Fearless and Wild

Ansel Elgort, playful heartthrob, is fun

but there’s someone underneath the charismatic comedian who doesn’t show himself as much. in the Face to Grace interview, with former model and family friend Grace Coddington, we get a glimpse of who that is.

“I’m realizing that I need to go back to the way I used to write when I was younger, which is just like a pure way of writing. I remember in 9th grade I took a creative writing class and I wrote something and the teacher told me it didn’t make any sense, but I remember it making plenty of sense to me, and then I had to change the way that I wrote and that was a huge mistake”

They talk of childhood innocence, how creativity is hindered when it comes with a set of rules,

“what happens is that you start to over think things and people start to tell you ‘well actually let’s look at these artists, let’s see how they did it’ and it’s not pure anymore. creativity isn’t something that’s supposed to be overly critiqued and overly managed”

if his music career will overtake his acting one,

“it feels good to just allow yourself to be artistic and to do it on your own terms”

and how the darkness that consumed him while embodying his upcoming Goldfinch character made him not eager to repeat the experience anytime soon.

“playing a drug addict…it takes a serious toll on you. I lost a lot of weight for the role. not only was I depressed playing this guy, but I was also starving! I was in a terrible mood on set. I did my work but, I don’t think I was a nice guy. I think I was a horrid person…I don’t know if I ever will do this again. it’s been tough to get back”
Through recollected stories of young Ansel accompanying his photographer father on exotic fashion shoots, to how he was bullied in Middle School for being too silly, and even the functionality of his iconic rings,
“they’re pretty dangerous, your rings…”

this interview reveals the struggle going on underneath the pretty face- to grow up and be taken more seriously or stay youthful but restrict your career choices.

“I think we go through an awkward phase in life, as creators…you go through this learning period where you get serious and start to doubt yourself and everyone tells you ‘grow up’. a lot of people get out of being creative and they never become creative again…people are going to tell you to stop being a kid, people are going to tell you to grow up, but as an artist that’s the worst thing you could possibly do”

with long term girlfriend, Violetta Komyshan

I hope he’s able to keep the kind of freedom that let’s him express himself in spontaneous ways,

while also nurturing the sophisticated air that made that sleek velvet suit look so alluring.

I hope he’s able to channel his energy and drive into engaging indie roles like Jonathan, while also putting those heavenly pipes to use for higher profile projects like the West Side Story remake. I hope he’s able to nourish his passion for music and to never again feel like he’s selling out.

I hope he’s able to stay fearless, fearless and wild.

there was a phone call where everybody spoke about how I needed to start dressing for Baby Driver, as myself, because I wore stuff that was too wild. if we wanted middle america to embrace Ansel Elgort …it’s tough because now there’s a lot more at stake, right? there’s money at stake and success…every successful wealthy person I know is pretty miserable.

yes, that’s a studded Prada handbag.
Advertisements

My Favorite Thing

I always enjoy watching Dan Stevens in interviews, but my favorite by far is Off Camera with Sam Jones. 54 minutes filled with talk of imagination, voice acting, and career trajectory. in black in white.

when I sit down to watch it, I settle in with anticipation and am instantly entranced. the first subject to be discussed? accents. I’m in love already! Dan talks about not just learning the lines on the page with a particular accent but the physicality that comes with learning an accent, the way you hold your body and how the sounds sit in your throat. Sam asks if he’s ever practiced an accent by pretending to be that character in public. Dan says that he has, though it’s harder now that he’s recognizable and people already know what he sounds like. he goes on to say how much he enjoys that aspect of acting, the researching of a character:

“I like the feeling of working. I like the sense of exploration, of research. I like feeling like I’m learning. If I’m fulfilling a character properly, in my mind, I’m learning something about the world, about people, about the way things have always been done, or the way that things might be done. I feel like I’m absorbing new information and sort of feeling my way out through this particular character.”
we’re off to a good start, because I love accents as well. and research! our ideas of research differ a little though in that my subject of choice is Dan himself… next up is the concept of imagination. Sam references an essay Dan wrote about an Invisible Watch

