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August 19 2014

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Kissy kiss
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August 05 2014

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unspeakable
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July 31 2014

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Benny and the Chocolate Factory by kriwyum
Benny and the Chocolate Factory with Chief Oompa-Loompa Martin (c)
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Richard III by Namecchan
Martin Freeman as Richard III - took me a bit to finish it, 'cause real life is keeping me busy! C;

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July 10 2014

From The Office to the West End: Martin Freeman and partner Amanda Abbington step out to celebrate the opening night of his play Richard III

He's worked in an office, portrayed a hobbit and is currently winning rave reviews for his performance as a hapless criminal in the TV show Fargo.

But Martin Freeman made his debut as a completely different character, treading the West End boards as the titular character in Richard III on Wednesday night.

The actor and his castmates were on hand for a gala night performance of their stage production, which will run for three months at the Trafalgar Studios, at One Whitehall Place.

Regal role: accompanied by his partner amanda abbington, martin freeman attended an after-party celebrating the gala night performance of richard iii, at london's trafalgar studios, on wednesday

Regal role: Accompanied by his partner Amanda Abbington, Martin Freeman attended an after-party celebrating the gala night performance of Richard III, at London's Trafalgar Studios, on Wednesday

Following the show, Martin, 42, cut a dapper figure in a blue-and-green checked blazer over a white button-down shirt as he stepped out of costume for the after-party.

The bearded screen star was accompanied by his actress partner Amanda Abbington, with whom he shares two children.

With her short blonde hair swept back, Amanda, 40, wore a cream Victorian-style panelled blouse, which she paired with a matching skirt.

Martin Freeman talks about playing deeply insecure Richard III

Video courtesy of Official London Theatre

Making an entrance: martin is all smiles as he prepares to enter the celebration with amanda

Making an entrance: Martin is all smiles as he prepares to enter the celebration with Amanda

Special guests: castmembers melanie masson, left, and lauren o'neil added their glamorous touch to the celebratory evening
Special guests: castmembers melanie masson, left, and lauren o'neil added their glamorous touch to the celebratory evening

Special guests: Castmembers Melanie Masson, left, and Lauren O'Neil add their glamorous touch to the celebratory evening

Dapper: martin poses with the play's director, jamie lloyd

Dapper: Martin poses with the play's director, Jamie Lloyd

Martin recently fanned the flames of controversy when he said that the works of William Shakespeare need the ‘boring bits’ cut out so younger audiences can enjoy it.

The Hobbit star said the Bard’s plays can be tedious and hit out at the ‘conspiracy of silence’ that makes it difficult for people to criticise them.

‘Very educated, very smart, very theatre-literate people’ tolerate the ‘boring  passages’ without saying anything, he said.

Co-stars: martin is joined by castmates tom sargent, left, and ross marron at the bash

Co-stars: Martin is joined by castmates Tom Sargent, left, and Ross Marron at the bash

Glamorous: maggie steed, left, and gina mckee join the festivities
Glamorous: maggie steed, left, and gina mckee join the festivities

Glamorous: Maggie Steed, left, and Gina McKee join the festivities

Raise your glasses: laruen plays lady anne in the production, while gina portrays queen elizabeth

Raise your glasses: Laruen plays Lady Anne in the production, while Gina portrays Queen Elizabeth

Spotted: warren brown opts for a button-down shirt and smart jeans for his night out

Spotted: Warren Brown opts for a button-down shirt and smart jeans for his night out

Speaking to The Andrew Marr Show he said he was ‘hellbent’ on bringing in a younger audience to see his new production of Richard III – which has updated the tale of court intrigue into an ‘imaginary dystopia’ – and thinks chopping out sections will help with that.

Talking about the play Martin said: 'I think Jamie’s [Lloyd, director] cut the play very judiciously and very well because I think something there can often be a slight conspiracy of silence around people going to see Shakespeare.

‘Among very educated, very smart, very theatre literate people who sort of tolerate the boring bits and boring passages without telling anybody and tolerate the bits of the play where they think, “I don’t know who she is” and “who’s he talking to” without saying so because that would sort of be a black mark against them.’

In action: martin portrays richard iii on stage

In action: Martin portrays Richard III on stage


July 08 2014

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July 07 2014

Applause! Applause! My kingdom for applause: But are overexcited Hobbit fans ruining Martin Freeman’s Richard III for Shakespeare purists?

  • Younger fans break into round of applause when Freeman appears much to annoyance of more seasoned theatregoers
  • Freeman would not comment but show's director defended enthusiastic approach
All eyes may be on Martin Freeman when he brings Shakespeare’s Machiavellian Richard III to life on stage – but for traditional theatregoers, the very worst villains are in the audience.

Fans of the Hobbit star have been accused of breaching ‘theatre etiquette’ by cheering the actor’s very first scene, during which he delivers the soliloquy starting ‘Now is the winter of our discontent’.

Conventionally, audiences break into applause only at the beginning of the interval and  at the final curtain.

