Monthly Archives: April 2011

Elrond Returns to Middle Earth

Note: This is an archived entry that’s several years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material. Some entries may not be up to my current standards as far as photo source and other credits are concerned; if you are a photographer or writer of a piece that lacks appropriate acknowledgement, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add source info.

Hugo Weaving still isn’t officially confirmed to return as Elrond in The Hobbit. Officially, heh heh. But trust me, it’s happening. 😉

Director Peter Jackson posted this photo on his blog with the coy caption “An old friend came to visit me on set today…” Hugo was sighted earlier this week in Wellington, NZ, so it was only a matter of time before the long-running, somewhat silly guessing game came to its inevitable end. If you were still holding your breath despite the Rivendell teasing in the Behind the Scenes video earlier this month, you can now officially celebrate.  (Yeah, Hugo’s wearing the same shirt he wore to the Archibald Prize exhibit last week… unlike Elrond, he’s casual to the core. Which I love. ) 😉  No word on when Rivendell scenes actually film (there’s a script meeting this week)… but it’ll probably be before July.

UPDATE: It’s official! Stuff.co.nz (and its print sibling The Dominion Post) finally got the scoop we’ve been waiting for (though many of us had assumed was coming):

“Hugo Weaving will reprise his role as Elrond the elf for the two-part Hobbit movie now being shot in Wellington. The Hobbit spokeswoman Melissa Booth confirmed that Weaving would feature in Jackson’s 3-D prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy…The confirmation came after reports circulated that Weaving was spotted in Wellington last week.”

Hugo Attends Archibald Prize Exhibit; Oranges and Sunshine to Open Dungog Festival

Note: This is an archived entry that’s several years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material. Some entries may not be up to my current standards as far as photo source and other credits are concerned; if you are a photographer or writer of a piece that lacks appropriate acknowledgement, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add source info.

I’ve been unable to go online for a week or so now for various reasons (mostly computer failure-related) and had hoped that when I was able to return, I’d be greeted with all sorts of Hugo News– most pressingly, the final word on Hugo’s participation (or not) in The Hobbit, but maybe some new info or confirmation on Cloud Atlas. Alas, no such luck. 😉 But there was one nice new tidbit: Oranges and Sunshine will have its official Australian premiere at the Dungog Film Festival, where it will be featured in an opening night gala. For more info, check out Encore Magazine and the Official Dungog Festival Website. Hugo lives in Hunter Valley near where the Dungog festival is held and has been on the guest list several times, but often has had to miss attending at the last minute due to unforeseen complications (most recently, Wolfman reshoots). Hopefully this year he’ll be able to attend. Oranges and Sunshine has performed well in the UK and garnered very positive reviews; it opens in Australia on 9 June and in the US in September.  There’s also a new, positive review of the film at Neil’s Movie Roundup.

I should mention that the Hugo fansite Random Scribblings still has one copy of the book that inspired the film available in its promotional giveaway contest; go here for more details. I’ve read Empty Cradles (retitled Oranges and Sunshine in the paperback printing) and found it riveting. Though some details of the characters’ lives have been altered or fictionalized, Hugo Weaving is clearly playing a character based on real-life child migrant Harold Haig, and David Wenham a character based on Desmond McDaid– both of these men command the reader’s attention and become friends with author Margaret Humphreys (played by Emily Watson in the film) as she continues her investigations into the controversy. What I’ve seen of the film seems very faithful to the tone of the book, and the book fills in a lot of character details that might not fit in a two-hour film.

O&SbeachHugoEmily
Hugo Weaving and Emily Watson in Oranges and Sunshine

Some of you may have heard that a portrait of Hugo was a finalist in the annual Archibald Prize competition; I held off commenting on the subject because I wasn’t sure if Hugo actually sat for the portrait or if it was a case of opportunistic celebrity-mongering, as some media websites characterized it. (Hugo’s Uncle Vanya castmates Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh were also featured in finalist pieces.) Also, I wasn’t didn’t think the painting was a great likeness, though art is always subjective… and it didn’t win. (For decent-quality images of the celebrity paintings, go here.) But as it turns out, Hugo attended the Archibald Prize Exhibit in Sydney last week, which implies the painting has his endorsement– either that or he was there to support his friends from the STC or the artists. (Hugo is a friend of several Sydney-area artists, notably David Bromley, who created a striking portrait of Weaving in 1998.) Most importantly from the fangirl perspective, he allowed himself to be photographed. 😉 Here he is (looking great, I might add) next to Alexander McKenzie’s dashing and puckish portrait of Richard Roxburgh. For more details on the event see The Social Shuttle (and thanks to them for the pic.)

