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Richard Crispin Armitage (born 22 August 1971) is an English actor famous for his roles as John Thornton in North & South, Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, and Lucas North in Spooks. He plays Thorin Oakenshield in the three-film adaptation of The Hobbit.
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Born in Leicester, England, Richard Armitage attended Huncote Community Primary School in Huncote, Blaby District, Leicestershire. Later at Brockington College in Enderby he studied music, playing the cello in school and local orchestras as well as learning how to play the flute. He pursued this interest to Pattison College in Coventry, where his education expanded to include dance and actingHe gained A Levels in music and English.
Richard Armitage describes himself as a method actor. "In a way it's slightly lazy because it means you don't have to pretend - you just have to believe. As much as it's possible to be like that I suppose I kind of do step in and out, I'm not one of these people that can't talk to other people because I'm in my character, but I kind of do stay with the character, yeah. He's always there. It's like marinating something - you're sitting in a marinade the whole time." He frequently speaks of being drawn to and developing dualism in his characters. “If I’m offered the role of the hero, I immediately look for the antihero within!... I see everything in terms of an outer skin and an inner skin.” He has often said that he creates “character diaries” with entire biographies for the characters he plays. “It was important to me to put in a background for my character that would be useful for the whole journey. A lot of that is secret and no one gets to read that. It’s what is useful to me. If you are playing something long running and a role that has a future [beyond the initial series], it’s almost like you have to plant a garden which you will need to come back to at some point. If you don’t put in early, it can jar with you.”
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