Martin freeman as king richard iii in shakespeare's play

Martin Freeman as King Richard III in Shakespeare's play

However, enthusiastic Hobbit fans, many of whom are first-time theatregoers, have been accused of ruining some of Shakespeare’s most spellbinding moments with their ‘annoying’ and ‘disruptive’ bursts of applause.

One audience member, theatre  blogger Claire Dikecoglu, said last night: ‘After the opening monologue some fans tried to kick off clapping and cheering, which I found to be disruptive and unnecessary.

‘There are strong views on this,  but I was irritated when the audience interrupted the flow of the play to clap and cheer Martin’s first scene.’

Miss Dikecoglu, who was sitting in the front row for the show’s preview at London’s Trafalgar Studios, added: ‘While I am not a traditionalist in terms of dramaturgy, I do believe  in proper theatre etiquette.

‘It’s a first preview and there were mistakes. I understand that Martin Freeman is popular, but I have no  bigger pet peeve than everything  getting standing ovations these days.’

As hobbit fans know him, martin freeman plays bilbo baggins in the films based on tolkien's books

As Hobbit fans know him, Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins in the films based on Tolkien's books

Celebrated actress Dame Eileen Atkins agreed that applauding someone during the middle of a production was ‘wrong’.

She said: ‘It ultimately breaks the spell of the story. I think that what  is happening is because of the success of The Hobbit. Martin Freeman is attracting a different kind of audience who are not used to the theatre. Judi Dench is a big name, but I don’t think that her audience would behave in that fashion.’

Haydn Gwynne, who co-starred opposite Kevin Spacey in The Old Vic’s 2011 production of Richard III, said applauding a star during a play could be ‘undemocratic’.

She added: ‘If people clap at the beginning, then there is a danger they are being taken out of  the story. It should not be about the famous person.  It should be about the play and the role.’

And Maureen Lipman, who is about to star in the West End production of Daytona, also blamed the over-zealous applause  on the fact that Freeman’s starring role in The Hobbit trilogy had attracted a much younger audience to the show. She said: ‘Martin Freeman’s face is on every bus  in London.

The producers are going out to find the Hobbit audience.  They are spending a fortune to target them.’
She added: ‘The director tweeted the other day about the fact that the first two rows could expect to find themselves spattered in fake blood. 

‘They are aiming for people who spend most of their day with wire in their ears. It is not so much Richard III as Richard the rock concert.’

However, Oscar-winning dramatist Christopher Hampton, who is one  of Britain’s most successful playwrights, said he had no problem with people showing appreciation for actors in the middle of a play.

Mr Hampton, whose hits include Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the musical Sunset Boulevard, said: ‘Attracting first-time theatregoers is the holy grail as far as we are all concerned. We want them to come as much as possible.’ He added: ‘I love it when people applaud in the middle  of the play. I am all for people having a good time in the theatre and if they want to express themselves like that, I don’t see any harm in it.’

Last night Freeman, who has also appeared in TV hit Sherlock, was unavailable for comment, but Richard III director Jamie Lloyd stepped in to defend the production’s enthusiastic reception.

He said: ‘The show’s standing ovations have been instant, to reward the entire cast, not just Martin. They don’t wait for Martin to come on for his bow. I think that we are seeing an authentic, enthusiastic reaction from a generational muddle in the audience.

‘Younger, first-time theatregoers are more vocal and they are certainly screaming their appreciation at the end.’

July 04 2014

Review: Richard III (starring Martin Freeman), at Trafalgar Transformed

Jamie lloyd and martin freeman in rehearsal. photo marc brenner

There is much to like about Richard III. He is an one-man slaughter house, although he is more the senior executive than the cleaver. He is manipulative but he confides in us. In that respect, he is a bit like Hannibal. We spent so much time in his head we might as well like him. Or even trust him. And here is the great truth about Richard III: everyone knows he is the villain so he doesn’t have to be played as one.

Martin Freeman made his name playing “good guys” but this is an oversimplification (as most things in the media are). His performances brim with intelligence and occasional frustration. As Richard III, he starts tentatively but quickly hits his stride. In the scene where Richard does the impossible and woos Anne over her husband’s dead body, the openness of his approach is both alluring and frightening. If his good guys are frustrated by their virtue, his bad guy is frustrated by the absence of ambition. That’s why he kills, because no one is as ambitious as he is. It seems fair. At least to him. But he makes a pretty good case of it.

His performance is a rich combination of contempt, impatience, a sense of the ridiculous and a sweaty kind of wit, no more so than when he faces his nightmares. His final monologue is brilliant, his final moments – with a sly node to Indiana Jones – worthy of a vile but seductive king.

The other actors enter the fray with the same energy and glee: Forbes Masson is a brilliantly confident Hastings, a man who fancies himself a wheeler and dealer, only to realise that his head has been on the block all along. Gina Mckee is a heartbreaking Elizabeth, especially when Richard tries to convince her to broker a marriage with her daughter. She is broken by grief and fear but still won’t give him an inch. Lauren O’Neil’s Anne projects an intelligent kind of stoicism and. when it counts, she shows she is made of a harder metal.