First Hobbit Set Visit Includes A Familiar Location

Note: This is an archived entry that’s several years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material. Some entries may not be up to my current standards as far as photo source and other credits are concerned; if you are a photographer or writer of a piece that lacks appropriate acknowledgement, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add source info.

No, Hugo Weaving isn’t officially confirmed for The Hobbit yet, but they’ve already built the Rivendell set. And Peter Jackson includes some clips showing Hugo as Elrond in the original LOTR here as well… so he’s going to have an awfully difficult time recasting the role at this point. This would be an intolerable tease if Hugo wasn’t coming back. 😉 And this already debunks one rumor, namely that Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel will fill the role in the story that Elrond did in the novel. Frankly if you don’t get misty and nostalgic just watching this (and full of anticipation for the new films)… you might wanna check your pulse. 😉 We do get mischievious glimpses of much of the confirmed cast, including Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Andy Serkis (Gollum), Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and the band of dwarves. Cate Blanchett has said the parts of the story concerning the Elves won’t be filming for awhile yet, so a bit more patience is still required of us. But I’m already having fun.


The Hobbit via YouTube

Hugo Rumored to Costar in Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas; Oranges and Sunshine Gets US Distributor

Note: This is an archived entry that’s several years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material. Some entries may not be up to my current standards as far as photo source and other credits are concerned; if you are a photographer or writer of a piece that lacks appropriate acknowledgement, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add source info.

A couple of days ago, on my personal LJ, I mentioned (and retweeted) a tweet from the Australian publishing company Hachette Media that Hugo Weaving might have a new project, costarring in the Wachowskis’ film version of David Mitchell’s hugely ambitious novel Cloud Atlas.  I didn’t post here because I was waiting for official confirmation of some sort… but the rest of the online media seems to be running with the news based on the tweet alone, so I’ll mention it here, with the caveat that neither Hugo nor the Wachowskis nor any film studio has issued a press release.

However, the news is plausible because Hugo, Natalie Portman and the Wachowskis all read Mitchell’s novel while making V for Vendetta in 2005; Hugo and Natalie enthusiastically raved about the book in interviews for the film the following year. Portman had confirmed she might take “a small role” in the project, though her well-publicized pregnancy may complicate this if the film really has to be released a year from now. [Some reports now claim she’s had to decline participation, but nothing is official.] The Wachowskis and co-director Tom Twyker (most famous for Run, Lola, Run) were officially attached to a film version of Cloud Atlas at the end of last year. I read the novel because of all the VfV-era hubbub 😉 and agree it’s unfilmable as written (“complicated” and “metaphysical” don’t begin to describe it, though it’s not forbidding at all and draws the reader in effortlessly.) But VfV wasn’t filmed as written either, and the graphic novel and film both stand on their own as viable, indelible works of art. If the Wachowskis can craft a compelling narrative from Cloud Atlas and succeed in getting Hugo and other high-calibre actors also rumored to be interested (Halle Berry, Ian McKellen. James McEvoy, Tom Hanks) signed, it could restore their reputation as innovative, compelling directors.

So after one final mention that this is still in the rumor stage (for now) ;), here are links to several online film sites that repeat the Hachette tweet, and add details about the novel and other rumored elements of the film and cast: The Playlist, MovieWeb, JoBlo, Filmonic, Daily Blam, The Film Stage. NOTE: a lot of these reports are redundant, as they are all referencing  the Hachette tweet as sole proof of Hugo’s involvement… and some of them really need to update their pictures of Hugo… and of the Wachowskis. 😉 But I really hope this pans out, so I can understand the excitement.


Hugo Weaving and Emily Watson in Oranges and Sunshine

Some more concrete but equally wonderful news: Oranges and Sunshine finally has a US distributor, The Cohen Group. (Story in The Wrap.) They plan on a fall US release for the film. Which might, just might, get it some Oscar attention based on Cohen’s track record. (They made Frozen River an indie hit in 2008, which earned Melissa Leo an Oscar nomination and higher-profile roles like her Oscar-winning supporting role in The Fighter.) After seeing too many of Hugo’s powerful indie films (Little Fish, Last Ride) fail to be released here over the years, this is welcome news indeed.

Finally, I hope some US fans were able to make it to New York for the Last Ride screening at MoMA… I went on the 7th (there’s another screening today at 1pm). It was an amazing experience seeing one of Hugo’s most gripping performances on a big screen, well worth waiting two years for. The director Glendyn Ivin attended and did a brief Q&A after the film, but I was too gobsmacked to think up any profound queries. (Also, the MoMA curator asked all the “obvious” questions before turning to the audience. Since I followed the making of the film on Ivin’s blog Hoaxville, I figured I knew more than some viewers and should thus let them go first. But no one did, and the MoMA curator only allowed about a three-second pause before he began peppering Ivin with more questions.) 😉  Honestly, the film is so astonishing (as was Hugo’s performance– and Tom Russell’s–) that I couldn’t come up with anything coherent. I did shake Ivin’s hand on the way out and thanked him for making the film.


