You tweeted, we asked. Jackman & Evans narrator Richard Armitage answers your questions on acting, accents & audiobooks.
Richard Armitage: Hi, I’m Richard Armitage and this is Audible’s #AskArmitage
Question: Is there a person guiding you through a narration? Or is the interpretation your own choice?
RA: The interpretation is my own choice. It’s the narrator or the author that is guiding me through the narration and we have a producer there who will sit there rolling his eyes and saying don’t even think about it.
Q: If ‘he’ could take only one book to a desert island, which book would he choose and why?
RA: Oh, without a doubt, David Copperfield. It’s my all time favourite book. I remember having it as a kid and I used it so I could stand on it to reach the counter when I was little to help my mum because I wasn’t very big.
Q: What do you sip on while recording? Tea, coffee, hot water with lemon, cognac…
RA: Yes. All of those.
Q: I don’t know how you switch between character accents so effortlessly, but it’s amazing. Do you spend much time preparing ahead of time and figuring that out?
RA: Sometimes if the author has specified a dialect, like, in one of the oy Ellis books she really wanted a Geordie accent, I had to go do some extensive work on that as I can’t do a Geordie accent. Sometimes, like, when I read David Coppefield, the voices come with the characters and you just dive in. You don’t always plan - the character tells you what voice they want to have, so a little bit of both.
Q: I often see tweets from audiobook listeners that have rediscovered Dickens because of your narration of David Copperfield. What other classic would you like to narrate that you haven’t done already?
RA: Gosh…you know what, because I’m working on Uncle Vanya at the moment on stage, I got quite into Chekhov’s short stories so there’s a few short stories…There’s one called Ward 6 which I’d like to have a crack at but his stories are hilarious, and I’m not sure if that many people are familiar with them, so I’d like to have a go at those.
Q: How do you keep the character’s voices separate? Are there several takes to do a dialogue scene, or is it organic?
RA: Yeah, I think once you’ve got the character’s voice in your head you do sort of put a little gap before they speak and when they finish before the next bit. And maybe there is a little bit of work that happens in the editing room but you just do it in your head and in your voice, so I guess it’s organic.
Q: Do you ever think about writing a book yourself, and if you did, who would you like as a narrator for the Audible version?
RA: I haven’t thought about writing anything, but if I did I’d probably want Stephen Fry to narrate it. I think he’s probably the best storyteller and the best voice of our generation…so Stephen Fry.
Q: My absolute favourite series that you narrate is the DI Jackman and Evans by Joy Ellis.Is there any chance this will be a series for TV? Would you please, please, please play Jackman?
RA: Well, funny you should ask that because we did option the books and I’ve met with Joy a couple of times, and we are working on it…so fingers crossed. Thanks Audible.
Q: What do you find uniquely rewarding about audiobook narration compared with the other kinds of acting that you do?
RA: I really love storytelling across the board, whether it’s on film or tv or stage, but I love sitting in a room with a microphone and one other person to check out that I’m doing it right. And i just love starting the story and being in control of all the voices because you get to be the director, and you get to set the scene and set the tone and yeah, it’s a bit of a power trip.
Thank you for sending me your questions and you can listen to me reading the DI Jackman & Evans series on Audible.
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Discover the full list of Richard Armitage audiobooks here.