 

the way Dan’s eyes light up when he talks about the sound effects of radio plays and how that engages our imagination. first accents, and now imagination and sound effects? they are speaking my language! the talk of radio plays moves into discussing theatre and how Dan didn’t train by going to drama school, but rather from performing with The Peter Hall Company, learning on the job instead:

 

“Through the formal training that I got from Peter Hall, I learned that speaking verse, doing Noël Coward, is very precise, tersely written dialogue. The tempo of that and finding the musicality of great writing is something that he really taught me. That really played into learning the rules, and then, learning how to break them.” 
the musicality of writing. I really like that description. they talk about Legion a bit, and then Dan says something that I find very interesting. he says that he makes project choices with specific people in mind:

 

“It might be a small group of friends, one friend, my wife, or my kids. But there will be somebody that I’m picturing, almost like I’m handing them the DVD and being like, “I was thinking about you when I made this.” That helps me focus my choices, but it also leaves me open to doing different things in different ways.”
he goes on to say that you’re not going to please everyone all the time, especially now when the internet makes it so easy for people to say how terrible they think things are. he brushes that off by knowing that the person he made it for liked it and that makes him happy. that’s nice, isn’t it? Dan, if you want to make something for me, I’d like a comedy about your shoes. Katherine Heigl did ’27 dresses’, you could do ‘a Legion of Doc Martens’!  a mad idea, maybe. speaking of madness:

 

“If you find another mad person who thinks you’re maybe not so mad, that’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”
*hugs all my fandom friends*

 

They touch upon Dan’s time at university, when he tried his hand at stand up comedy. during the course of this part of the conversation Sam asks Dan if he thinks he’s an extrovert. Dan is a little evasive about it at first,  joking that it depends upon what room they’re in, how big the room is, how many people are in the room, but then he admits that he’s not someone who needs to be the center of attention. watching him answer that question confirms what I’ve suspected- even though Dan can be a real ham, there’s shyness underneath.

 

 

They talk about the ‘big move’ next, when Dan left Downton Abbey and moved to America (which, by the way, the internet still can not seem to shut up about. if I had a dollar for every time I saw someone tweet how mad they still are at Dan for this, I could have my own Doc Martens collection). he came for a play (The Heiress), stayed for a movie (A Walk Among The Tombstones) and then settled into Brooklyn to stay (until he moved to LA earlier this year). I always think of his wife when this discussion arises, moving across the ocean with two very small children, for something that isn’t a sure thing. Dan is sure to emphasize how much her support means to him:

 

“having a partner in life who meets that mad idea and doesn’t run in the other direction, but says, That’s kind of beautiful. I want to come on that adventure.” … “Having the love and support of somebody who can hold your hand through those difficult moments where you realize it’s going to be okay, something good is going to come out of this—that’s a wonderful thing.”
we ❤ Susie

They close the interview by talking about Beauty and The Beast, how Dan found the right voice for The Beast and if the singing aspect of the film was intimidating. Dan talks about the tool bag of an actor here, how it used to be that every actor had a bag of skills that he automatically brought with him, singing, dancing, acting, being able to have fun and then be able to cry, etc. and that’s the way he still looks at it. he wants to be the type of actor who can rise to the challenge and keep adding to his skill set. with a career as varied as Dan’s: sci-fi, period dramas, crime thrillers, comedy, horror, and a tool bag that contains acting, singing, dancing, narrating, writing, he can give those Golden Age of Hollywood actors a run for their money.

