King Richard Armitage Week: Leading Ladies and That Proposal Scene

To celebrate Richard Armitage’s 40th birthday and to commemorate the anniversary of Richard III’s death, this blog is participating in an extended series of RA blog events for the Richard III for Richard Armitage!/King Richard Armitage project (sign the petitionjoin the Facebook group). Enjoy the fun!

We have extended KRA Week since we still have more posts coming from blog contributors. It’s a super-sized week! 

Servetus has another terrific post, this one focuses on the Richard III + Lady Anne relationship. I was also curious about the romantic possibilities for their courtship and proposal scenes in the RIII project, which would be a welcome shift from the sinister seduction of the Shakespearean version and would certainly not involve spitting.

Here is a quick summary of the historical romance: Anne Neville was the daughter of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, who used Anne as a pawn to secure his own political power. At a young age, she was betrothed to RIII, but her father switched alliances and arranged for her to marry Edward of Westminster when she was 14. Then both her father and husband abruptly died and she had no allies since her brother-in-law (Richard’s brother) wanted to claim her part of the inheritance. RIII is said to have rescued her from this drama and the pair quickly married.

In Shakespeare’s play, Act 1 Scene 2 is the proposal scene. RIII woos Anne at the king’s funeral, telling her how he killed her husband and the king (her father-in-law) so that he could marry her. She becomes enthralled by his passion for her and implicit offer of protection and submits to becoming his wife.

Laurence Olivier + Claire Bloom

Laurence Olivier works his seductive charm in the worst haircut in the history of cinema, sending Bloom into a swoon. It almost seems romantic.

Kenneth Branagh + Stella Gonet, audio recording

Branagh goes for the crying and tender murmuring tactics. Gonet does the best job of showing Lady Anne’s rage.

Ian McKellen + Kristin Scott Thomas

McKellen does a commanding job of convincing Lady Anne and his energetic asides to the camera work well. Scott Thomas’ Lady Anne is beaten down and withdrawn in her consent. The least romantic proposal. The ring in the his mouth does not help.

Al Pacino + Winona Ryder (starts at 7:44), goes to Pt 4

Ryder seems a little lost here. Pacino hams it up. Yikes at the age difference. Very predatory. DON’T DO IT GIRL.

I mulled over possible actresses to play Anne (Servetus’ post also has an Anne actress poll), but was not coming up with many age-appropriate choices. One actress I did think about was the lovely and talented Claire Foy (b. 1984) from Little Dorrit since she was able to portray strength and vulnerability so movingly in that production. I also would like to see her do some quality work so that she doesn’t have to settle for being a witch in a Nicholas Cage movie.

Or perhaps Australian actress Abbie Cornish (b. 1982) who played one of Queen Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting in Elizabeth: The Golden Age and starred as Fanny Brawne in Bright Star (the video below contains the ending scenes of BS).

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7 thoughts on “King Richard Armitage Week: Leading Ladies and That Proposal Scene

  1. Didn’t mean to preempt you on this topic — somehow I missed that you were going to write on it. I apologize. I did not like Pacino / Ryder AT ALL. Claire Foy is a marvelous suggestion — just saw Little Dorrit this spring and loved it.

    • Oh no worries at all – I went back and forth on it so it’s a last-minute thing. I’m glad you did it! 🙂

      I was originally going to do a RIII proposal scene as period drama fan fiction but I just wasn’t satisfied with it and it ended up sounding very Frederick Wentworth.

      CDoart and I were thinking about a Lady Anne poll, but I never could come up with many names.

      • It’s a hard question, honestly — mostly hard because of setting parameters and deciding which problems you are going to ignore (age of actors, e.g.) and which you are going to consider as relevant barriers to casting. Also hard to find actresses that would be open to doing a potentially long project, if it were like The Tudors, on tv, but also of significantly high quality.

  2. That is true. I could only think in terms of the major film actresses and ones in recent Masterpiece productions. I hope that they will be able to find an actress with great chemistry with RA.

    Btw I tried to find grapefruit soda in OH and thought that “citrus-flavored” Mello Yello would suffice, but was sadly mistaken.

  3. Pingback: King Richard Armitage Week: (Wrap-Up) Hooray! | darlingdarling blog

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