The not complaining post

Just a short but sweet post today, not in the mood anymore for the complaining I was going to do about tendentious (e.g. about the British royal family) and/or navel-gazing (e.g. Dutch news) journalism or hating doing chores around the house (I swear, if I win the lottery, I will invest in a housekeeper) or the zero motivation I have for my job. Instead, I decided to finish another Suits video yesterday evening and today that I started weeks ago but then left alone for a while. I set the video to Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe, just because I like the song so much and images of Harvey (Gabriel Macht) and Donna (Sarah Rafferty) popped up in my head when I listened to it again about a month ago when I was finishing my favourite Suits scenes re-watch. This is the end result which I think is not my best, nor my worst..

This afternoon, Mr Esther and I went on a little bike ride. It’s chilly but the sun was shining, so it was nice to be out like that.

Sunday evening now and I hate that the weekend is almost over. Picking up my son from a friend’s house in 30 minutes, then time for a relaxing hot shower and a feelgood movie to counteract the I-don’t-want-to-work-tomorrow blues…

I love Audrey, but…

… there is this beatification of her happening that doesn’t sit so well with me. Let me start with a Netflix documentary on Audrey Hepburn that is not available yet in The Netherlands but that I do intend to watch.

When they say in the trailer that the biggest secret to Audrey is that she wanted to be loved, I roll my eyes because that is hardly a secret (and doesn’t everybody?). Also, those dramatized little interludes in the trailer of a little girl dancing already annoy me. And yet, I won’t be able to help myself and I will watch this, I just hope it won’t be too gushy.

Apparently, there’s also a TV series coming about her and I am already tensing up at the thought of that as well. There was a TV movie made in 2000 called The Audrey Hepburn Story that I watched at the time and remembered as cringe-worthy. I recently watched part of it again because I now realize that a young Gabriel Macht was in it, playing the actor William Holden whom Audrey had briefly been smitten with (and he with her).

I wasn’t able to actually watch the whole thing again as it still is cringe-worthy; it is really difficult to portray a good Audrey Hepburn after all. She had a unique way of moving and diction that Jennifer Love Hewitt tried to capture but she ended up giving her a really strange accent and a pinched way of speaking. Brave attempt but she doesn’t capture Audrey at all for me, she’s too focussed on getting looks and mannerisms down and the characterization (also due to the writing) is very flat. Audrey didn’t feel real in that and I really wonder whether they will be able to ‘capture’ her in this new planned TV series.

I also read that Robert Matzen has written another book about Audrey, this time about her final years working for Unicef. I am still annoyed by his embellishments and the holes in his research of the first book (Dutch Girl) that he wrote about Audrey’s childhood and I fear the second book won’t fare any better. Already the term ‘battle-hardened badass’ that is used for Audrey suggests something more mythical than real. I don’t think I will be spending any money on that.

Yes, Audrey was awesome and yes, I love her, but this hero-worship of her annoys me. She is this adored icon but somehow, despite of all the thousands of words written about her and almost as many images shown of her, she feels illusory. I’m not interested in a scandal or her being brought down or anything, I’m just interested in a realistic portrayal. I know her sons cooperate on these things and want to protect her image (rightly so) but I just wish all the things written and shown about her felt more real and less ethereal. Even her ‘faults’ and her hurt seem glorified. Someone once made a spoofy Audrey flipping the finger gif…

… and I think I want to see more of that.

I love my acting (and music) heroes such as Richard Armitage and Gregory Peck and Colin Firth and David Bowie and Audrey Hepburn and many more men and women but I don’t like the hero-worship for any of them. None of them are ‘perfection’, what would a perfect human being even be like? I feel that even Audrey herself in interviews resisted the idea of perfection, not seeing herself as that either. She was a woman of flesh and blood, like any one of us, I just wish for people who write about her and make films and documentaries about her to make her more real. I wonder if that will ever happen in my lifetime.

My first film class

It’s no secret that I like Gabriel Macht and he in turn is the son of actor Stephen Macht. Stephen Macht used to star on Cagney and Lacey, which I used to really enjoy watching back in the 1980s…

Gabriel was promoting a lecture series on Instagram that his dad will be doing called “How dramatic analysis informs art and life” about applying dramatic tools to plays, film and life and I thought that sounded interesting. Gabriel says, “Not only is Professor Gerard from #Suits my #father but he’s also one of the very few if any PhD’s in Hollywood. Yup! A true #Professor.” I checked and according to Stephen Macht’s LinkedIn profile, he indeed has a Ph.D. in Dramatic Literature from Indiana University, so I figured he must know what he’s talking about. I’m trying to get out of my work rut, exploring other options, so I figured $15,- is quite cheap for a lecture series of 7 classes (this is the programme) and I decided to sign up. Two of the movies he’ll be using as homework (Coming to America 2 and Mad Max Thunder Road) don’t particularly interest me but for the sake of academics I’ll give them a go.

I am thinking more and more about writing and have been trying things here and there, but have never had any real in depth training on structure and storylines and drama and such. I don’t want to go to film school or writing school, but getting some tools on analysis won’t hurt and I figured this could be a nice low-key, low investment opportunity for me to see if I even want to go deeper with this or not. First class starts this evening, I hope I like it and I hope I have the stamina to do the rest of the classes as well.

Easter, day two

We have a “Second Easter Day” here in The Netherlands, it’s always good to have an extra day off. After having a few sunny days and 20 degrees Celsius (68 F) last week, today it’s 3 degrees Celsius (37 F) and we even had a little snow earlier!

