7/18/08

Thoughts on Robin Hood & Hero Guys

Wherein I talk about cute guy and post pictures of them. Good times.

I've taken to watching the newest BBC television version of "Robin Hood," which I've decried here before. Now I shall proceed to make a mid-morning snack of my words, as I'm finding the series intensely entertaining and hilarious. It's great fun, especially since "Doctor Who" has taught me to refrain from taking the Beeb's family offerings too seriously.

Richard Armitage as John ThorntonNow as most of you know, I've developed a somewhat adoring crush on Richard Armitage--or so I thought. My lineage of obsessive posts goes on and on and on and bloody on. But I must say, I've decided that I'm not a fan of actors; I'm a fan of their work. When I say "I like so-and-so," it's a shorthand for whatever memorable role made me sit up and take notice.

Damian Lewis as Captain WintersHow many times have I watched a film featuring an actor whose previous role I've adored, only to find other performances equally true to character--but true to a thoroughly disgusting character? To name a few: Damian Lewis in Keane or The Forsythe Saga is no Captain Winters. Ralph Fiennes in Red Dragon is no Count Almasy. Cillian Murphy in The Way We Live Now is no Jim from 28 Days Later (although I admired his villainous performance in Red Eye). Oh, and Colin Firth as nasty ass Vermeer is no Mr. Darcy. Hella no.

And Richard Armitage in "Robin Hood" is certainly no John Thornton.

Richard Armitage as Guy of GisborneI know some people still dig his role, all growly and brooding and bad tempered, but I say phooey to that. Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne is utterly unheroic. He's about a gazillion feet taller than everyone else, all black-leather clad and wearing delicious eyeliner to compliment already insanely lashed eyes. But his character is entirely emasculated. When he's angsty, he just comes across as spineless and whiny, not tortured-but-noble like Thornton. He's the sheriff's lackey, always making poor choices so that Keith Allen can metrosexually showboat. And he's Robin's folly, which means he's destined to lose. Every time. I mean, it's not the Guy of Gisborne show. He's a villain, and villains are thwarted.

Jonas Armstrong as Robin HoodOn the flip side, I find Jonas Armstrong's twiggy little arms and smug shit-eating grin intensely annoying--in real life. His appearance on "Buzzcocks" about made me want to swear off my current penchant for fancying younger men. Almost. But his turn as Robin Hood is wry, cute, clever, flavorful, and utterly charming. It's the part. He gets to make chivalrous decisions and bear weighty, heroic, masculine burdens. He's the hero, and I totally go for heroes--irregardless, apparently, of what skinny no-account punk plays them. Oh, but wait, I've been totally going for skinny guys lately. Yay!

Which makes me think that my admiration and appreciation for actors is constrained primarily to their craft. I'm not the kind to follow people around and learn everything about them--not anymore, anyway. Years ago, I used to know Josh Brolin and Ty Miller's birthdays, but one too many interviews threatened to spoil the illusion they put forth every week as Jimmy Hickok and The Kid. (And soon Brolin will play El Presidente in Oliver Stone's "W," which is enough to retroactively do injury to my 13-year-old self.) No fun. I want to believe in the illusion. And I want the good guys to win.

David TennantSo will I love Daniel Craig as a non-Bond or John Barrowman as a non-Jack Harkness? Maybe not. Will I love David Tennant in whatever he chooses to do next? Could be no. After all, he won't be the Doctor. (Although if rumors are true and he plays the Riddler in Chris Nolan's next Batman installment, I will pee my pants.) Will I love whatever Richard Armitage decides to do after "Robin Hood"? Only if he more closely resembles John Thornton. But that's no fun for the actor, and it shouldn't be any fun for us as viewers. Typecasting makes everybody unhappy, because we're just looking to recapture the magic of a previous, beloved role--and that can't happen. Not really.

Does that make me a fickle, complex bitch? Dunno. Gonna watch another episode of "Robin Hood" and smile, rooting for the good guys to kick Gisborne's ass.

What about you? Is it the actor or the part? Are there parts that made you take notice of someone you previously didn't fancy? Vice versa? I'm wondering how everyone else processes all this tasty make-believe.

I want something
I want everything, I want nothing--
Nothing else.
I want someone, almost anyone--
We can believe it.
Be my hero.
"
Be My Hero" by October Project

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