Jamie Lloyd has a no nonsense approach to Shakespeare. He goes for the jugular, sort of speak. I don’t mean he is plain but he finds a way to untangle the threads and that makes for a very satisfying telling of the story. The 70s setting is a blessing and a curse. I come from a country that had a proper hardcore dictatorship in the 70s and everything in the production – the faded yellows and the static of interrupted tv broadcasts – smelt of that fear. But the design, while beautiful in itself, is impractical: the set is dominated by two long desks and five smaller ones. The actors have no space to move and they have to work hard to keep the momentum going.

Regardless, the vitality of the production is hard to deem. It captures a place where fear goes hand in hand with ambition, and the flow of blood, sweat and tears is the price one accepts to pay for sitting at the head of the table for a precious few moments.

In a time-honoured tradition with my Shakespeare reviews, the following section has SPOILERS. Don’t read if you don’t want to be spoiled about the production.

Here Be Monsters. I mean SPOILERS.

And so, what about Lady Anne? In Shakespeare’s text, Richard gets married to her and then rids of her in his usual underhanded way (with poison, or something similar, somewhere off stage). Not so here. Richard tells Gatesby

“Rumour it abroad
That Anne, my wife, is sick and like to die”.

in the presence of Anne, who listens horrified. In the next scene, Anne – fully aware of what’s about to happen – tells Buckingham:

“For never yet one hour in his bed
Have I enjoy’d the golden dew of sleep”.

And after that, Richard meets his wife and he kills her with his bare hands. This scene is horrific. Anne puts an almighty fight but in the end Richard manages to choke her with a telephone cord (this is echoed in his nightmare at the end of the play) and cuts her. All the while, he exerts and grunts and some of it is reminiscent of sexual activity. It’s disturbing, it’s harrowing and a line is crossed.

Richard finds a strange kind of comeuppance in his final moments: face to face with Richmond, he carries only a knife while Richmond points a gun at him. Richard pulls a face at the inadequacy of his weapon, cries for a horse and Richmond shoots at him. It’s the right combination of shocking, silly, weird and pointless that any struggle for power is.

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Theatre-goers rave about Martin Freeman's performance in Richard III

The Sherlock actor has impressed early reviewers playing Shakespeare's sovereign as part of Trafalgar Transformed

Theatre-goers rave about martin freeman's performance in richard iii

We're used to seeing Martin Freeman solving crimes with Benedict Cumberbatch or traversing Middle Earth but the star of Sherlock and The Hobbit has swapped the screen for the stage in his new play Richard III

Part of the Trafalgar Transformed season, the production sees Freeman play Shakespeare's troubled sovereign opposite The Borgias actress Gina McKee. The pair trod the boards together for the first time earlier this week and as the reviews begin to trickle in, one thing is clear. It's rather bloody good. And by bloody, we mean really *bloody*...

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2014-07-03/theatre-goers-rave-about-martin-freemans-performance-in-richard-iii

Martin Freeman, interview: 'Shakespeare invented Gollum'

Martin Freeman, star of Sherlock, Fargo and now Richard III, points out the similarities between Shakespeare's villain and the twisted creature of The Hobbit

About to tackle shakespeare: martin freeman

The man sitting in front of me in a south London rehearsal space doesn’t look much like a bottled spider or a foul bunch-back’d toad. He’s upright in his chair, trim, almost prim, in dress trousers and top-buttoned Lacoste shirt. Only the rough, grey-flecked beard hints at some incipient transformation.

This is Martin Freeman, three weeks shy of the opening of Richard III. The actor is playing the deformed Machiavellian regent at Trafalgar Studios in central London. It’s his first play in four years, since a production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park at the Royal Court.

But for all the variety of his screen work – The Office to The Hobbit, Sherlock to Fargo – the actor has described the production as his “first professional Shakespeare”. Does that mean Freeman has turned in some sloppy, unprofessional ones that we didn’t know about?

“There have been amateurish-in-drama-school ones,” he replies with a smile. At London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, the 42-year-old from Aldershot tried his hand at As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet. “But yeah, I can’t believe it – I’ve been out of drama school 19 years, and this is the first time I’ve done it professionally. I’m surprised,” he says, the unsurprise writ large on his seemingly mild-mannered face.

So Freeman is glad to be treading the boards again. Still, “it’s been long enough to find it slightly bewildering being back in the rehearsal room. But it’s a reminder that it’s absolutely where I want to be,” he says firmly. “It’s where I learnt how to act. It’s a zone that I feel extremely comfortable in.”

At the helm of the staging is Jamie Lloyd. Last year at the same venue he directed James McAvoy in a dystopian, very physical, very gruelling (for actor and audience), in-the-round reimagining of Macbeth. Now, he and Freeman’s Richard III has been billed as “provocative”. How so?

“I don’t know what I can give away…” he says. “Ours isn’t a futuristic dystopia; it’s an imaginary dystopia from a few decades ago. Twentieth century. When I first met Jamie he asked if I’d seen this documentary about this political event in our British history.”

Freeman – Mod fashion plate, Sixties music aficionado, history-savvy, a reader, celebrity-phobic – is very much a doc-watching kinda guy. “And I had seen it, and I knew all about it. And he said, ‘That’s good, ’cause that’s what I think is going to be the setting of this.’”