It may seem like I recounted the entire interview here but I didn’t. it’s well worth a watch. and another. and another. go download it (it’s only $1.49). you know you want to…

Off Camera with Sam Jones episode 139. Dan Stevens

at the moment

The weather has been so crazy lately, like it can’t make up it’s mind if it wants to move on to Spring or stay Winter. The same could be said of my mood lately; I can’t seem to make up my mind what I want to focus on. I have multiple projects around the house that need attention but I can’t choose which one to devote myself to, so I do none of them. I feel in limbo at the moment. When I feel like this, I tend to fall back on the easy things that make me happy…

 

Dan content I really like at the moment:

 

The Guest movie…still. I loved this movie the first time I watched it and I continue to love it each and every time. The tone of the movie, the dry dark humor, and the way it avoids crowding the screen with unnecessary distraction. Yes, the plot is far from perfect but it’s the kind of movie that you can just enjoy. The way David remains charming, even when he’s killing people. The way Dan physically carries himself. The way Dan delivers that amazing accent. And the way he pulls that gun from the back of his jeans; its safe to say that I’m still swoony for David Collins.
poster that is now gracing my laundry room wall. because it’s the best kind of incentive.

Legion, season 1. The second season of Legion is due April 3rd, so I did a rewatch of season one this past week. Binge watching the series is so much better than waiting week to week; Dan’s acting skills stand out more when you watch episodes back to back. Sweet vulnerable David, morphs into maniacal mutant and back again, in the blink of an eye. Once David harnesses his abilities though, he’s kicking ass and taking names! It’s a roller coaster ride that I hope will continue in season 2.

 

Dan’s Alice in Wonderland ‘playing card’ Docs. Appreciating Dan’s choice in shoes has become a fangirl experience in and of itself; his shoes need their own fanclub! each time new pictures of him come out, I giddily scroll down to look at his shoes. Will they be colorful? Will they be rugged? Will they be classy, casual, or sporty? Every time is a surprise.

 

This picture:

And this one too:

the text in the bottom right hand corner 😎

 

Dan’s Instagram account. His photography is lovely and his captions are witty.

I enjoy the way his posts highlight his personality.

 

And although this hasn’t aired yet, I know I’ll love it too

Wonderstruck

Can we talk about Dan Stevens’ acting for a moment?

The man can play a character like David Collins from The Guest, badass psycho that I’m sorta kind of in love with

And then also play someone like David Haller from Legion, sweet, confused, all powerful being that I just want to hug and kiss and cuddle up with forever.

Yes, both those characters are named David. This one is as well

There’s also Tim, from Colossal, who is a bit of a coward but I like the way he parts his hair, and I’ve decided that I’d like to live with him in that apartment.

There’s Spencer, from the short film Babysitting, who’s a pretentious cad but does it so charmingly. I mean, who else could wear that train wreck of an outfit and not have me automatically backing away? no one, that’s who.

And there’s James Harvey from The Ticket, who has me seriously contemplating whether the suit does indeed make the man.

And Noah Dorfman, from Criminal Activities, who’s been stuck in my head as of late.

I don’t know what it is about him. I guess I’ll have to watch the movie a few more times to figure it out. I’ve watched it 5 times already…

There’s also physicist turned hero, Will Porter, in the upcoming Kill Switch. Fingers crossed that he has some depth and the story isn’t just a showcase for special effects.

We’ll also be able to see Dan as Charles Dickens this winter, in The Man Who Invented Christmas. Not a character from the books, but the man himself.

And next year (hopefully) Thomas Richardson will grace us with his presence in Apostle, as he scuffles with early nineteenth century cult members in order to save his sister. Look at this pic of Dan taken on set and tell me you don’t want to see that character in action.

 

There are some characters I haven’t seen yet, like Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey. I’m letting him age like fine wine.

 

And some supporting characters whose lines may be few but are enjoyable nonetheless. The Cobbler

 

Its exciting for me when I discover an actor who impresses me with their talent, and whose choice in roles I grow to trust because I’m not just watching for him but because I genuinely like the types of projects he picks. Dan Stevens has impressed me.

