Edited to include YouTube Link to the chat from RichardArmitageCentral. 

Updating live while sneaking at work. LOL!

And right off the bat, the emcee gets his name wrong. Armitaaahge.

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PARAPHRASING SOME THINGS I THOUGHT INTERESTING:

Q: What does a show have to have to get you involved?

Richard: Hunting for something contemporary and relevant. No prosthetics, full height, no beard!  We’re chasing the news in the writing.

Michelle: It always begins with the writing. The idea of whistleblowers, intelligence. . the most beautiful factors that cemented it were getting to live and work in Berlin. It’s visually an amazing city. They’ve come out with real tolerance and wisdom and patience. A beautiful place to wake up in everyday. It’s a place that knows what it is to be human, what it is to survive.

Q: Is the subject something you’re passionate about? Do you fact check the writers?

Richard: I feel my job is to challenge the writing and live through the writing. I did research, but you just plug yourself in.  I found myself at 3 am in the morning brainstroming our story. I just let myself go down that road.

Michelle: Yes, it is kind of part of our job. It is a luxury to immerse ourselves in the world. To do it in the city that is known to be the city of spies.  We’ve both done espionage in the past, but this is a different world. We really explore what this day.. this information age is about. what it means for us as citizens. What it is to have the truth. . .is that a right? We had those conversations. Hopefully that will spark dialogue.

At the root of our drama is the idea of where do we find the truth. – Richard Armitage

Q: We’re in an age of whistleblowers. . . the intentions have sort changed. Does the show go into any of that?  (Seriously, this host doesn’t ask questions, he does rambling commentary and then waits for them to talk -HP.)

Michelle: On our level, this is such an important conversation to be having. You’re right it has changed. It’s going to grow into what it is going to grow into. . . like the internet, we have no control over the good or bad. But part of a society has to pull back the veils that people put over our information.

Richard: At the root of our drama is the idea of where do we find the truth. It’s becoming ever more elusive. Equivocation has become ever more normal.  People look now to places like Wikileaks. . . but even the truth can be untrustworthy.

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Q: What’s it like working with Rhys Ifans  (Pronounces it Eye-fans)

Richard: I like to call him Rhys EE-fans. (I loved this because he’s happy to correct his friend’s name but would never be so impolite as to make the pronunciation of his own name a thing. Even though I kind of wish he would! -hp) He’s deeply Welsh and deeply funny.  I spent so much time trying not to laugh with him. Incredibly intelligent, questioning everything, the diligence he brought to that role.  I take my hat off.

Q: Were you shooting episode by episode?

Michelle: We block shot two episodes at a time. I think that’s pretty common now.

Richard: And it wasn’t all written.  We came in with two episodes. Which can be good. It was like it was tailor-written for the characters. It’s a little stepping in blind, but that works for the characters.

Q: Does that help? Were you surprised by your character at all?

Richard: When I did Spooks, I was obsessed with where my character was going and wanted to know everything.  I let that go for myself this time. I stopped asking the question about what would happen to him.  That’s frightening, but liberating.

I like to be incredibly prepared so I can be totally unprepared for something. You have to have incredible armor in order to step into the unknown. – Richard Armitage

Q: How much does being in the moment inform your character in terms of the acting?

Michelle: I like being in the moment.

Richard: I like to be incredibly prepared so I can be totally unpreprared for something. You have to have incredible armor in order to step into the unknown. (And THIS is what I’m constantly telling actors I work with. You do deep prep so you can be spontaneous! – hp)

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Audience questions: 

(First question I couldn’t hear. Think it was about backstory.-hp)

Richard: When I sat down with the writers to find out who Daniel was, they had a skeleton of an idea, but we all just filled it in with a richer background. For tv, we may have ten episodes or five seasons. It’s  like a garden that you plant and work in and things come up later. There is a backstory, there’s things we can touch on. But at the same time we acknowledge the show isn’t about looking backwards but about looking forward.

Michelle: I’m angry I didn’t think of the garden analogy.

Q: Did you have a backstory?

Michelle: No, it’s all about the shoes.

(jokes about running in heels)

So to step into another person’s experience. . . To be constantly in search for something different than you’ve done before. It keeps that childlike curiosity. It’s a tonic for life. I’d never advise being an actor to others because it is full of obstacles, but I’d never give it up for the world.   -Richard Armitage

Q: It takes work to have a life as an actor, I wanted to ask what does a life as an actor mean to you? What does it do for you?

Michelle: Why do I feel like crying immediately? I have to say that a part of our job is to complain. It’s under “special skills” (on an actor’s resume there’s a “special skills” section. – hp). The truth is this career has given me an extraordinary life, I travel the world, go to Berlin, be with beautiful people and create things. It isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, but I’m speechless when I think about what this career has given me. It is a strange way to make a living.  Sometimes I think I should find a way to be more of service, but storytelling is a service.  There is a real honor and a real gratitude.

Richard: When I think about the biggest influences from childhood, they were literature, or music, or film or tv.  These things shape you. The desire to be part of that community, that storyteller, was real. But I’m bored with myself most of the time and I’m fascinated by other people. So to step into another person’s experience. . . To be constantly in search for something different than you’ve done before. It keeps that childlike curiosity. It’s a tonic for life. I’d never advise being an actor to others because it is full of obstacles, but I’d never give it up for the world.

Q: The idea of being an actor or in the arts is a dream. When did it feel like making a living was a reality?

Michelle: I’m still bartending on the weekend.

Richard: I remember that moment. It was just after drama school (mentions musical theater and not enjoying it) and I went to Birmingham Rep to be a spear carrier in Hamlet. I got my payslip and thought “I get paid!” I had forgotten that I got paid I was so immersed in the fun of it.

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