A huge change is in store for fans of Hannibal guest star Richard Armitage, sources say. The actor’s recent electrifying six episode run as serial killer Francis Dolarhyde was critically acclaimed, but many fandom insiders acknowledge the controversiality of the role within the ranks. In a recent poll investigating the fandom’s reaction to Hannibal, 30% of devoted Armitage respondents claimed they either did not watch at all, or emphatically disliked the show, while another 36% claimed they only watched for Armitage, but would not revisit the show should it ever return for a 4th season.
“I suspect these numbers have been troubling to Armitage,” said one fandom spouse in response to his wife’s confession of unprecedented ambivalence for his latest rumored project, an audiobook rendition of the classic Victorian novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. “My guess is Richard’s looking to offer up more wholesome fare for those who were put off by Francis Dolarhyde. To show that not all biters wind up murdering entire families.” Her husband’s comparison came as a surprise to the Armitage blogger, who evidently forgot key details of the novel since she was compelled to read it in 9th or 10th grade.
“I hear there’s going to be at least one bite. That’s more action than I remembered, to be honest,” said the blogger with an unmistakable sigh. When asked what she did remember about the novel that Armitage is rumored to be recording for Audible, a long silence ensued. “Um…. I…. ah…. well, mostly fatigue.” According to a review of Armitage blog commentary, she is not alone in experiencing a state of torpor when confronted with Dickens’ classic prose. Another blogger wrote, “I like to listen to [Armitage’s] audiobooks (and others, too) as I fall asleep. I think Dickens may do the job faster than most.” A third commentator, while praising other works by Dickens, confessed, “But there were scenes and chapters that really drag. Geez, he can really blabber on.”
Other members of the fandom attempted to rally spirits by asserting that no matter the reading material, simply listening to Richard Armitage’s deep, alluring voice was certain to appeal. One comedic fandom member expressed this sentiment vividly in a Twitter response to Audible’s #AskArmitage thread: “For voice work, do you aim for a simmering pot of chocolate fondue, or black velvet?” Indeed, some ladies asserted that they’d happily listen to Armitage recite the phone book, while others chimed in that they’d privately wished to hear Richard’s lovely delivery of cookbook recipes, prescription medication side effects, computer software user manuals, and even on-the-job material safety data sheets. “That voice of his is soooo delectable. Who cares what he chooses? I’d quite joyfully listen to Richard Armitage recite the decimals of pi until infinity!”
Still other members of the fandom defended the choice of Charles Dickens, pointing out that the profusion of characters and subplots afforded by the author’s verbose prose will provide ample opportunity for Armitage to display his narrative prowess. “His [Dickens’] books are populated with characters that have to be SEEN. I believe that makes him an interesting choice since Richard’s such a visual and kinetic performer even when using just his voice as an instrument.” This declaration suggests that Armitage’s narration could have profoundly beneficial ramifications in educational arenas.
When asked to recall the disagreeable memories surrounding her adolescent era “required reading” of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, our contact bristled and appeared to be on the brink of becoming combative. Her husband quickly intervened, saying mildly only that “I think my wife’s main recollection of that book was the sound of it hitting the wall when she threw it.” However, the blogger conceded that had she the opportunity to have listened to an Armitage narration of the same infuriatingly dull text as a youth, the outcome might have been different. “Maybe there’s hope for today’s beleaguered freshmen. The idea of Thorin F-ing Oakenshield presenting even a story as painfully long-winded as Great Expectations should diminish the feelings of hopelessness and despondency that I experienced after the first several hundred pages. Right?”
One thing is certain: if the rumors of a Charles Dickens novel are accurate regarding the beloved actor’s impending audiobook narration, the Richard Armitage fandom is certain to have a much-needed change from thriller, to filler. For some, it may be a move from one genre of horror to another, but for most, the portrayal of David Copperfield is sure to make fandom members everywhere sleep easier, come the night.