Ten minutes after that the sun was shining again, this weather is mad…

A code yellow weather warning for this evening has been issued, saying there will be strong winds and slippery conditions on the roads, thanks to hail and snow particularly in the north and west (and we live west-ish).

So, no Easter walks out today (like Mr Esther and I did yesterday), we’re just huddling up at home. Time for helping mini me with a small percussion assignment for school (using wooden boards that we use for breakfast, a milk carton and spoon and sprinkles, end result here, we’re not that talented but it’ll do) and taking an interest in Mr Esther jr’s computer game…

Mr Esther is in his study now, doing something with his Heraldry organization that he is a board member of and I am trying to figure out what to pick up on doing next. I wanted to do something with what feels like my brotha from anotha motha, Gabriel Macht (just pic spamming here, love his grin and seeing him with wife and kids and his colleague and close friend Sarah Rafferty from Suits and her husband)…

… but the starring roles he did have before Suits I’ve already seen and the other roles are smaller roles and I don’t want to stomach a whole movie that doesn’t particularly interest me, just for the few Gabriel Macht scenes in there. Maybe I’ll do another Suits video I had in my mind or I could do some necessary chores around the house… Nah… I won’t do the latter. Or I can finally start the Obama A Promised Land book, but no, that is too much of a time commitment, I need something shorter and sweeter… Ah, the endless possibilities of indoor activities… Ooh, or there’s always re-watching Gregory Peck! Today would have been his 105th birthday.

Yes, I think I can do worse than spend some time with Gregory, even checking out videos for this post has already been fun (and has conisderably delayed my posting this)…

Off to some more Gregory Peck, Gabriel Macht or maybe even Richard Armitage fun, i.e. will I finally try Spacesweepers? Time will tell…

Some Richard favourites

I’m still in non-Richard land right now but saw this blog post by Michele and then Armidreamer’s response and Rachel’s response and I thought I’d just jump in as well and dip back into Armitage-land again for a bit with my own response. He is never far from my mind but there are so few new things for me to get excited about (again, all that audio work is not for me), that I haven’t been that immersed in Richard of late. I did really enjoy these recent pictures of him filming Stay Close in Blackpool, though…

… and of course today congratulations are in order because of his Audie Award win for reading Chekhov’s short stories!

Anyway, back to Michele’s questions and my answers to them:

1 Your favorite John and why: Thornton / Proctor / Porter / Standring

Had to think on that one, was trying to decide between Thornton and Porter but I think it would still be John Thornton, mostly because he was my gateway to Richard Armitage and I still think Thornton is one of his most layered performances. Even after all these years, I still love looking at the details of what Richard did with this character.

2 Your favorite Richard action movie and why:

He’s done more TV action than movie action but even so I’d probably pick The Hobbit over any of his TV action stuff. He gave an excellent, again layered, performance as Thorin Oakenshield.

3 Your favorite pairing of Richard and ____

As in someone he already acted with or someone he should act with? I never have simple one-name answers to these.

For actresses he has already acted with, I thought he had good chemistry with Jodhi May (as Layla Thompson) in Strike Back or Orla Brady (as reporter Katie Dartmouth) also in Strike Back. Also with Rutina Wesley (as Reba) in Hannibal and of course Daniela Denby-Ashe (as Margaret Hale) in North and South.

As in someone I’d yet like to see him act with? I’m not sure I have a real preference there, I want to see him opposite someone strong and smart. Kate Winslet might be an obvious one, or I really like Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Or maybe he could team up with a male actor, like Gabriel Macht or DB Woodside, both of whom have recently been on my mind a lot…

4 Richard’s best trait is his ________

For many years now I’ve been trying to figure out what it is exactly that makes him remain my favourite. I wish I could pinpoint the one trait I like best but it’s not that easy. So, I think I’m going to cheat by naming three traits and combining them into one: intelligent introvert soulfulness.

5 What one question would you ask Richard about his roles up to now?

Which role would you best like to be remembered for and why? It doesn’t have to be the most (commercially) successful one…

6 If Richard asks you to dinner and where to eat, what type of restaurant would you take him to?

Sushi. I love sushi. Or if he’s visiting me here in The Netherlands I’d take him in the summertime to a lovely typical Dutch pancake restaurant in the center of Utrecht, right next to a canal. If he doesn’t like pancakes, no problem, there are many more restaurants to choose from alongside that canal.

7 What song comes to mind to describe his acting career?

Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake – it’s got nothing to do with his acting career, though. I’m not sure I could think of any one song that would characterize his acting career to me. However, in my early years of fandom after I first fell in love with the man in 2006, I couldn’t get enough of a video someone had made to the song Sexy Back. The first Sexy Back video was so popular that a year later a second one was made…

… and then even a third one came along. To this day, when anyone asks me what music I associate with Richard Armitage it is this song that immediately springs to mind.

8 What board game would you play with Richard during another lockdown?

Scrabble.

9 What two fandom items would you give to Richard as tokens of appreciation?

I’m not sure giving him pictures of himself on posters, playing cards or other items would feel right, it would be something of more value to us as fans than to him, I think. Having said that, I would offer to make him a phone cover with my mother’s The Crucible painting on it, similar to the one I have.

Also, many many years ago some fans made a Guy of Gisborne concert tour (called The Havoc Tour) t-shirt for Richard and I thought that was absolutely brilliant! He actually mentioned that t-shirt way back when at the end of this video interview.

Source

10 Complete this sentence: “Richard you are the ________ to my __________.

Oh man, I suck at these. I can think of a very dramatic one: Richard, you are the balm to my tortured soul. Or a slightly more light-hearted one: Richard, you are the chocolate to my tea.