British aristocrats


Tom Hiddleston teases kink, creepiness and complexity on the set of ‘Crimson Peak’


TORONTO, ONTARIO. As you’ve discovered if you’ve ever sent out a tweet containing the word “Hiddleston,” the “Thor” star and British Shakespeare veteran has a legion of passionate fans.

On Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming Victorian haunted house drama “Crimson Peak,” Hiddleston was a late arrival, stepping in for one of the few actors capable of engendering comparable levels of online hyperventilation, Benedict Cumberbatch.

For Hiddleston, there was no hesitation when first his agent, then del Toro, then Jessica Chastain all called to woo him to play Sir Thomas Sharpe, a fading British aristocrat who brings his new American bride Edith (Mia Wasikowska) home to his familial estate as part of an attempt to reboot his fortunes, setting in motion initially creepy and eventually terrifying happenings.

“[T]here was no possible way I was going to say no,” Hiddleston laughs, sitting in a prop warehouse near the Toronto sound stages housing the massive “Crimson Peak” sets in March 2014. “Working with Guillermo, who I’ve admired for so long, and the script itself was just brilliant. The screenplay was captivating and rich and sophisticated and terrifying. And the role was amazing and different from anything else I’d done. It was a very, very quick yes after that.”

It should be no surprise that Cambridge-educated Hiddleston gives one of the best descriptions I’ve ever heard for his personable, larger-than-life director.

“He is amazing. I mean that probably isn’t a secret from anyone else who’s ever worked with him but he’s like this Great Mexican Bear of Passion and Warmth,” Hiddleston says. I’m not sure if Hiddleston actually capitalized “Giant Mexican Bear of Passion and Warmth” in his speech, but it’s such an uncanny summation that it ought to be capitalized. “He’s just so inspiring. He loves his job and I think his working experience and collaboration he’s one of the most inspired and inspiring people I’ve ever worked with.  His knowledge about everything is so deep. He knows how to do everyone’s job. And he’s very, very special.  Really inclusive and just everything from the very first moment I met him has been about enthusiasm and expansion and love and a good time as well. This crew like we’re working 16 hour days and they would follow him into war. Like 16 hours days never felt so short because it’s such fun.

We’re at least 14 hours into this particular shooting day and Hiddleston arrives in the prop warehouse at the end of a long period of down-time for an assembled group of reporters. We’ve already gone around the room poking into boxes of canes and other period ephemera and the energy level had dwindled significantly. But even though it’s nearing midnight, Hiddleston arrives in fine fettle and with him, the mood in the room perks up immediately.

It’s no wonder that Hiddleston has a fan in del Toro… and his daughters.

“They’re visiting this set more than any other,” del Toro laughs, referring to his daughters a “vital part of the way I function with the world,” introducing him to things like “Adventure Time” and updating his playlists.

Through his daughters, del Toro is able to explain why Hiddleston’s casting is so essential to adding balance to both “Crimson Peak” and Thomas Sharpe. Asked how his daughters will react to some of Hiddleston’s character does in the movie, del Toro replies quickly, “I think they will like him no matter what he does.”

See, Thomas Sharpe is one of the romantic heroes of “Crimson Peak,” but he’s still the catalyst that brings Wasikowska’s Edith to the lumbering, dark-corned mansion that may be the film’s true star and it’s through Thomas that Edith comes into contact with Jessica Chastain’s Lady Lucille Sharpe, whose motivations may be even murkier.

“I think he’s the antihero,” Hiddleston says of his character, suggesting that even if what Thomas does comes from a place of love, the results of taking Edith to his ancestral home may not be so great. Or maybe his goals are more progressive, since Thomas is an inventor and something of a visionary, but that forward-thinking can also lead in bad directions. Let’s just say that Edith spends a lot of time screaming in the “Crimson Peak” trailer.

Hiddleston continues, “He’s certainly the most morally ambiguous or complex figure in the story because I think he’s genuinely caught in between people and in between conflicting emotions and is trying to find the best route through a very, very difficult tangle of what people need from him and want from him and he feels what his responsibility is to those people.”

