OMG Kiss Me, Richard Part II – The Popcorn Taxi Pre-Interview

RA QA inquiring

When posted the transcript of the Sydney Q&A by Richard Armitage they included a post-interview interview with Oscar Hillerstrom, the man who did the Q&A interview. Here is an excerpt:

Oscar Hillerstrom: No, this is the first time we’ve worked with Richard. But, at the same time, I had a chat with him yesterday and I found him remarkably candid, very thoughtful, and a straight forward actor. It’s really interesting when you talk to him just as a normal human being how you see the qualities of Thorin onstage come through him. But, at the same time he’s just a regular guy who is very interested in the craft of acting, and that kind of thing really comes out on stage. I think he is fascinating. 

When the Popcorn Taxi pre-interview with Mr. Armitage came out today, I thought of the post-interview with Oscar Hillerstrom. And, in fact, OH mentions that he “had a chat” with RA the day before. Interesting. So the day before when RA was doing all those interviews in Sydney, Popcorn Taxi/Oscar Hillerstrom also interviewed him. That interview  there, (but it doesn’t seem to be working properly, so from

There is a lot in this interview that is interesting. The silly bit about “Well, I don’t think they’re all ladies”, obviously meaning that some of his fans are men. And his assessment that his fans are well-educated and well-read. And that he “tries to look after them (us)”. How does he look after his fans? Curious.  Is it that he tries to keep a low profile so we won’t be ashamed of him? Or is it that he picks parts “we” would approve of? Or does he work very hard so we will be proud of him? I don’t know.

I think he needs to do a little more internet research into his fanbase. He will find that many of his fans are not the well-educated “ladies” he thinks they are – and definitely no insult meant by that! It’s just that he is a world-class star now, and his fanbase is very broad-based, not just the North & South ladies he seems to think about. I guess that will be a big leap for him. He is so self-deprecating. I guess that is his way of dealing with all the attention.

But now I understand what Oscar Hillerstrom meant by RA being “candid”. The pre-interview above certainly shows RA being brutally honest about the way he feels about himself. I don’t think many actors would be that honest. They probably would give glib answers about fans, and getting the role of a lifetime. But dear RA is as honest as he can be. Sweet man.

Thanks to for the Popcorn_Taxi interview.



From New York City. Anglophile, theater-goer, love books, music and LIFE.
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32 Responses to OMG Kiss Me, Richard Part II – The Popcorn Taxi Pre-Interview

  1. Servetus says:

    I don’t get why people are so tense about the “well-educated” thing, although it’s clear that many are. I think this is pretty well consistent with a lot of stuff he’s said in the past about his fans and about himself in the past; he’s repeats a number of things that he has made about himself in the past being boring (saying that he is a DIY geek and just wants to stay home, for instance, is something he said in the runup to Spooks). “I try to look out for them” is more or less a regurgitation of stuff he was saying in 2006-7 about trying to pay special attention to his fans (msgs and so on) so that we feel a little special / know he cares. Very little new here except the comment about perhaps not all being ladies, which is very ambiguous IMO. He might have meant, some are men, he might have meant, some are not ladylike. Not clear from context. Which is just fine.

  2. Servetus says:

    I really think it’s not in his interest to say much about what he “knows” about fans and I’m always amazed that people really want him to. That would be a huge PR mistake, IMO, given the boundaries he seems to want to maintain. He’s run afoul of a situation in the past where one group of fans implied that they had some special connection that others did not have.

    • marieastra8 says:

      OK, I guess. But don’t you think the “well-educated, well-read” trope is a mistake, too? Why give the impression that you only appeal to a small segment of the population? That’s not in his best interests, I think.

      • Servetus says:

        No, I think that was *very, very, very* smart of him. (Mr Armitage, if you’re reading this, way to go.) It was an explicit wave to his core legacy fans who supported him in the early days and kept him an Internet presence when he was doing not very interesting projects after N&S. It was a way of saying to a group of people who have repeatedly expressed their frustration with him in different ways that he is grateful to them and still cares about them. It was in the same vein as the msg last November thanking people sticking with him for all this time. If he reads “Richard Armitage Confessions” he knows that people from that group were saying “look back at us” and every time he says something like that, he is expressing thanks to the people who supported him from the beginning of his career.

        New fans are not going away. Hobbit fans are not going away. Those audiences are only going to grow. He has three films coming out in the next two years that appeal to young / fantasy audiences.

        Armitage is now under the wing of one of the primary mgmt agencies in Hollywood, and he has his mom reading his fan mail, and he meets fans all the time. So he most likely has a way better idea of who his fans are than most of us, because he gets the fan mail and meets the fans and hears the reports from his mgmt people.