 

 

Parasocial Relationships, or, my history of celebrity crushes

I think it’s become apparent to anyone who has been reading this blog (or my Twitter) that I have a little crush on Jamie Dornan. and yet I have a whole other blog that’s dedicated to Richard Armitage. A recent response I gave to a reader’s comment, joking that I seem to be susceptible to these “captivations”, got me to thinking about how true that actually is.

From Luke to Leo

mark-hamill-as-luke-skywalkerI have been captivated by fictional characters, and the actors who portray them, for as long as I can remember. when I was very young it was limited to the characters themselves. Luke Skywalker (Star Wars) was the first ‘film’ crush that I can remember having. I thought Leia was crazy for picking that show-off Han, over Luke! Luke held my attention for a little while but soon I moved on to that free spirit in the fast car, Bo Duke (The Dukes of Hazard).

when I was 10 years old, my choice was straight-laced Alex P. Keaton (Family Ties). I liked that he was well-alexpmannered and smart, while still having the playfulness that I generally liked about boys. When I saw Marty McFly (Back to the Future) portrayed by the same actor, it grabbed my attention. I knew the characters from movies and tv shows weren’t real, that it was someone’s job to pretend to be them, but I had never given that concept much thought before. Michael J. Fox had portrayed two completely different characters, and I liked them both. so when I saw a book at my school’s bookfair about the actor, I decided to buy it and see who the real person, behind the characters, was.

It was during the latter half of my gradeschool years (5th,6th,7th grades) that I fell head first into my love for movies. I had always enjoyed television, everything from comedy to sci-fi to westerns to cartoons and game shows; we were very much a television watching family. we didn’t have access to a lot of movies though, only going to the cinema maybe once a year and never watching videos at home because we didn’t have a video player. then my parents purchased a satellite dish and my world expanded by leaps and bounds! I went from 5 television channels, maybe 6 depending on antenna reception, to so many I couldn’t even wrap my head around. children’s stations, music stations, educational stations, movie stations; I was in heaven.

soon this mass exposure to movies mingled with my discovery of teen magazines and their removable pin-up posters. I went a little boy crazy but I wasn’t aware of why I liked pinning up all of those pictures or why I found myself choosing certain actors over others. I thought they were cute and I liked the characters they played but it didn’t go beyond that. I started to read up on them after awhile and soon the idea that they were real people, not their characters, became concrete. River Phoenix’s siblings had the weirdest names (that they picked themselves!) and the Estevez/Sheen boys were Spanish? they didn’t look Spanish… As real boys and my confusion concerning them moved to the forefront, the pretend ones played a smaller role in my life. I still crushed on the odd boy band member and daydreamed about fictional characters I saw on screen but I didn’t focus too heavily on them or delve into their real life personas too deeply.

Leonardo-di-caprioFast forward to adulthood when I married at 21 years of age and spent 2 years traveling around the country, living in various states and cities. I had lived in the same house my whole life, so to say I was homesick and feeling rudderless was an understatement! I kept in contact with family and friends through writing letters but I was so far away from them, both literally and figuratively. so I fell back on my love of books, television, and movies; ‘friends’ that would always stay with me. it was during this time that the movie Titanic became popular and many of my peers were crushing on Leonardo Dicaprio. The story itself captivated me and Leo’s boyish looks drew me in. I sought out his other movies, cut out random pictures of him from magazines and newspapers (I couldn’t plaster him on my bedroom wall anymore though, because I was married now and “grown-up”) and even bought a biography one day while out shopping. okay, what the hell was I doing? he wasn’t Jack (Titanic), he wasn’t Gilbert (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?) or Romeo (Romeo & Juliet), he was a real person. but it wasn’t the real person that intrigued me. somewhere along the way I had started having dreams about him. they weren’t particularly feel good dreams, he always ended up rejecting me in some way, but the companionship that “Dream Leo” showed me was something that I craved. the obsessive quality of what I was doing felt odd and I didn’t understand it. adults didn’t act this way, did they? (lies society tells you) I should note that while I was friendless due to my current lack of roots, I was enjoying life with my husband and the companionship that he provided during non-working hours. when he went off to work everyday though, I was confined to a small apartment in a strange city, too anxiety ridden to go out and explore by myself.

