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How Richard Armitage morphed into a dwarf for ‘The Hobbit’



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box office

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters (in millions):

1. The Hobbit $84.8

2. Rise of the Guardians $7.4

3. Lincoln $7.2

4. Skyfall $7

5. Life of Pi $5.4

6. Twilight: Breaking...2 $5.2

7. Wreck-It Ralph $3.3

8. Playing For Keeps $3.2

9. Red Dawn $2.4

10.Silver Linings Playbook $2

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Updated: January 18, 2013 6:06AM

NEW YORK — When he’s not the king of the dwarves, Richard Armitage is a British sex symbol who towers over you at over 6 feet tall.

His hair is short and spiked, not long and knotted like in the film. His eyes are searing blue instead of tired from fighting creatures.

“For four hours, I was in makeup to play a dwarf,” says Armitage, who plays Thorin Oakenshield in “The Hobbit,” the weekend’s No. 1 movie. “I opened my eyes at the end. It’s very strange when you don’t recognize yourself.

“They sculpted my face. I was quite invisible, but still here.”

Helping you forget Viggo Mortenson’s Ara­gorn, Armitage is the new hottie of Middle-earth. He morphed into a dwarf during group training in New Zealand that started early in 2011.

“It was a bonding experience,” he says, “which became extended during a delay in filming. It really formed our group of dwarves.”

He’s deep into filming the sequels, which is fine with this actor.

“These are message films,” he says. “They’re about fighting for your home, but doing it with kindness and mercy.”

With its estimated North American box-office haul of $84.8 million, “The Hobbit” opened bigger than any of the “Lord of the Rings” films and scored the biggest December launch ever.

Cindy Pearlman

Big Picture News Inc.

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