I’m starting to think that some fans have Richard Armitage on a such a high, precarious pedestal that they are resorting to putting him into the victim category as a means of preserving the godlike idol they have created. Why do I think this? Because I’ve read far too many complaints over the direction his PR handlers are taking him. Or that he’s going to be boxed in to a certain type of role. I even saw some garbage remark over being angry with Fault magazine for their video of his photoshoot.
Frankly, this seems to tell me more about the fans than it does about either Richard Armitage or his PR team. I can think of two reasons for the complaints I’ve seen. First, some fans are seeing something in the man of late that doesn’t jibe with the image they have of him. Therefore, they look for someone else to blame so that they can keep their fantasy of who RA is in tact. Or secondly, they are worried about how they will be perceived as fans, that they will be lumped in with the crowd. So they go to great lengths to set themselves apart from the herd, as though their method of fangirling is somehow superior.
But here is the problem for me. Richard Armitage is a grown man–41 years old to be precise. He can make decisions for himself. Not only that, he can stand up for himself and what he wants. So if he is being marketed as a heartthrob, he is an active participant. At any time the man can pipe up and say, “Hey, this is not the direction I want my image taken.” Has he? I’ll admit I can’t know for sure, but the fact that it continues on makes me think that he’s on board with the current direction.
The Hobbit is a hot commodity and he has to strike while interest is high. He isn’t some naive little boy just getting into the business. He knows what is required to succeed, and if his career trajectory is anything to go by, he’s ambitious. If being a heartthrob is something that he has to do to succeed, he seems to be willing to go there. I don’t think that is pandering to his current fan base. We are already hooked. He is trying to get name and face recognition among the masses who aren’t already invested in his career.
There also seems to be this idea floating about that he can’t be taken seriously if he is seen as a heartthrob. Really? How about Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, and to go more recently George Clooney and Denzel Washington? These men are all critically acclaimed actors. Award winners. But the fact remains that a large part of their appeal is in their looks. The entertainment industry deals in the business of fantasy. We don’t want to see Joe Shmoe on the big screen. So playing up the “hot factor” is a smart move. Have the men mentioned above played their fair share of romantic leads? Sure, but they also starred in more serious fair. Being seen as a heartthrob does not somehow exclude one from also being taken serious as an actor.
As for bitching about a magazine–once again I feel the need to point out that Richard Armitage isn’t a newbie. He’s been in this business for a long time. He’s done his fair share of photoshoots. If he didn’t know there would be a video, he should have, as it seems to be common practice for the mag in question to post videos with clips of their celeb shoots. He seemed to be doing his job, taking direction from the photographer. Yes, that video provided fans who still like to squee with the opportunity, but it also provided a glimpse into the behind the scenes process.
So seriously, looking for scapegoats has got to stop. Richard Armitage is a grown ass man. He can makes his own decisions. Don’t like something he does? That’s totally fine. But take your idol off of his pedestal and recognize that he’s not just a puppet. He isn’t a victim.