Hiddleston ponders some more on the idea of hero, villain, antagonist, protagonist.

“Mia I think is the heroine and I think there’s something very heroic about Charlie [Hunnam’s] character that evolves,” Hiddleston says. “But again you can’t be too definitive about… protagonists, antagonists, good guys, bad guys in this film really, because if you see the story from each character’s perspective they’re all justified in their actions because the biography, the world, that Guillermo has created is so sophisticated, that actually every character is in some sense justified at least in their own mind. And there is something very appealing I think and sympathetic and heroic about Thomas, especially in his ambitions and his dreams. And as you start to peel away the layers you realize he’s much darker than you might have imagined. And sort of on the other side of the darkness there is another kind of light.”

In that darkness, there’s also the line between what Hiddleston calls “romance” in the movie, but which del Toro called “kink” when we were going through the set.

“It’s really kinky,” Hiddleston agrees, though he has a hard time explaining exactly how.

“[T]here is a sexuality in the film which is expressed,” he tries to tease. “And you think you know what it is and then you realize you’re only scratching the surface. So I really can’t reveal more than that. Thomas Sharpe has – and he’s not the only character in the film – but he has a history. I suppose the interesting thing about the film, the story is it’s about the difference between expectations and reality.  And each character is sort of projecting certain things.”

Hiddleston has given this a lot of thought and put in a lot of preparation. He refers to his character’s “Damascan” experience in the middle of the film. When he talks about the family dynamic between Thomas and Lucille, he mentions that he’s spent much of the day reading R.D. Laing’s “The Politics of Family.” And when he talks about the sort of mysterious, romantic stranger he’s playing, he has a full laundry list of books he’s read either on his own or at del Toro’s recommendation.

“Guillermo pointed me towards 'The Mysteries of Udolpho,’ which is the sort of early gothic romantic classic by Ann Radcliffe and 'The Castle of Otranto’ by Horace Walpole.  And we talked about Rochester in 'Jane Eyre’ and even Mr. Darcy in 'Pride and Prejudice,’ you know, these figures, these wealthy gentleman with big houses who possibly become emblems of English privilege that everyone’s talking about. "Who is that man in the corner with the dark hair and the intense stare?” And that the interest of that mystery, that there are these gentlemen with dark secrets, was something that was very compelling at the time.“

Lest this begin to sound too literate – perish the thought – it should be noted that "Crimson Peak” intends to freak you out and Hiddleston has a performance approach to make that work.

“[I]t’s really scary and what I find is the most playful aspect of acting in a very, very spooky film is that you play against that so it becomes almost is the banality of – everything becomes incredibly normal. And in a way that’s more terrifying,” he says. “Like I love it when I’m watching horror films and everyone’s acting like nothing is wrong and you know something is around the corner. You’re like, 'Why is everyone acting like nothing is wrong? There’s clearly something wrong!’ So in a way that’s really fun is to play it very straight, to play it almost as if the action is every day and 'What could possibly go wrong?’ It’s just an old house, you know, with creaky floorboards. Old house will make old noises.”

In UK, aristocrats still face 'Downton' dilemma

By Sylvia Hui, AP, Apr 12, 2013
LONDON (AP)–Viscount Timothy Torrington’s story reads like a real-life version of “Downton Abbey,” the hit period drama about the family of an earl who has no direct heir to inherit his title.

Like the fictional character Lord Grantham, the aristocrat has three daughters but no sons. In order for his title to live on in future generations, the 69-year-old has no choice but to pass it to a distant relative abroad, someone he has not even met.

“It’s a sadness in life that my wife and I never had a son,” said the viscount, who lives with his wife in the countryside west of London. “But I suppose I would rather someone inherit it than have it dying out.”

“Downton Abbey” may be set in the early 20th century and its characters may be fictional, but the effects of a centuries-old rule that puts boys before girls are very real to Torrington and hundreds of hereditary peers in modern Britain. It’s still a man’s world when it comes to inheritance among Britain’s peerage, an archaic system of feudal class and power that first took shape almost a millennium ago around the time of the Norman Conquest.