Was that event The Profumo Affair?

“It might be,” he says lightly. “I’m not even trying to be coquettish… But it is set in a real political time – a parallel universe setting, but a very recognisable one if you’re over 40.”

Hmm. The deposing of Margaret Thatcher? Freeman isn’t telling. He wants to honour the sanctity of the rehearsal room, and preserve the surprise. As much as anyone, he knows that his onrushing small- and big-screen fame – a blockbuster Hollywood trilogy here, a glorious BBC detective drama there, a cult American drama series over there – will be pulling many a Bilbo Baggins/Dr Watson/Lester Nygaard fan into the Trafalgar’s atmospheric cave.

Freeman says Lloyd’s retelling of Richard III is “totally alive. Jamie and I have a shared interest in people not being bored in the theatre. Or not being bewildered in an unhelpful way – and covering that bewilderment with keeping quiet ’cause no one wants to admit that they’re bewildered sometimes when they’re watching Shakespeare.”

Not helping matters is the fact that Richard III is a long play – the second heftiest in the Shakespeare canon. “Not any more it’s not! Jamie’s cut it judiciously.”

What about the hunchback?

“Well, you’ve got to have a hunchback. So, yeah, I’ll have physical deformities – a dodgy arm, a hump and a limp. I think people would want their money back if you just gave him a twitch. But also it feeds into how Richard sees himself. If the world has told him that he’s ugly, or he doesn’t fit, or he doesn’t work properly, that has had a severe effect on how he sees his place in the world. So it starts basically with Richard telling the audience that he’s going to be a real s---, and he’s put lots of plots and devices into action,” says Freeman brightly.

“So if you start with that, you have to somehow make sense of why he’s doing that. Otherwise he’s just a boo-hiss villain. And in 2014 we want a bit more than that.”

All that said, this “funny, vaguely camp” Richard III, who is also (to quote the text) “rudely stamp’d… deformed, unfinished…” – well, he does sound vaguely familiar. He could be, in fact, Gollum.

Freeman nods briskly. “Well, yes. I’ve just been rehearsing a scene where Richard is having a little diatribe to himself, where his schizophrenic personality comes out. And it’s absolutely Gollum, it’s totally Gollum. It’s like Shakespeare invented Gollum 400 years ago.”

This Christmas Freeman’s own history-making, there-and-back-again Hobbit journey finally comes to a close. He’s been front and centre with Peter Jackson’s second Tolkien trilogy for over three years now. What, then, does he make of the recent comments made to the Telegraph by Viggo Mortensen – a star of the Lord of the Rings trilogy – that Jackson’s Middle-earth epics were increasingly sacrificing subtlety for CGI fireworks?

“I’ve never liked him,” he replies, deadpan. “No, I do like him. All I can say is: I hope that’s not the case. I know Peter and the team who make those films, they’d be horrified to think they’d jettisoned all subtlety. Yeah, there’s a lot of CGI, an awful lot of that business going on. But they are still very, very interested in story. They want the human side of it to be absolutely pivotal.

“Beyond that?” he muses. “Of course it’s a question of taste and I respect Viggo’s opinion.”

And what news from the Sherlock camp? Interviewed earlier this year, Freeman said that filming on series four was looking unlikely to happen this autumn as originally scheduled. He confirms that today – Cumberbatch seems to be making multiple movies simultaneously, while Richard III runs until the end of September. But he adds that an early 2015 shoot “looks pretty likely”, before Cumberbatch follows Freeman into Shakespeare with Hamlet on stage at the Barbican. Does that mean transmission would be pushed to the notionally graveyard slot of summertime, which is when the original series premiered?

“Ah, no,” he begins, squirming slightly. “If that’s gonna be a special – I’m speaking off-message here; if this was New Labour I’d get fired – I think that might be for next Christmas. A Christmas special. That’s what I understand.” (This was later confirmed by the BBC.)

In this year’s third series, his real-life wife, Amanda Abbington (Mr Selfridge, Case Histories) joined the cast to become his on-screen missus. Has she become a permanent cast member?

“Certainly yes for the foreseeable future. While we play fast and loose with the original stories, we generally follow the trajectory of what Conan Doyle did. So he gets married, and then Mary dies – so at some point presumably she’ll die! But she’s certainly in… at least the next one,” he says, carefully, alert to any amateur Sherlocking on my part.

When I interviewed Abbington last year, I asked her about her partner and she observed with pride: “Martin plays a good villain. He did a thing called Jump Mr Malinoff Jump, where he played this quiet psychopath. Yeah, he’s terrifying. Everyone does think he’s really Mr Nice Guy. And he’s not, he’s a fiend. You’ve got a scoop,” she said with a laugh. “‘Partner is evil.’”

That might be stretching it. But Freeman’s relish for getting his teeth stuck into Richard III seems of a piece with his enthusiasm for playing Lester Nygaard. The play is unveiled just as his much-praised performance as Fargo’s leading man comes to an end on Channel 4.