      • marieastra8 says:

        Well, yeah, but you’re a legacy fan. 😀 As a “Hobbit” fan, I think he could move on a bit. It would be nice if he said, yes, I’ve gotten a lot more fans since the Hobbit, bless them. 😀 LOL As a “well-educated, well-read” fan, I would like to think that he was including me in his fanbase, but I know that there are lots more out there that don’t relate to that. But maybe they don’t read these interviews as obsessively as some of us? Look, not criticizing him. At all. He is a sweetie! And fully capable of looking after his best interests! 😀

      • Servetus says:

        No, I’m not a legacy fan, sorry 🙂 and I’m actually someone who was regularly blamed by legacy fans for why he talked to fans less than he had before (people like me are too outrageous, too blatant, too shocking). BUT I really, really appreciate that he takes the opportunity to say thanks to his fans at all and to people who have supported him from the beginning, even if his debt to those fans is less than some of them might think. Also, if in fact his next project ends up being something “from literature,” it’s *those* fans, and not necessarily the younger, Hobbit, fantasy-based crowd, to whom that project will appeal.

        IF you think that “not all of them are ladies” means “some of my fans are male,” however, then he did take a huge step in acknowledging new fans, because he’s never, ever said that before when describing his fan base. In fact, when asked if he’s had male fans (very rarely), he’s said, not many.

        I don’t care what you think of him — he’s responsible for the consequences of his own speech — but I question interpretations that don’t take context and trajectory into consideration. I think that to understand what he said here we have to consider both context (what he has said in the past about fans) and the questions being asked here. The host is explicitly asking why he has such appeal to women and in that framework, he might be understood to be saying, well, they’re not all women anymore.

        I also think that we have to get away from expecting him to speak to whatever fan segment we are in — it’s a great favor to us that he does this sort of thing in the first place, he doesn’t owe us, he could say much, much less — and we also should not be expecting him to say everything he knows in every situation. Why be frustrated that he didn’t refer to you specifically? (or how you identify yourself?)

        I guess in general I don’t get the mood that I’m reading about what was in essence a nice statement that was mostly consistent with things he’s said off and on for years.

      • marieastra8 says:

        I’m just being provocative. I was quite happy with what it was reported that he said about his fans. In fact, it made me feel all warm inside all day. I do consider myself one of them, and lucky for me, I fit the description. He is a sweetie, as I’ve said before.

      • Servetus says:

        well, you succeeded in provoking me, apparently 🙂

      • Servetus says:

        it’s fine, I’m obviously working something out here 🙂 Just hoping to figure out what … 🙂 Eventually …

  3. Talking about context and trajectory of the interview, this is coming from Oscar Hillerstrom, the same person who said “It’s not just a whole bunch of ‘Oh my God – Richard will you kiss me’ fans but thoughtful interesting questions which Popcorn Taxi love for our audience to do so that’s what we saw tonight,” which he said AFTER the Q&A was over.

    Who knows what he was assuming as Richard’s fans during the above interview, which was done BEFORE he saw that his fans weren’t all the ‘OMG Richard will you kiss me’ type at all during the actual Q&A.

    Besides, transcripts also boil down to editing, editing, and more editing. If he released the actual interview (even justnthe audio) where one can hear Richard’s tonal inflections at least, then it would probably answer a few questions more than it raised a whole lot more.

    Sometimes, Richard, less is more.

    Well, that’s my 2 cents right there 🙂

    • marieastra8 says:

      LOL! Yes not having the tonal inflections makes it harder to understand. I love the part where he talks about his phone case! LOL!

    • Servetus says:

      Yes, exactly, MM. I felt like Hillerstrom was really prejudiced against female fans in the first place even before reading this.

      What I’d like to know is — what is the rhetorical position of “God, you know” in the rhythm of those sentences? Was it attached to the preceding statement, or the subsequent one? And did he laugh and smile as he said that? Look down and grin? Sound frustrated?

      • If I were transcribing an interview, I usually omit the “God, you know” part and in this case, it should have been omitted. But that’s me.

        The only way to know the answer to that question is to at least hear the interview. I read this interview knowing I wasn’t going to take it seriously because of the source. And wishing Richard would just rein it in a bit.

        This is the same person i think who (someone wrote) said something about keeping the seats dry (i don’t know who or which blog i read it from but that comment stuck with me) during the Q&A.

      • Servetus says:

        seats=yeah, it’s the same guy and I read that on a blog as well. I have a screen cap of it somewhere. …

        re interviews, this is an interesting problem. I do a lot of fan interviews on my blog, and I exchange them back and forth with the interviewee until I’m satisfied that the interlocutor has been allowed to say exactly what they want to have said. Sometimes that means a certain spontaneity is lost, but OTOH it minimizes accidental misunderstandings.

