Richard Crispin Armitage is an English film, television, theatre and voice actor. Armitage was born in Leicester, England, the younger son of Margaret, a secretary, and John Armitage, an engineer. Richard has an older brother named Chris. He became an overnight sensation in his native England with his first leading role as John Thornton in the British television programme North & South (2004).
On 21 October 2010, Peter Jackson announced Armitage was cast as Thorin Oakenshield in the three-film production of The Hobbit. Principal photography in New Zealand ran from March 2011 to July 2012 (broken into three filming blocks with breaks in-between) and pick-ups were shot in the summer of 2013. All three films were released in December, starting with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 2012, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in 2013 and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in 2014.
Armitage has described himself as a method actor. “Yeah, I suppose I am. 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.”