Mild-mannered? Martin Freeman in Fargo (Picture: C4)

In the violent-yet-offbeat series based on Joel and Ethan Coen’s cult 1996 film, his mild-mannered, chewy-accented insurance salesman has found his life spiralling out of control through a combination of circumstance (hideous wife, hideous hitman). And in simple terms, Lester and Richard are both villains. You can tell from his performance in Fargo – and I can tell from the intense way he discusses Richard III – that Freeman is enjoying these roles with turbulent emotional depths.

Unlike Richard, though, Lester doesn’t start out as a baddy. He’s a baddy the way that Breaking Bad’s hero is a baddy.

“Yeah,” says Martin with a nod of recognition. “When I read the script I thought, ooh, that’s quite Walter White-ish. But where Lester Nygaard starts off with you sympathising with him, and everything he does is understandable, Richard just starts off going: I am a c---, and here’s why I’m a c---…” (Freeman, it must here be said, likes a good swear.) “He’s revelling in it. Whereas Lester would never consider himself a tosser. Like most people don’t.”

Lester, a small man in a small town, was bullied at school. The ongoing torment of his childhood is one of the reasons for the implosion of his respectable, middle-aged, suburban life. Freeman wasn’t bullied, but he was mummied by girls who thought his stature cute. Perhaps that evoked feelings not unlike bullying?

“Yeah, probably, I’m sure…” begins this youngest of five. “I can be reasonably embarrassed sometimes, but as a person I’m more confident than Lester, obviously. But I can easily tap into that feeling of mortification. There’s a scene where the woman I eventually do the dirty on is kind of flirting with me and doing this little dance. And Lester doesn’t know where to look,” he says with feeling, “or where to put himself. Yeah, that stuff was easy to tap into. You just remember what you were like as a 12-year-old,” he laughs. “Do you know what I mean?”

Of course Freeman missed his family while filming Fargo – he and Abbington, his partner of 14 years, have two children, Joe, eight, and Grace, six, and live in Hertfordshire, just outside London. But the five months filming in snowy Calgary, standing in for snowy Minnesota, were, he acknowledges, worth it. “It definitely helped being in a cold, white-on-the-ground environment. I don’t know how would create that world in, say, southern Spain. There was something about the uptightness of that culture that we’re playing that is served by being really cold.”

Still, the shooting experience was even more isolating than his long stints in New Zealand filming the three Hobbit movies. But how did he get the job in the first place? Even in an American TV landscape studded with well-regarded Brits (Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead and Jonny Lee Miller in their version of Sherlock, Elementary, to name but two), Freeman’s casting was interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he’s never seemed much of a careerist – the actor previously refused to audition for any American show, loath to be locked into their standard seven-year contract. Secondly – and we shall return to this, as interviews with Freeman inevitably do – he is perceived (and I stress the word) to have a straight, uncomplicated, and you might say very British appeal. And thirdly, it seems as if he’s never been one to play the actor game.

Earlier this year Freeman was interviewed for Radio Times by Sherlock co-creator (and co-star) Mark Gatiss. The actor/writer recounted how Freeman’s first audition for the part of Dr Watson was underwhelming. Partly, it seemed, because Freeman had had his wallet stolen en route.

“You know what?” says Freeman when I mention this. “I completely have no recollection that I had my wallet nicked. I might have said that at the time…”

To excuse his shambolic interview?

Poor audtion: Martin Freeman with Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock (Picture: BBC)

“Yeah, I might have done, because I know I was in a bad mood. And I’m sometimes not very good at hiding that. So I wasn’t really doing the dance. And that was probably being reflected back at me in the audition.”

A week later his agent rang. The Sherlock team of Gatiss and Steven Moffat thought the actor wasn’t interested in the part of Watson. Freeman insisted that he was and asked for another chance.

“I met them again and did the dance – and, well, read with Benedict. And that’s what clinched it – ’cause then it wasn’t theoretical. It was very, very clearly happening between us.”

Cut to the final days on filming on the most recent, third season of Sherlock. Freeman, by now a global face (if not a name) courtesy of The Hobbit, hears about Fargo. How did the audition for the American drama compare with his stop-start Sherlock tryout?

“I didn’t audition for Fargo,” he shrugs. “It was a straight offer. They didn’t even ask to hear the accent.”

Really?

“I know! It could have all gone very, very badly. Yeah, I was surprised that they didn’t want to hear that. ’Cause I could have had a cloth ear. And fortunately I’m not bad with accents, although I’ve never done that [Minnesotan] one before… He might have had to be English. Lester Nichols,” he chuckles.

They must have really loved his work, I suggest.

“Yeah, I know,“ he smiles. “I was pleasantly surprised just to have the straight offer. That was nice. I mean, I’m not being funny – I think they were right! ’Cause I thought I could do it, but there’s other people who could also do it who are already American, or already have a hit TV show there.

“And I’m glad that they saw what you’ve said: that underlying something else. [Show creator] Noah Hawley had seen something else I’d done and spotted that I wasn’t all sweetness and light. That there was a bit of fire in the belly.”

