Will Dolarhyde Be “Dancing” Richard Armitage?

dolarhyde

This morning I started the audiobook The Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. So far, I’m really enjoying the narrator’s performance, and the story itself drew me in immediately. However, I had to take a break and consult YouTube when I got to Chapter 9. This is the chapter when we are first introduced to Francis Dolarhyde’s point of view, and it certainly offered some food for the imagination. From what I had read about the character Richard Armitage will be playing prior to today, I had a developed a very different image of him in my head than the image I now have. Up until now, I was imagining a shy man with a mild speech impediment and congenital cleft lip. I certainly didn’t imagine there would be any elements of dance performance involved! Here’s the excerpt (spoilers, obviously) from the chapter, in which Francis Dolarhyde is at home, watching his own, terrifying home-made video. The phrases that really drew my attention are in bold:

* * *

“Dolarhyde came into the picture from the left with the stylized movements of a Balinese dancer. Blood-smeared and naked except for his glasses and gloves, he mugged and capered among the dead. He approached the far side of the bed, Mrs. Leeds’s side, took the corner of the covers, whipped them off the bed and held the pose as though he had executed a Veronica.

Now, watching in the parlor of his grandparents’ house, Dolarhyde was covered with a sheen of sweat. His thick tongue ran out constantly, the scar on his upper lip wet and shiny and he moaned as he stimulated himself.

Even at the height of his pleasure he was sorry to see that in the film’s ensuing scene he lost all his grace and elegance of motion, rooting piglike with his bottom turned carelessly to the camera. There were no dramatic pauses, no sense of pace or climax, just brutish frenzy.

It was wonderful anyway. Watching the film was wonderful. But not as wonderful as the acts themselves.

Two major flaws, Dolarhyde felt, were that the film did not actually show the deaths of the Leedses and that his own performance was poor toward the end. He seemed to lose all his values. That was not how the Red Dragon would do it.

Well. He had many films to make and, with experience, he hoped he could maintain some aesthetic distance, even in the most intimate moments.

He must bear down. This was his life’s work, a magnificent thing. It would live forever.

He must press on soon. He must select his fellow performers.

* * *

It’s creepy as hell, and I found myself quite curious as to whether the Hannibal writers plan to incorporate this “performance aspect” into their version of Francis Dolarhyde. I immediately consulted YouTube to see exactly what the “stylized movements of a Balinese dancer” might look like, and was completely wowed when I saw the clips. Obviously, we have no way of knowing whether Richard Armitage will be exploring this aspect of the character, but it’s providing me with a lot of interesting images in my head, imagining Richard Armitage nakedly capering in some stylized kill scene….

Oh, and I had to look up what was meant by “executed a Veronica”… I think the only definition that made sense in the context was a bullfighting pass in which the matador slowly swings the cape away from the charging bull.

Oh, the possibilities…

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15 comments

  1. Servetus · February 5, 2015

    What a fantastic post. Given Armitage’s attention to detail and interest in physicality, I can’t believe he wouldn’t have noticed these passages. Of course there’s the whole matter of making a script out of the book but I can’t help but think he will play a decent-sized role in that, as we know he did with Lucas and Guy of Gisborne …

    Liked by 1 person

    • jholland · February 6, 2015

      I keep going back to the video of RA in Cats in my mind… I am fairly sure it was him in that video, and he moves with such grace. I truly hope they’ll make the most of that. I know RA is interested in the physicality of his characters, but he’s also said that musical theatre just wasn’t “him” so I have this vague worry that he might rather downplay any Balinese dancer aspects to his performance.

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  2. Helen · February 6, 2015

    Goodness. The mind boggles. Thanks for this post… Guess I really am going to have to read the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jholland · February 6, 2015

      It’s an eye-opener, for sure. The book is great, especially with the characters from Hannibal and RA-as-Dolarhyde in my mind. It certainly ramps up my curiosity to see which direction they’ll take the character.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. KellyDS · February 6, 2015

    that exact scene in the book really jumped out at me too, in relation to Richard! I thought it had the potential to be really beautiful, but made me feel morbid to think that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jholland · February 6, 2015

      Yes, morbid thinking does come with the territory. It’s not weird to imagine RA playing the conflicted man, the tortured mind. But it’s truly weird to try to imagine RA embracing full-blown psychopathic madness. I do think, after watching the TV series, that the production team is very apt to make the most of aesthetics in every context, so yes, it does have the potential to be quite artistic.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. suzy · February 6, 2015

    in the german translation you can find another word before the “Veronica”: matador, “to remain as a matador in his pose”, perhaps “Veronica” is a special form of killing a bull?
    Lol a balinese dancer – funny! 😉

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    • jholland · February 6, 2015

      I know- I couldn’t remember ever seeing a Balinese dancer, so that was fascinating to look at. I think the matador, the stylized poses and performance-to-the-camera aspect to these kill scenes have a lot of creepy potential, if they go there. Certainly unlike anything I’ve really seen RA do before…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perry · February 6, 2015

        After watching the series, my guess would be that a scene such as this would be included. Anyway, I sure hope so. ( Well, I’m also hoping for the necrophilia)

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        • jholland · February 6, 2015

          You are hoping for the necrophilia? I was not too eager to go there with RA, but I admit that any stylistic dance-ish performances do intrigue me.

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        • Perry · February 6, 2015

          Well, I’d prefer it if she were alive, but you can’t have everything.

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  5. utepirat · February 6, 2015

    I totally agree with suzy, I´m rereading the book after nearly 20 years, and in German the ‘Veronica’ is expressed as a matador´s pose. Interesting, too, is that ´tooth fairy`is not translated with ‘Zahnfee’ (the one who brings presents to kids loosing their teeth) but with ‘Zahn-Schwuchtel’ , a discriminating expression of a male homosexual and the reason why Dolarhyde feels devalued by police and press (Freddie Lounds).
    After rereading the book I´ll have to rewatch the film with Ralph Fiennes, I vaguely remember his muscular naked and tattooed back.
    Can´t hardly imagine what Mr. A will do with the role…

    Liked by 1 person

    • jholland · February 6, 2015

      I’m starting to think it might be nothing like what I’d previously imagined! I haven’t ever seen the Ralph Fiennes version, and I’m of mixed mind of whether to do that. I most likely will end up watching it. So the matador image is likely what the author meant by “veronica”… at first I thought it might be a dance move, but google didn’t bring up anything under that search querie, so then I looked at the definitions. Really interesting about the homosexual innuendo in the German translation. I guess that the word “fairy” can have that insinuation in English, too.

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  6. Tessa · March 6, 2015

    I have just finished watching The Red Dragon tonight….I have to say, I am a anticipating Mr. Armitage in this role, yet, I am a little put off by it as well…this genre is not my cup of tea, and I hope I can get through the first episode and stick with it….He will indeed be most excellent in this role because this type of role/character, IS his cup of tea..:)

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    • jholland · March 6, 2015

      Welcome, Tessa, and thanks for commenting! =) I think one of the things that will interest me the most about this particular role is how the fandom will react… this character does have some redeeming/endearing qualities, but when you get right down to it, he’s a monster. It’s going to be an interesting ride, and probably heart-wrenching and scary. I did end up watching The Red Dragon recently, and I enjoyed Ralph Fiennes in the role. Can’t help but anticipate that RA will be even better. =)

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