Actor Richard Armitage attends the premiere of the motion picture fantasy "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" in Los Angeles on Dec. 9, 2014. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- British actor Richard Armitage says he was thrilled with how director Peter Jackson wrapped up The Hobbit film franchise with the satisfying, emotionally stirring and visually stunning The Battle of the Five Armies.
"It was way, way, way beyond anything that I had expected," Armitage told UPI in a phone interview before the theatrical release of the saga's final episode last December.
"One thing I love about Peter is he always surpasses your expectations. I watched [the film] with my mouth open because the way that the film is finished, the technology that is married with the live-action performances, sort of very detailed performances, I just feel like there is a seamless joining of the digital world and the real world. The way it is finished so beautifully, it is completely immersive."
So, did the 44-year-old actor still feel a connection to Thorin Oakenshield, the fierce dwarf leader he played for so long, after the cameras stopped rolling on the three-part fantasy epic?
"I read this book when I was seven, so I've always had a kind of sense of who the character was, although now I sort of can feel the character rather than have a memory of him," Armitage noted.
"To see him in the movie, to me, I'm actually removed from it, but the things I do remember are very kind of sensory things like the physical movement, I remember, and the weight of the boots and running with my character was very memorable to me because the costumes and the boots were so heavy. Once you started running, it was actually quite difficult to stop, which was exactly what we set out to achieve with the dwarves. So, I remember how he felt, rather than how he thought."
An extended edition of the movie, which includes 20 minutes of extra footage and more than nine hours of bonus features, was released on Blu-ray Tuesday. Based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, the film co-stars Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey and Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. The star-studded ensemble also includes Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Billy Connolly, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Graham McTavish, Stephen Fry, Ryan Cage, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, and Orlando Bloom.
Also known for his work in TV's North & South, Robin Hood, The Vicar of Dibley, MI-5, Strike Back and Hannibal, Armitage will be seen in the fall on the new Epix series Berlin Station.