The widespread assumption that Freeman is – to use an adjective he hates with a passion – an “everyman” really gets his goat. To his mind, it’s pejorative – a lazy way of typecasting and diminishing him as nicey-nice, inoffensive Tim From The Office in every part he plays.

But in the end, will the audience find his Richard III likeable?

“I hope not. I know people will. I know people will,” he repeats. “Which I think is a critic’s way out when they don’t know how to deal with the fact that, oh, I’m playing it!

“No, he won’t be too likeable,” he insists. “But he’s kinda funny, and he’s kinda witty. And if you didn’t play that you’d be missing something. But I know that because I’m playing it, it’ll be: ‘Oh, he’s a bit like Tim from The Office!’”

Equally inevitable, he thinks, is the review that says, “he brings a certain everyman quality to Richard III”. A slightly weary shrug. “I can’t control what people think they’re seeing.”

He’s smiling still, but his voice is rising, and he’s repeating the point, and he’s going ever-so-slightly ranty.

“Characters’ actions have to justifiable – because Pol Pot’s were, and Kim Jong-il’s were, and Stalin’s were… they were all justifiable to themselves. They didn’t get up in the morning and eat a baby. They were charismatic, they were likeable, people wanted to be led by them and they wanted to be f---ed by them.”

That does indeed sound like a provocative Richard III.

July 03 2014

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Watson by Fayeren
Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman) of BBC's TV series 'Sherlock'.

Graphite-Drawing;
The background is painted with coffee and espresso and the splatter are acrylics;
Blue pastel for the eyes and white pastel for highlights;

Paper: Stonehenge
Size: 11 x 14 inch

Feel free to reblog it on Tumblr: rdelage.tumblr.com/post/896529… :)

June 30 2014

New look: martin freeman spotted at  bbc television centre in london
Bright young thing? martin cut a colourful figure in his new attire
Making a spectacle of himself? the popular tv actor wore some shaded glasses

My Richard III has no boring bits, says Hobbit star Martin Freeman: Actor wants tedious parts taken out of Shakespeare so younger audience can enjoy them


Not boring: martin freeman plays a modern version of richard iii

Not boring: Martin Freeman plays a modern version of Richard III


Shakespeare needs the ‘boring bits’ cut out so younger audiences can enjoy it, actor Martin Freeman claims.

The Hobbit star said the Bard’s plays can be tedious and hit out at the ‘conspiracy of silence’ that makes it difficult for people to criticise them.

‘Very educated, very smart, very theatre-literate people’ tolerate the ‘boring  passages’ without saying anything, he said.

Speaking to The Andrew Marr Show he said he was ‘hellbent’ on bringing in a younger audience to see his new production of Richard III – which has updated the tale of court intrigue into an ‘imaginary dystopia’ – and thinks chopping out sections will help with that.

However, his comments were dismissed yesterday by education experts who branded him ‘patronising’ for promoting a ‘Match of the Day’ version of the Bard’s works.

Talking about the play, which beings its three month run at London’s Trafalgar Studios tomorrow, Mr Freeman said: ‘‘I think Jamie’s [Lloyd, director] cut the play very judiciously and very well because I think something there can often be a slight conspiracy of silence around people going to see Shakespeare.

‘Among very educated, very smart, very theatre literate people who sort of tolerate the boring bits and boring passages without telling anybody and tolerate the bits of the play where they think, “I don’t know who she is” and “who’s he talking to” without saying so because that would sort of be a black mark against them.’


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2674350/My-Richard-III-no-boring-bits-says-Hobbit-star-Martin-Freeman-Actor-wants-tedious-parts-taken-Shakespeare-younger-audience-enjoy-them.html#ixzz367rLl2wb
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June 24 2014

Martin Freeman: 'I didn't audition for Fargo'

The British star of Fargo has said the TV series could have 'all gone very, very bad'

Martin freeman in fargo

Sherlock star Martin Freeman adopts a Minnesotan accent to play Lester Nygaard, the hapless insurance salesman at the centre of Channel 4's Fargo.

However, the British actor has revealed that Fargo's producers didn't even see if Freeman could do a convincing American accent before casting him as Lester.

He told The Telegraph: "I didn’t audition for Fargo. It was a straight offer. They didn’t even ask to hear the accent.”

Freeman said: "It could have all gone very, very bad. Yeah, I was surprised that they didn’t want to hear that. ’Cause I could have had a cloth ear.

"Fortunately I’m not bad with accents, although I’ve never done that [Minnesotan] one before…He might have had to be English. Lester Nichols.”

Freeman explained that he had been hired for Fargo, which is a TV adaptation of the Coen Brothers' 1996 film of the same name, because the show's creator Noah Hawley had admired his earlier work.

"Noah Hawley had seen something else I’d done and spotted that I wasn’t all sweetness and light" Freeman said: "That there was a bit of fire in the belly.”

Freeman added that he had recognised another TV baddie in Lester: Breaking Bad's anti-hero Walter White.

The actor, who grew up in Hampshire, said that he tapped into a "feeling of mortification" to play Lester, who still suffers from being bullied in childhood: "that stuff was easy to tap into. You just remember what you were like as a 12-year-old. Do you know what I mean?”

