The Hobbit Interview: Richard Armitage on Thorin’s Madness
CraveOnline: What is coming next for you? What’s the next project that we’ll see?
Richard Armitage: Well, I’m producing something which hopefully will get shot before the end of next year, which is a true story set in Ireland. I’m not going to give you the title because someone else might grab the idea, but yeah, I’ll be also acting in that piece. It’s a historic piece. But also there’s another possibility next year [called] Pilgrimage, which is an 11th Century Crusade story. I might possibly just be speaking Ancient French.
You’ll be speaking Ancient French?
Ancient French. Yeah, yeah, ancient French.
That’s crazy. Did you need to learn the whole language?
That will be needed of me. But I’ll be playing full height.
That’s really, really cool.
No more dwarves.
“I was fascinated by the biography of Tolkien…”
No more dwarves for you. If they managed to bring you back somehow, because I’m sure they’re eager to keep this franchise going somehow, would you come back?
You know, I don’t really see a possibility of telling any story after this, but if they wanted to do a prequel I think that would be interesting. I think that would be kind of cool to see a fully-fledged prequel of what happened before… I’m thinking of the prologue from the first film, if they expanded that, but who knows?
Do you have a favorite part of this trilogy at this point, or do you see it all as one big piece?
It’s all one big story, but I have to say that one of my favorite moments in the trilogy – and it’s one of my favorite moments in the book – is Riddles in the Dark. I think that when Tolkien created Gollum and the ring, he even expressed in his biography that he never really knew what he created until he went back and looked at it. It gave birth to the entire canon, all of the Lord of the Rings books and all of the legendarium that he created after that all came from that one scene, which, at that point the ring was just incidental. But I just love the scene. I think it’s an absolutely brilliant creation.
Were you a fan of Tolkien’s work before the films or did you have to bone up?
A bit of both, actually. I’d read the books when I was a kid and I was on stage, and it was there throughout my teenage years, but I certainly went back and revisited it all for the movie, and some of the books that I’d never seen before. I was fascinated by the biography of Tolkien by [Humphrey] Carpenter, which really gave me an account of his life that explained why he wrote what he did.
What sort of insight did that give you to Thorin?
I feel like some of his experiences that Tolkien had in World War I, the looming evil that was happening in Europe when the book was published… I just feel that he was talking about that fear of losing one’s home and having to go on a huge quest himself, and knowing what the price of that was. I feel like that was quite an important thing to bear in mind.