The titles–earls, viscounts, barons, marquesses and dukes–no longer indicate great wealth. But for many they’re still a mark of prestige and social status more impressive than anything money can buy. These days, holding a hereditary title comes with no stipend or property from the state.

Julian Fellowes, the creator and writer behind “Downton,” knows this only too well: His wife, Emma Kitchener, is a descendant of the first Lord Kitchener, the famous imperial field marshal and statesman. She cannot inherit the storied title, which faces dying out.

Most hereditary peerages are bestowed by royalty and can only be passed to sons not daughters–based on the rule of “male primogeniture”–a principle as old as the peerage system itself. If a peer dies with no son, the title will go to a male heir like a cousin or uncle, and if there is no male heir to be found a title could become extinct.

There are exceptions: Some women, like the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher, become “life peers” by the monarch’s appointment, not by inheritance. She cannot pass her title on to her offspring. Among about 1,000 titles that can be inherited, only about 90 may descend in the female line.

Torrington’s title isn’t one of them. His eldest daughter, Hatta Wood, has just had a baby boy–but he, too, is locked out of inheriting the title because male primogeniture excludes the entire female line of the family tree. The nearest male heir is a distant cousin who lives in Toronto; the family declined to name him.

“It’s unfair to my son,” said Wood, 35. “When he was born, it suddenly felt like I could keep (the title) going down the family line … but it’s going to go to somebody else, a guy in Canada.”

Wood admits that she values her father’s title for its “sentimental value more than anything else.” Unlike the Downton ladies, she has her own career in publishing. Most noble titles are now just that–a form of address, not necessarily tied to fortunes or estates. Some hereditary peers still wield political influence in the House of Lords, but most were kicked out after reforms in 1999.

Still, the tradition of bypassing women just because of their gender jars with current thinking–especially when even the monarchy is getting rid of sexism in the succession to the throne. That means that if Prince William and Kate have a girl first, she will become queen, and no younger brother will be able to jump the line and get ahead of her.

Those changes have prompted many to ask: Why not take the reforms to the aristocrats as well?

The short answer is that it is much easier said than done. Some conservatives fear change and tinkering with age-old tradition, and many argue that the rules involved are too complicated to reform. The issue also doesn’t just concern one family–as in the royals–but affects hundreds. And any reform, which would need to be passed by parliament, could potentially sow confusion and resentment over inheritance among existing heirs and their siblings.

Titles can’t be split, and splitting a mansion isn’t always a good idea either.

“Inheriting a great draughty mansion with obligations is not everybody’s idea of fun in 2013. Even worse is to inherit a minority interest in it–for example, a split between five heirs,” said Roderick Balfour, an earl who has four daughters and no son.


Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey (1875-1905), nicknamed “Toppy”, was a British Peer who was notable during his short life for squandering his inheritance on a lavish social life and accumulating massive debts. Regarded as the “black sheep” of the family, he was dubbed “the dancing marquess” for his habit of performing “sinuous, sexy, snake-like dances.

30 Day Challenge

Day 3: 

Favourite Female Character

Now, a lot of people in this fandom would probably expect me to say Lady Penelope, Tin-Tin/Kayo or Grandma Tracy (who is a close 2nd it has to be said), but the one that sticks out the most for me for the original series when I read this challenge was this lady:

I found her the most annoying and not-to-mention the most stereotypical British aristocrat character ever to be created and originally would of loved nothing more for her to be the first person Scott and Virgil failed to save.  But the more times I watched the episode during revisits to the series I couldn’t help but like her more and more and realised that she actually reminds me a heck of a lot of one of my Aunts!

Now for the new rebooted series it could be none other than this Lady:

I liked the character in the original series, but I love her in the reboot! With Jeff gone she’s stepped up as the main character being tough and scolding but also supportive and taking a step back when the situation calls for it.  However, the cooking jokes have to take a break - I think we all get the idea she’s a bad cook by now!

