A Conversation Between Richard Armitage and Colin Firth
It is the night of the Oscars 2013. In the corridors of the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, we are eavesdropping on the distinguished guests that gather here to have a little smoke. Richard Armitage, star of ‘The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey’, is pacing up and down the beautiful corridor, an unlit cigarette between his long fingers. He quit smoking a few years ago when he was training for ‘Strike Back’ and never succumbed since. Now he longs to put his lighter’s flame to the fag but with an incredible surge of willpower, he manages not to. Barely.
It’s inhumanly unbearable, but RA – as his friends call him – is very nervous. Stands to reason, it’s his very first Academy Awards night, ever.
In the great hall, Peter Jackson and his crew are attending in full force to support their nomination for the coveted prize and the little golden statuette. Peter is eating his hat in a desperate attempt to control his frayed nerves. Next to him, Martin Freeman is shedding buckets of sweat and James Nesbitt hasn’t come out of the gents for hours.
That’s why RA is in the corridors. He is determined to stay calm and unruffled, come what may. By staying here, in the corridors, he hopes he will succeed. He hopes but … will he?
“Hey, son, are you alright?” a mellow baritone voice sounds. A tall, slender gentleman is standing next to RA, holding out a hand, as if to steady him.
Richard looks a bit better and … holy smoke! The man is Colin Firth, THE Colin Firth of ‘Pride and Prejudice 1995. The Ultimate Mr Darcy!
Let’s witness their concentration, shall we?
CF: Hey, son, are you alright?
RA: (coughing – swallowing – clearing his throat)
CF: Son, are you in pain? Do you need some medical assistance? You’re dead white. Come on, let’s get you to a seat. (CF takes RA by the arm and leads him to a bench near the wall)
CF: Okay, here you are … (studies RA with a frown of concentration furrowing his noble brow) … You look familiar, son. Have we met before?
RA: Erm … no, Mr Firth, sir, I don’t think so … we … erm … move in very different circles, I’m afraid.
CF: Hm … (thinks, thinks, and thinks again) … aren’t you that bloke from Robin Hood, what’s his name again … erm … I can’t quite put my finger on it.
RA: Guy … Guy of Gisborne, sir. I played Guy or Gizzie or whatever you wish to call him.
CF: Ah! Yes, now I remember. You were quite good in it, even though it was a lousy show. I, for instance, wouldn’t want to work with that little Irish prick they chose for the lead role. But, you were in a costume drama too, weren’t you? An adaptation of a novel by that Gaskell woman, was it not?
RA: Sir, I’m flattered that you should mention it! Yes, ‘North and South’ it was. Beautiful film the old Beebs made, if I say so myself.
CF: (raises a finger and shakes it) Ah, beware of costume dramas, my lad! They are very tricky things. They unleash thousands of screaming, giggling and swooning females who fancy themselves in love with you. Had the same problem after P&P, you know. Ghastly moments I lived and for years! Even now the blasted silly things can’t leave me in peace. Do you suffer from that too?
RA: Erm … well, yes, sir. I seem to have acquired a collection of female admirers who follow my every move. It’s quite … alarming, sometimes. Most of them are very nice and sweet and I never had any stalkers so far but it takes only one deranged mind to set the whole thing ablaze, you know.
CF: Hm … that bad, eh? Yes, I know what you mean. Suffered from it until I married Lyvia. Now, it’s only the one occasional lunatic that goes around the bend. You married?
RA: No, sir. I’m still looking for the one and only woman to cross my path. I’m hoping to meet her, but I’m swamped with work so I don’t see how I will ever find the time to search for her.
CF: Well, my boy, the only thing I can say is, enjoy it while it lasts. Fame is elusive, you know. And fickle, too. One day, you’re everybody’s darling and the next, they wouldn’t recognize you even if you bit them in the arse!
RA: (coughs in surprised embarrassment to hear The Great Actor use such inappropriate language) …
CF: Richard, my boy, you need to loosen up a bit here. Are you – by any chance – nominated for some category in this circus?
RA: Erm … yes, sir. I was nominated in the category ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’.
CF: Were you? Good job, son! You passed Ian McKellen, then. Normally, he would have been nominated for that. And that little Freeman fellow has the nomination for ‘Best Lead’, I suppose?
RA: Yes, sir, and I wish he’d win it. I very much enjoyed working with him. He’s a terrific actor.
CF: Son, you’re too good and far too modest. They’ll walk over you in this hell of a town. This is L.A., man! You’ve got to be though, you need to devious and sly. If you want that statuette, that is.
RA: (sighs deeply) Well, yes, sir. You’re not the first one to tell me that. I repeatedly and constantly have to fight against this shy side I seem to have. It’s bloody annoying, I tell you!
CF: (raises a well-shaped eyebrow) Shy? How can you be shy? You’re an actor, for Christ’s sake! You can’t be shy!
RA: Well, I am. It’s a bloody nuisance but there it is. Though I must say I’m getting bolder since I work with Peter and the other Aussies. They are fantastic people, you know. I didn’t really know the Aussies until now and it’s a marvellous experience, I tell you.
CF: Yeah, I know what you mean. I was the same with the Americans but since I work here, I kind of have grown very fond of the Yanks. They’re so much more pleasant and lively than us Brits.
RA: So you say, sir, so you say … I’ve yet to experience it although they were very patient with me during the ‘Captain America’ shootings. What with my hydrophobia and all …
CF: (shaking his distinguished head and tusking) Well, son, I can see you’re still a long way from home. But … I see the usher is scanning the corridors. The moment is upon us, boy! Come on, face it like a true Englishman!
Side by side, the two marvellously handsome actors disappear into the great hall …