The first season of Fargo finishes on Sunday night. Hawley has hinted that the second season may have a different cast.

June 18 2014

Sherlock's make-up secrets: Benedict Cumberbatch's green hair and Andrew Scott's guy-liner

Claire Pritchard-Jones reveals what goes on behind the scenes of the detective drama, from Martin Freeman's moustache hatred to parties in the make-up chair...

Sherlock's make-up secrets: benedict cumberbatch's green hair and andrew scott's guy-liner

Now this is a woman Sherlockians have every right to be envious of. Meet Claire Pritchard-Jones – the Sherlock make-up artist responsible for creating Benedict Cumberbatch's tousled curls and that moustache. 

She appeared with her husband Arwel Wyn Jones – who just happens to be Sherlock's production designer – at this week's Sherlock Holmes Convention in Vienna and revealed some precious secrets from the BBC1 drama. The Q&A is reported in full on somelikeitpink's tumblr but here are the highlights.

1. When Benedict Cumberbatch first did the pilot, his hair was dyed dark to resemble the famous Sherlock Holmes. What the make-up team didn't foresee were his bleached locks (he'd just played Van Gogh), which turned a lovely shade of green the day before filming began. Cue a last minute dash to the hairdressers.... 

2. Jim the IT guy had tinted eyelashes (according to Sherlock) but Jim Moriarty went one better. In addition to the slicked hair and pale pallor of Sherlock's arch-nemesis, the production team reached into their make-up bags to help Andrew Scott perfect Moriarty's "cold stare". What did they use? Guy-liner. 

3. The moustache. A point of contention, apparently, when Martin Freeman had to sport the facial accessory for the start of series three. According to Pritchard-Jones, they had to try over ten different versions before Martin finally agreed to one. He also shaved it off sooner than originally planned in the script. 

4. Rupert Graves flirts with Una Stubbs. (And she loves it!) 

5. The licking scene between Charles Augustus Magnussen (played by Lars Mikkelsen) and Lady Smallwood (Lindsay Duncan) in His Last Vow resulted in a few queasy stomachs amongst the crew but the make-up team were on hand with tons of mouth wash, mints and some face wipes for poor Lindsay. Apparently a few of the takes were much worse than the one they ended up using. 

6. Claire gets to hang out with Benedict Cumberbatch every morning. Sometimes he'll come in and have loads of lines to learn but then there are the days they turn the music up and have a party. A PARTY. 

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Reposted frommajowka majowka

June 17 2014

MARTIN FREEMAN ON FARGO, FAME AND SHERLOCK


TV hit show Fargo has shown us a different side to Martin Freeman. The everyman? The London local tells us why he’s embracing his dark side, how he deals with fame and why he was not sure about Sherlock originally

Martin Freeman is not a particularly flamboyant individual or actor. Yet his list of roles is impressive when you consider their collective impact on the popular imagination.

Though filmgoers may know him best for slaying orcs as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, Martin was already famous in the UK for having played Tim, Ricky Gervais’ foil in The Office, long before he began helping solve crimes as John Watson in Sherlock, the hit BBC series co-starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes. Now he’s starring as the downtrodden Lester Nygaard in the highly anticipated TV adaptation of Fargo, the Oscar-winning Coen brothers’ classic. Martin’s mild-mannered acting persona is ideally suited to playing the unlikely middle class salesman-turned-criminal.

‘When we meet Lester, he’s a 40-year-old man who has been pushed around for most of his life,’ Martin explains. ‘He’s in a loveless marriage. He’s henpecked, to say the least. He’s not brilliant at his job. He gets a lot of life thrown a


TV hit show Fargo has shown us a different side to Martin Freeman. The everyman? The London local tells us why he’s embracing his dark side, how he deals with fame and why he was not sure about Sherlock originally

Martin Freeman is not a particularly flamboyant individual or actor. Yet his list of roles is impressive when you consider their collective impact on the popular imagination.

Though filmgoers may know him best for slaying orcs as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, Martin was already famous in the UK for having played Tim, Ricky Gervais’ foil in The Office, long before he began helping solve crimes as John Watson in Sherlock, the hit BBC series co-starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes. Now he’s starring as the downtrodden Lester Nygaard in the highly anticipated TV adaptation of Fargo, the Oscar-winning Coen brothers’ classic. Martin’s mild-mannered acting persona is ideally suited to playing the unlikely middle class salesman-turned-criminal.

‘When we meet Lester, he’s a 40-year-old man who has been pushed around for most of his life,’ Martin explains. ‘He’s in a loveless marriage. He’s henpecked, to say the least. He’s not brilliant at his job. He gets a lot of life thrown at him and he doesn’t deal with it very well.’

Produced by the American F/X network and shot in the cold climate of Calgary, Alberta, the series co-stars Billy Bob Thornton as the low-life career criminal Lorne Malvo, whose chance meeting with Mygaard sets in motion a series of grim events in the unsuspecting town of Fargo, Minnesota.