(Fandom challenge can be found here)

When it comes to beautiful aristocrats, the British monarchy is no competition for the Swedes!

The Swedish royal family is preparing for the upcoming nuptials of Prince Carl Philip to former model Sofia Hellqvist on June 13, and based on how good the prince looks in a suit, we’re already anxious for wedding pictures!

The beautiful couple gathered with the rest of the (incredibly attractive) royal family at Stockholm’s Royal Chapel on Sunday to participate in a traditional ceremonial reading of the banns of marriage. The ceremony serves as the official announcement that the couple intends to wed.

Of course, this isn’t exactly new news – the couple announced their wedding date last October. But now they’ve completed the traditional method.

Carl Philip, 36, who is third in line to the throne, is the last of his siblings to get married, and was known for his bachelor ways prior to meeting Hellqvist in 2009. 

Hellqvist, who found fame on reality show Paradise Hotel, kept it classy for the ceremony, wearing a fitted white skirt and jacket with a black fascinator. The prince looked handsome in a sleek black suit, with a navy blue tie. Carl Philip’s mother and father, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, as well as his sisters, Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeline. Hellqvist’s family was also in attendance for the affair. The ceremony also served to announce Hellqvist’s official title once the couple ties the knot in a few short weeks – HRH Princess Sofia. 


How Do The Downton Abbey Cast Want Their Characters' Stories To End?

How Do The Downton Abbey Cast Want Their Characters’ Stories To End?

Credit: IMDB

Downton Abbey is ending. The beloved series, which gave us a glimpse of the life of early 20th century British aristocrats and their servants, will air its final season next year.

While we mourn the eventual loss of not seeing that wonderful , beautiful manor house in a new episode, or ever hearing another wonderful quip from the Dowager Countess again, let us ease our pain by…

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feu-follet asked:

on one hand you reblogging those Boardwalk Empire gifsets make me wish you'd watch it because there's a sad sack of garbage on that show that you would just LOVE (not Mr. Poofles but some other guy played by a British aristocrat), but on the other hand I'm pretty sure you'd hate basically everything else about the show, except maybe Michael Stuhlbarg looking fly in a wide variety of bow ties

I feel like that’s probably true re: hating except for Michael Stuhlbarg’s fly bow ties and Mr. Poofles who’s deceased anyway, because my father is a fanboy of that show and that cannot bode well. I was actually telling Leah earlier how I asked him if he remembers Daredevil from the show and it’s like a Herculean task because he can’t tell any actors apart ever and randomly makes up pop culture facts that he honestly believes, like that Debbie Harry is dead.

“was he the pouty one from the bertolucci movie” “no that’s michael pitt” “is he the one with half a face” ”…no" “is he steve buscemi” “no that’s steve buscemi”

[ unblunting || starter call ]

         If there was anything Evanora definitely didn’t need in her life, it was people who were after her, and she wasn’t talking about gross, middle-aged men. She had not the slightest clue how they kept finding her, but she felt like a fox, hunted by a bunch of so-called British aristocrats, who thought this a sport. Only that it wasn’t. It was serious, and it didn’t leave her a single moment in peace. She had already told herself not to hurt those people, but by now she would do what she had to do, should they get any closer to her than was strictly necessary. 

         Naturally, just when she thought she had gotten rid of them, she heard something behind her, slowly turning around.

anonymous asked:

Even Posh Spice seems more grounded than her. Emma really does market herself as the quintessential British aristocratic brat. And yeah, God her wardrobe is so meh. I bet you she must have spend ££££ on her bland attire today. Like seriously, I've got a similar jumper that is much cheaper and probably more ethical conscious than the one she's wearing. And really, I think it's a low blow even for Luke to persuade DM journos to call that getup 'chic and classy'.

Lol yep! It’s hilarious how the only interesting attire she had worn (at least from my knowledge) was also the cheapest and was probably given to her from her friend or something. It’s a bit uncharacteristic for her to wear it