Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Richard Armitage Feels One with Thorin, Soon the World Will See Him That Way Too

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Richard Armitage Feels One with Thorin, Soon the World Will See Him That Way Too

Article excerpt

Richard Armitage feels one with Thorin

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TORONTO - It won't be long before it becomes difficult to separate actor Richard Armitage from the character Thorin Oakenshield.

Armitage himself is already there.

The British actor is a familiar face in the U.K. for roles in the BBC dramas "North & South", "Robin Hood" and "Spooks." He's more anonymous in North America, perhaps best known for a small part in the recent hit "Captain America: The First Avenger."

But he'll no doubt soon be synonymous with the dwarf king he plays in the new Peter Jackson epic "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

Having spent some 18 months living as Thorin -- after learning to talk like him, walk like him and looking in the mirror and seeing the face of a dwarf -- Armitage said he lost himself in the character.

So much so that even his sleep was overrun with J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy world.

"I started to dream in character," says Armitage during a recent interview in Toronto to promote the film, which opens Friday.

"I started to have Thorin's dreams, I had dreams of entering Erebor for the first time because that's what he dreams about -- so I had dreams of that."

You might say Armitage began the preparation for his life-changing role as a child, when he had "The Hobbit" read to him in class and became a Tolkien fan.

"I read the book when I was 11 ... I remember picking it up for myself and sitting under the bedsheets with a torch and I really feel like it inspired my imagination. And if I really think back, it's probably one of the reasons why I became an actor, because my imagination was fired and those things that Tolkien really taps into -- the secret doors, the keys, the code words, the scary threat of the darkness -- I think those are the things that really appealed to me as a kid," he recalls.

Fast forward some 30 years later and Armitage again found himself lost in Tolkien's books, after winning the role of Thorin. …

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