From Ewan to Christian

When two years were up and we finally settled in a place longer than 6 months, the Star Wars prequels were the talk89a310536645c03eb14df6d6f2cd7aa0 of the movie world. I had given up my fascination with Leo and had been spending my allotment of daydream hours on fictional Jamie Fraser instead. Then I read a short snippet of an article about the actor who would be playing a younger version of the character Obi-Wan; Ewan McGregor. he had a weird name that I didn’t know how to pronounce and his cockiness made me want to slap him for some reason! but then I saw him with his wife, protectively towering over her like a bearded Jamie Fraser, and he looked happy. I didn’t want to slap him anymore. I ran across one of his older movies one day (A Life Less Ordinary) and decided to rent it. I fell for the character instantly, he was so clueless and sweet! then I rented another movie of his (Velvet Goldmine) but it just made me want to slap him all over again! what was going on with me? alright, there was no hope for it: I had to see who this guy really was. thus began what I consider my first ‘acting’ crush.

I wanted to keep whatever this was on the down low until I figured it out, so I secretly checked out Ewan’s older movies from the library. talk about broadening my horizons! the sensually erotic film The Pillow Book, gritty Trainspotting, scary Nightwatch, tear inducing Brassed Off; the variety of films and genres had my head spinning.

I had always enjoyed the art of storytelling, falling into a different reality as someone else through books and movies and even music, appealed to me greatly. not being an overly social child, daydreaming and pretending became hobbies that I excelled at. something surprising that I discovered during my teenage years, was that I am actually a decent public speaker. it terrified me beforehand but once I was up there in front of everyone, I not only did the job well but I infused my speeches with personal qualities that listeners could relate to. my literature teacher suspected I would be good at acting, especially given my love of storytelling, but sadly our school didn’t have a drama department at that time.

So I guess you could say it was Ewan who kickstarted my interest in the actual craft of acting. it was wrapped up in a tangled web that “crushed” on the actors I admired because I did grow to admire Ewan as a person, in both his professional and personal lives. he knew that he wanted to act like his uncle and he wasn’t afraid to pursue that dream, putting in the grunt work behind the scenes and on stage. as I started to read old interviews and articles about him I suspected that the cockiness was fueled by determination and tried to hide very normal insecurities. slowly my preference for Ewan became apparent to family and friends, Husband became a bit jealous at the thought. I tried to explain that it wasn’t a lust fueled thing, though I did find Ewan attractive. I didn’t want to hunt him down and runaway with him; I was happily married and I liked the fact that he was too. in some ways he was kind of a Peter Pan figment to me, never losing the playful-at-heart mentality that I was struggling with as a new “adult”.

I had dreams about Ewan as well, though he didn’t reject me like Leo did. my Ewan dreams had no rhyme or reason to them in regards to subject matter (the Leo dreams centered around my prior High School life) but they always made me feel good afterwards. sometimes there was a bit of puppy-dog romance playing throughout, hand holding and soft kisses, but mostly it went back to the companionship factor. I became quite fond of “Dream Ewan”. Soon the real Ewan’s life started to slow down, after his motorcycle adventure (Long Way Round), which I followed along with in real time and greatly enjoyed. he became more family focused, eventually adopting children to add to his biological family, which made me happy for him but kind of took him out of my fantasy realm. I was living that life already (I had two kids of my own by then), I wanted someone who could take me places I had never been. I acknowledged my love of the career and now I wanted to explore more of that. enter my ‘rediscovery’ of Christian Bale.

