The Crucible is an unfolding nightmare of accusatory spite that is seen as an allegory of the anti-Communist witch trials in Hollywood in the 1950s.Can it escape that allegory and find another, I ask him.

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Richard Crispin Armitage is an English actor famous for his roles as John Thornton in North and South, Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, and Lucas North in Spooks.

He is currently cast as Thorin Oakenshield in the two-film adaptation of The Hobbit.

Richard Armitage is trading hobbits for “Hannibal,” joining the NBC drama for a six-episode arc in its upcoming third season.

“The Hobbit” star will play Francis Dolarhyde, a serial killer with a penchant for biting his victims — earning him the nickname “The Tooth Fairy.” Dolarhyde was the primary antagonist in Thomas Harris’ “Red Dragon” novel and subsequent film adaptations “Manhunter” and “Red Dragon,” which featured Tom Noonan and Ralph Fiennes in the role, respectively. Also joining the “Hannibal” cast in season three is Joe Anderson, who will be replacing Michael Pitt in the role of Mason Verger.

Recurring guest star Gillian Anderson has been promoted to series regular for the new season.

Richard Armitage arrives in the tiny, cluttered stage manager’s office of The Old Vic straight from rehearsals for Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

He’s bearded and dressed in thick shapeless trousers, heavy boots, and a rough collarless cotton shirt open at the neck to reveal a broad chest. Anyone who knew the 42 year-old only as the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit films might have quite a shock.

Television viewers who associate him with double agent Lucas North in Spooks, nasty Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, or the character based on SAS man Andy Mc Nab in Sky One’s Strike Back would know different. Armitage is to play the tormented John Proctor in the playwright’s terrifying account of the 17th century Salem witch trials, in which Proctor’s adulterous relationship with a young woman sparks a vengeful chain of events that leads to the deaths of many.

“You can’t play this story without addressing sexuality in this particular society in this time, the masculinity of the men, the femininity of the women, the vulnerability of prepubescent girls.