        Of course, and this is also esp. clear to me after today, people hear what they want to hear …

      • When I did actor interviews, I did no such thing as exchanging transcripts for they did not have the time to do that with a lowly journalist/reporter like me LOL. I recorded everything with their permission though and that’s what I went with.

        And you’re right about people hearing what they want to hear. We are all shaped by our own experiences after all 🙂 and thus our understanding and interpretation of certain things will differ from someone else’s. it’s what makes the world, and the fandom, an interesting place 🙂

        I’m just relieved that I can take a step back from all the Australia interviews because “bearded Richard” is a no go for me 😉 (and there’s that personal experience popping its lovely head!)

      • Servetus says:

        yeah, I know he has no time to do that (and possibly no desire). I’m just saying that there is a way to interview people that makes sure they put their best foot forward. I wouldn’t want to do this kind of interview for love or money, either as interviewer or interviewee.

      • I understood what you meant 😉

        In this case, the interview should have been transcribed better than it ultimately came out.

        And yes, as far as doing this or any kind of actor or director interview, it gets old. After 6 months of it, I tired of it right away. But the perks can be pretty cool 😉

        Press kits sell really well on eBay, too 😉

  4. Servetus says:

    The whole question of “people hear what they want to hear” has a particular twist for me because I reconstruct lost events for a living. I.e., I’m professionally engaged in interpretation, and I’ve developed a series of tools (as every successful working historian must) for first identifying and then undermining his or her own perspective. This doesn’t exempt me as a human from the problem (as I say all the time on my blog) but it means that my take on it is a particular one that’s not shared with a lot of the fans I interact with (and makes certain kinds of conversations frustrating because things that appear obvious to me after analyzing pages and pages and pages of sources have to be explained to people I’m talking to about things). Fandom is really twisting my own interpretive framework around in that sense and I think it’s starting to affect how I do my work.

  5. I think the initial reaction or interpretation in a fandom is pretty basic, visceral, simple – as in it taps into basic wants and needs, desires. The deeper introspection, should it be allowed to happen, happens later though not often, which in your work as a historian is essential and must be unclouded by anything else especially your own opinions and feelings.

    For me, my foray into the RA fandom is clouded by my desire to keep his character of Lucas North as my muse therefore I have to separate the man from the role (although I’m not always successful at it. Which is also why I approach the actor aspect with humor).

    Hope the fandom doesn’t affect your work more than it already has :-/

  6. Servetus says:

    fair enough, and if you want Lucas North as your muse it must be hard to see pictures of Richard Armitage with Kermit the Frog 🙂 no matter how cute.

    re: work — it’s been interesting, I’ll say that much. I don’t think the influence is all bad. For one thing, I’ve started to understand why it is that audiences are so suspicious of academics. We don’t explain what we’re doing because it seems obvious, and what we are doing seems counterintuitive from the common sense perspective of the uninformed, we get ourselves into trouble … The problem is, of course, that most of a general audience doesn’t really want to know about sophisticated analytical tools and how they work. They just want to be told an answer. Preferably, one they like 🙂

    • Ah, but you forget. The Richard with Kermit photo did nothing for me 😉 since Richard + beard = no go for the muse LOL

      True, in academics, all I want is the answer and yes, an answer that I like is most preferable 😉

      • Servetus says:

        yeah, that’s what I meant. Armitage + Kermit is kind of destructive to Lucas North imagery, isn’t it?

      • Yes, it is SO destructive. So destructive it drove me straight to Mads Mikkelsen!

        But like a prayer sent out to the ether, here come the two new Robert Ascroft pics courtesy of Richard Armitage Bulgaria and now my faith has been restored 😉

    • Oh, but stubble is perfectly fine 😉

  7. marieastra says:

    Wow, I went to sleep and this morning I find a whole discussion happened without me! 😀 Great! Hoping for more discussion on other topics. God, you know.

  8. Pingback: Richard Armitage Legenda 79: Stuff worth reading | Me + Richard Armitage

  9. For my mother tongue is not English, I couldn’t understand wholly, but I found reading the give-and-takes you all had were very interesting. So, in one word, what is Servetus’ opinion? and what is morrighansmuse’s?

    • marieastra8 says:

      well, more than one word, but I think what they are discussing is the difference between doing an academic/historical analysis of someone and what they say as opposed to a fan’s reaction to someone and what they say. Fans are less analytical than academics. They react on a more basic level. Fascinating! Thanks for reading the blog and commenting. Love it!

  10. marieastra8 says:

    😀 Oh yeah. I hear you. !

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