Christian-Bale-2013I had first discovered Christian Bale as the young lead in Stephen Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun. not exactly the kind of movie that my peers were watching at 12 and 13 years of age but I was captivated by it. the historic subject matter and the bond I had developed towards that character. the real life Christian didn’t interest me at that age, he looked too much like someone who could have gone to school with me. I saw him again a few years later in Swing Kids and became entranced all over again, particularly with the moral dilemma his character had to face. and the music. Swing Kids was responsible for the way I became fascinated with the music and culture of that time period. Christian suddenly appeared tall and lanky when he portrayed the classic character Laurie in Little Women. it was a welcome surprise, along with his floppy hair. I didn’t focus on the personal side of Christian Bale yet, just seeing him as someone who tended to pick the kind of characters I liked to see. it wasn’t until years later, when real life was begging that I find an escape of some sort, that I saw him as more than young Jim Graham (Empire of the Sun) who I had bonded with all those years ago.

The second installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, The Dark Knight, was getting a lot of buzz because of Heath Ledger’s Joker portrayal. I was torn between seeing it or James McAvoy’s Wanted, at the cinema. I was all set to see Wanted but at the last minute, I changed my mind and went for The Dark Knight instead. I had enjoyed the first movie, Batman Begins (aside from annoying Rachel and scary as hell Scarecrow) so I expected to enjoy this one as well. I came home from that movie very satisfied not only for the movie itself, but for the embers it flamed in relation to Christian. I set out to view some of his other more recent movies that I had missed. I remembered him getting much acclaim for American Psycho and he also starred alongside Russell Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma; I had always liked westerns. I headed off to the movie store and rented Rescue Dawn…and the frenzy began. I was highly impressed with Christian’s performance in that movie and all subsequent movies of his that I viewed. how did he disappear from my radar for so many years?! this guy was super talented! I hunted down the old interviews and articles, like I did with Ewan previously, and what I found was that Jim Graham wasn’t the only one I felt a bond with: the way Christian approached things, mulled them over in his mind and even procrastinated about them, sounded a lot like me. as did his serious nature when it came to the characters he was portraying, the way he wasn’t just concerned with the story on the page but the one inside of the character as well– how he thought, how he talked, why he made the decisions that he did, etc. I wanted to find someone to further my love of acting, and I found that someone in Christian.

Being fairly new to the wonders of the internet, I didn’t know there were things such as fandoms and fan forums, let alone fan fiction and photo sharing sites. when I decided to join the fan forum that was associated with the fan site I was reading, I didn’t really know what to expect. it was exactly what I needed: a place to discuss the movies, the characters and the man himself, along with viewing pictures and playing silly games while having fun with others who shared this interest of mine. I had no clue what I was doing and felt very intimidated at first. one of my favorite parts of the fan forum experience became conversing with people from all over the world, different ages and different walks of life, and connecting with them. it was very gratifying and exciting. after awhile, an unspoken judgment by some members seemed to emerge hinting that we were spending too much time and energy in off-topic threads, going on about other actors and other interests. that was true to a certain extent. the Twilight books were popular and the first movie had just come out,

From Rob to Richard

I had been avoiding the Twilight madness for awhile, seeing it as another Harry Potter money making machine. I loved the Harry Potter movies, mind you, and I read all of the books but the controversy about Black Magic was annoying; I could only imagine what “vampire love” was going to stir up. I had always liked vampires, being an avid reader of the Anne Rice novels and the various vampire movies from the 1980s. my forum friends kept urging me to read the books, so I finally did. and then I proceeded to gobble up the remaining books faster than I’ve ever read anything before, rereading them again immediately afterwards. the movie was due to come out on dvd and I was curious to see it but apprehensive at the same time. book adaptations were give and take– giving you things that you didn’t expect but taking away things that you really wanted to see with your own eyes. I had scouted around a little and got a feel for who the cast was and what the big things to expect in terms of storyline were. the vampire was that boy who played Cedric (Robert Pattinson) in one of the Harry Potter movies (The Goblet of Fire). his jaw could cut glass it was so sharp, I couldn’t wait to see him as Edward Cullen!