It was precisely the ugly side of Lester Nygaard that appealed to Martin who has been trying to extend his range as an actor and distance himself from his perpetual ‘nice guy’ image. ‘You want to do different things and you want to challenge people’s perceptions of you,’ he nods, ‘and you want to challenge your own work and your own perception of what it is you do. So, certainly, the overt dark side of Lester was something very attractive to me. People certainly don’t associate me with being a killer!’

Playing lester nygaard has taken martin freeman to new ground

Playing Lester Nygaard has taken Martin Freeman to new ground

The early episodes of Fargo have been warmly received, even by die hard fans of the film who expressed their doubts when details of the TV show were first revealed. Even more transfixing, arguably, is Martin’s rather convincing Minnesota accent. ‘You have to be careful not to be condescending or patronizing,’ he says on nailing the voice. ‘You need to walk a fine line and I was concerned about not taking comic liberties with the manner or the accent of the character. I was careful not to patronize these people whom even most Americans are probably unfamiliar with in terms of how they speak and interact.’

He admits taking the role wasn’t a straight-forward decision, but taking the plunge was all down to his actress wife, Amanda Abbington. ‘When I got to the scenes where I knew it was me and Billy Bob, they were fantastically written scenes. I kicked it around in my head and I showed the script to my wife, and she told me, “You’ve gotta do it. It’s so good”. And so I did it.’

Fargo is yet another huge tick in what’s becoming a hugely successful CV – and in this industry, there’s no getting away from the fame that comes with it. ‘It’s not something I was ever seeking,’ Martin says, ‘and of course I understand that it’s the nature of this business that with success comes recognition. It can be pleasant to have people acknowledge your work and express their appreciation, but sometimes the attention can be difficult to bear and I admit I’m not good at that sort of thing, I like having my little world to myself, and for my friends and family.’

Martin’s ‘little world’ revolves around Potters Bar, where he lives with Amanda and their two children, Joe and Grace. ‘We live there because it’s so close to town,’ he says. ‘That is one of the main things that appeals so much. I can get into town for work or to shop, but I can escape that busyness and get home where there are fields and big sky and a bit more tranquillity. In my mind, I have the best of both worlds.’

Does he have particular London loves? ‘I love clothes and I have a few tailors that I go to in London, John Smedley and Mark Powell,’ he reveals. ‘If it was up to me, I would make everybody in London wear a three-piece suit, no matter what they were doing or what the weather was like. That would make everywhere a bit nicer, wouldn’t it? I also love the style of North London people. This may sound crazy, but you can tell a North London road from a South London road, just as you can tell east from west. And I think the people match that.’

His affinity to the capital found the perfect partner when the role of John Watson came around. ‘That was one of the best things about Sherlock,’ he enthuses, ‘the whole London aspect of it. Aside from the story, that really appealed to me. It is so exciting to do something that takes in the history of London, the artistic side of the City. We got to explore that thing that is so pivotal to the City and it made the experience even more special.’

Martin freeman on fame, fargo and sherlock

Martin on the red carpet with wife Amanda Abbington

Even if, again, he wasn’t sure about taking on the part. ‘I wouldn’t have played in it if I hadn’t felt we were doing something unique,’ he insists. ‘I thought it was very risky to try to update Sherlock Holmes, but I was willing to discuss it. The problem was that the day I met the people who were doing Sherlock, I was feeling stressed and irritable and I left the impression that I wasn’t that anxious to do it. The next time I went in I read some scenes with Benedict, which went very well, and that’s when I saw that our rhythms were naturally suited to work together.’

During the last series, we even got to see Martin’s Watson marry Mary Morstan, who happened to be his real life partner. ‘It was very enjoyable to have Amanda with me,’ he grins. ‘I’ve done a few things with Amanda, but nothing as sustained as this. Mark [Gatiss, who both executive produces and plays Mycroft] had worked with her before and so had Steven [Moffat]. During season two, Mark said to me: “You haven’t talked about who might play Mary”. That was the first time this conversation had ever come up. I said: “Well, to be honest, I think Amanda would be pretty good” and he goes: “That’s exactly what we were thinking”.

‘They knew she was able to be funny and engaging and just right. The last thing you want is to feel like you’re being John and Yoko, but Amanda can do this all day long in her sleep. Of course I love her, but I know also she’s a really good actress. I wouldn’t say she should play everything in the world, but as far as the casting, it’s pretty good. If you’re lucky enough to work with your missus or mister, and you actually want to and get on with them, it does help if you’re filming away from home. You can see them more than you would normally.’

A third series will come for Sherlock, particularly after the tantalising cliff-hanger we were left on, and then there’s the conclusion to Martin’s Hobbit adventure – and a West End run where he will be taking one of the biggest baddies in history, Richard III. He promises a different take on the much-vilified King at the Trafalgar Studios run starting this month – just another to add to the that hugely impressive role list.

June 12 2014

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:iconnaturalshocks:

In Need of a Fixby naturalshocks

Fan Art / Traditional Art / Drawings / Movies & TV©2014 naturalshocks TUMBLR

Martin Freeman as John Watson in BBC's Sherlock.
3x03 His Last Vow

White coloured pencil and grey pastel pencil on A4 black paper. 

More Sherlock art HERE
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