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Richard Armitage: 'I wish I could jump out of character; I'd be more popular'


I never like to go out of character when filming starts I fear that if I do, I might not be able to pick it up again. This was particularly the case with the character Thorin Oakenshield [in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit]. He's moody and broody, so people kept their distance from me during the production. I wish I was good at jumping out of character in between takes, as I'd be more popular socially.

Publicity for 'The Hobbit' was relentless I was travelling and doing junkets around the world, being asked the same questions every day for three weeks. Then at the end of the working day I'd have to get down the red carpet. It's pretty hard work. I much prefer being in front of a camera.

I love how Gary Oldman disappears into a role You see a character before you see him; you believe him as he's so invested in that character, such as his George Smiley in Tinker Tailor… That's what I'm striving for.

I'd like to act in a film without special effects I've spent the past two years in a special FX environment for The Hobbit. I also need to find something where I'm not fighting or inflicting violence on someone, as a lot of the roles I've had, such as Lucas North in Spooks and Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, have involved that. I don't know why that's been the case!

It's bloody annoying being shy I'll spend a whole evening at a party asking everyone else about themselves. I'm not being self-deprecating; it's because I'm too shy to talk about myself. So people come away from the evening actually having learnt nothing about me.

I hate selfishness in people I lean towards the Japanese idea of "you first", such as always allowing another to walk through a door before you. Though admittedly, in their culture, this [thoughtfulness] is shame-based, to some extent.

I'm an avid skier Most of the time that I've been skiing, I've been about to go and film something, so I'm always living in fear of a broken leg and I ski very safely. I've taken a few tumbles, though. I once flipped and bounced on my head, landing in a mess on the floor; it's a dangerous sport but it's exhilarating and it allows me to unwind.

Snowboarders ruin the piste They shave off all the snow so it's like an ice patch, and they sit in the middle of the piste, chatting with friends in a line, so you have to jump over them as you come over the crest of a hill.

I'd like to live off-grid I'm fascinated with the documentation of the environment [and its degradation] through photography, and our hunt to move away from fossil fuels and towards new technology. I'm attempting to build a home that uses water, wind or solar power. Right now it's just a pastime, but it's an exciting prospect.

Richard Armitage, 41, is a British actor. 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' is available on DVD from tomorrow