After I had seen the first Twilight movie and followed along with the filming of the second with my forum friends, IRobert Pattinson asked them about Rob. one of them had become a fan and so directed me to her favorite fan sites. I wasn’t sure what to think of him at first, he was so different from both his character and the photoshoots of him that I had seen. he was younger than me (11 years) which felt odd. the more I saw of him though the more I liked him, he was awkward and goofy and still free from the grown-up constraints that I had been fighting against in my life. I soon found a blog and it’s fan forum that was fun and sarcastic and lighthearted, they celebrated what they liked and “mocked with love” what they found ridiculous. it was a very different tone from the Christian Bale world that I had been operating in, so it was hard for me to jump back and forth between them. sometimes I was too serious for the Twilight world and too sarcastic for the Christian Bale one. eventually I had to choose between them. I chose Twilight.

I was still very much a fan of Christian but I visited that forum less and less. so many of the regular members had moved on and the ones who were left rarely talked about Christian’s work anymore. so I went rogue and did my Christian Bale fangirling on my own while also discovering the new world of Twilight, which included Robert Pattinson, fan-fiction, and The Brit Pack (Rob’s musician/actor friends). the Twilight world was so full, always something going on. and the interactions I was having on the forum were silly and nonsensical at times while also being serious and informative at others. I became a moderator on the forum which really boosted my confidence and influenced my online presence. Rob himself became my ‘crush’ focus at that time, he made me feel young…not that I wasn’t, aside from my age difference with him but I had lost myself in family life and I was struggling to find out who I was again. I felt part of a community and my senses were on fire with everything that I was discovering. my crush on Rob was mixed in with all the experiences I was having and the fictional character that I grew to love. he had a knack for smoldering through a picture lens and so the visual gratification I received from that fact fueled my crush. he himself was still awkward and goofy but rounding out into more of a man than a boy as time went on, which was nice to see.

all good things either evolve or fade away and my Twilight fixation was no different. as the movies were reaching their end, the community started to disband. the fanfiction community had taken a big hit with the wave of authors who were publishing their stories and the careers of the Britpack boys were moving forward, granting them less time to spend with one another. male friendships had always held a romanticism for me. the boys I had known in real life tended to have lasting friendships with each other that weren’t bogged down in petty drama or jealous possessiveness. I relished the tendency they had to remain fun and playful too. my childhood was spent around a lot of the male species and I had always gotten along with them, filling the role of little sister or best friend rather seamlessly. I liked boy friendships, they were lasting, unlike every single one of my female ones. so by the time Rob and his girlfriend/costar were involved in the cheating scandal, my enjoyment of it all was fading. I had formed a nice group of female (gasp!) friends that did stay together after all the drama. we’ve essentially converted the forum into our own personal fandom free zone. it’s a nice safety net to have as we continue to explore other fandoms, both individually and collectively.

Richard-Armitage-Outtake-Photo-DAMAN-5at this point I was still enamored with Christian Bale in the acting sense but was craving another fandom type experience with someone new. I looked around for awhile but was not finding anyone that fit the bill…until I saw The Hobbit. Richard Armitage was exactly what I was looking for: he was someone who impressed me with his approach to the craft of acting itself, he was personable and nice to look at, and he had a fandom attached to him already due to his roles in several television shows and mini-series. I found an added bonus this time around in that Richard caused me to want to be a better person. Richard is really nice, and he has a way of giving his full attention to whomever he is speaking with. I’d never seen that before in a celebrity/actor, someone who was actively listening instead of just formulating what to say next. his caring nature influenced my personal outlook greatly.

