“There’s a shattering of the character, and almost a reassembling of him towards the end.
He doesn’t speak much about his past in his interviews as well.
He’s bearded and dressed in thick shapeless trousers, heavy boots, and a rough collarless cotton shirt open at the neck to reveal a broad chest. Anyone who knew the 42 year-old only as the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit films might have quite a shock.
Television viewers who associate him with double agent Lucas North in Spooks, nasty Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, or the character based on SAS man Andy Mc Nab in Sky One’s Strike Back would know different. Armitage is to play the tormented John Proctor in the playwright’s terrifying account of the 17th century Salem witch trials, in which Proctor’s adulterous relationship with a young woman sparks a vengeful chain of events that leads to the deaths of many.
How does Armitage feel to be up against that performance? And I think there are some monumental performances in it.
But I think there’s something about witnessing this play in the round - the theatre is a sort of bowl shape like a crucible - with the audience observing themselves across the room at times, that is the most exciting aspect of this.” Day-Lewis prepared for the role by building his character’s house himself with 17th-century tools.