later that contained more of my reflections and memories.
So here it is in total. There really is no more. My hope, once again, is that what memories I was able to retain, and what few synaptic connections I still have been able, might afford any remaining interest in what I have to say still and nearly almost three days after the fact.