Richard’s acting took the things I loved about the craft that I had witnessed with Christian Bale and brought it to another level. he too cared about the character’s thought process, used the character’s individual traits and idiosyncrasies to enhance the performance but Richard went one step further and created a backstory, or personal canon, for the character in his mind. this made the characters richer and deeper and come alive for me in a special way. Richard also has a talent for using his eyes and body to convey things that others can only do through voice and dialogue. it became a sensory experience for me to be a fan of Richard Armitage. The fandom experience had it’s pros and cons. the pendulum seemed to swing from one end to the other and back again on a regular basis. I think that had more to do with me and my expectations than anything else. I learned a lot about myself as part of the RA fandom and it has helped me to finally find that balance in myself that I’ve struggled with for so long. a big part of that had to do with the blogging experience and being part of that particular type of community. my creativity blossomed in a way it hadn’t since I was a young adult, and that has had a very positive influence on the way I see myself.

The Hobbit movies are over now and so a new balance to the fandom is trying to emerge, it’s not clear what that balance is going to consist of. it’s not a bad thing, it’s just different. I’m different. I no longer have that consuming fire I did to ingest anything and everything about Richard, and then share each and every thought about it along the way. I’m still very much a fan of Richard Armitage and am following his career with anticipation and elation but there was an opening, a niche that was no longer filled to the brim. and Jamie Dornan walked right in.

From Jamie to…

Jamie Dornan took me by surprise, and he continues to do so, not only because I wasn’t expecting him but that he’slandscape_nrm_1421024073-elle-jamie-dornan breaking down my preconceptions. I had watched him in the series Once Upon a Time but once that role was over, he disappeared from my radar. he popped up again in the promos for Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ve had mixed feelings concerning many things surrounding that book but I do like the characters and their love story. while browsing around to satisfy my curiosity about the film version of the character, I came across Jamie’s television series The Fall. this series spoke to my love of psychology and trying to make sense of why people do the things that they do. I wanted to understand how the character of Paul Spector could maintain a husband/father facade while giving in to the compulsion to kill. I liked Paul, disturbing as that is. I do root for the bad guy on occasion but it’s usually because I feel they are redeemable, that they will eventually find some form of redemption. is Paul redeemable? what could redemption possibly look like for him? do I even want him to reach that point? (hopefully my questions will be answered in season 3!). something that grabbed my attention about Jamie’s performance, was that he didn’t speak very much. we, as the audience, are watching Paul and getting to know him by sight alone. that was possible due to Jamie’s excellent use of body language.

Jamie made a name for himself in modeling before he became an actor. it didn’t take me long to see that Jamie had been perfecting those body language skills for years as a male model: conveying different facets of sexy, smoldering, confident and capable maleness by a look, a head tilt, a change in posture or facial expression. previously noting this difference in regards to Robert Pattinson’s Photoshoot charisma vs his awkward off-camera self, the phenomenon shouldn’t have surprised me but it did. because when i saw the real Jamie, he appeared to be unassuming, friendly, genuinely nice and playful; he had been acting in those photoshoots. in regards to acting, Jamie does try to understand his characters and give them the respect they deserve but he doesn’t become them; he’s able to stay himself between takes. that approach is different from what I’m used to. this difference intrigues me.

Jamie makes me see things differently, about acting, about modeling, about the way he approaches life. he’s happily married with a little one at home; I will enjoy seeing it shape him as a person. but maybe most importantly, crushing on Jamie isn’t causing me to constantly evaluate myself. I’m not trying to live up to anything, I can just be who I’m supposed to be right now.

Each of these acting crushes have shaped me in their own ways and continue to do so as I follow up on them and their respective careers. my propensity to celebrate male actors and the personal ways they inspire me will continue to be a part of how I choose to express myself. It’s important to me, I don’t know why. maybe it has to do with childhood acceptance, maybe it has to do with adult insecurities, maybe it’s some form of parasocial companionship or just personal preference. it doesn’t really matter why or how. I will continue with it because it’s part of who I am.