Hugo Weaving and Tom Russell at the Sydney Film Festival Last Ride premiere, June 2009

The Oranges and Sunshine Special

Note: This is an archived entry that’s several years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material. Some entries may not be up to my current standards as far as photo source and other credits are concerned; if you are a photographer or writer of a piece that lacks appropriate acknowledgement, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add source info.

Now that the initial flurry of Oranges and Sunshine promotion has died down a bit, i thought I’d compile a selection of video clips and links to reviews, interviews and other articles about the film. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and even the crotchety dissenters have praised Hugo’s performance as Jack. 😉  Hugo Weaving has done one brief interview so far, which I’ll post below… I expect he and David Wenham will be more heavily involved in the Australian promotion (the film debuts there on 21 April.)  No additional international distribution is confirmed as of yet, though there’s a rumor on the O&S Facebook page that the film might come to the US in September. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

I’ve been very frustrated that none of the Oranges and Sunshine interviews or promotional clips have been embedable… There seems to be a crackdown on any kind of embedding these days. While I understand that the piracy of complete films or copyrighted work is a big problem these days, I fail to understand why materials that are explictly created to PROMOTE these films can’t be disseminated as widely as possible.  And posting links on Twitter or Facebook is a poor substitute for being able to watch a number of related clips on the same page. So I’ve taken matters into my own hands and uploaded a selection of Oranges and Sunshine promotional clips to YouTube so I could embed them here. All original sources are credited.  These clips are unlisted, so PLEASE do not post the links on any public forum. I don’t think I’m doing anything illicit here, but I don’t want to get into any trouble, and want to be able to continue sharing Hugo material this way. If my YouTube account is pulled, I won’t be able to edo that. So please, enjoy the clips, watch them as many times as you like, you can even grab your own copy of these and other O&S A/V from my O&S Archive here. But don’t public-post this stuff. I think it should be out in the open, but it’s a chilly atmosphere for any sort of unauthorized embedding these days. I hope that changes soon. Naturally, I hope you’ll all pay to see this film in a cinema or on DVD when you have the opportunity.

Sorry about that little disclaimer, now to the good stuff.

This is a brief clip from the film featuring Emily Watson (as Margaret Humphries) trying to connect to child migrant survivors after discovering the scandal behind their deportation to Australia. Hugo is seen briefly. This originated at LoveFilm.

This is an in-depth BBC preview for the film featuring interviews with director Jim Loach and Empty Cradles author Margaret Humphreys. It features the first full scene released of Hugo’s character Jack discussing his past with Emily Watson (as Humphreys). Lorraine Ashbourne portrays Jack’s sister Nicky.

Here’s some footage from the film’s London premiere from uk.real.com (with some scenes from the film included). Emily Watson, Jim Loach and Margaret Humphreys are interviewed.

Here’s STV’s promotional piece for the film, featuring interviews with Loach and screenwriter Rona Munro, along with scenes from the film.
There’s another clip from the premiere on YouTube– embedding disabled, of course. 😉

There are additional Jim Loach interview/promotional videos on YouTube from Empire, Digital Spy, Community Care, Press Association, and  Euronews (includes a scene featuring David Wenham.) In case you haven’t seen it, I’ll add the link for the  Roma Film Festival Emily Watson and Jim Loach interview from last November too.

Radio/Audio Podcasts: Jim Loach was interviewed on the Film Weekly podcast, Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review (BBC).
Margaret Humphreys was interviewed on BBC Woman’s Hour.

Internet interviews: Jim Loach was interviewed (or transcripts of his numerous preview screening Q&As posted by):   The Guardian, This Is London, The Evening StandardMovies.ie, Little White Lies, STV, the BBC, Indie London, Obsessed With Film, and Female First.

Emily Watson was interviewed by The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, This Is Nottingham (also features the Hugo weaving interview below), The Scotsman and Movie Vortex.

There’s a complete transcript of Jim Loach and Emily Watson’s preview screening Q&A at Dog Ate My Wookie.

Margaret Humphreys was interviewed by the BBC, Fan Carpet, Female First and The Guardian.

David Wenham was interviewed by the Herald Sun.

There’s an article about the controversial events which inspired the film at OpenDemocracy.net, and a very different piece on how Adelaide stood in for Perth in the 1980s at News.com.au.

Here’s Hugo’s interview from This Is Nottingham:

‘…”Jack just seemed to me to be a man crying out to be accepted and to have his story recognised,” says Weaving, better known as Agent Smith in sci-fi blockbuster The Matrix. “

When we meet him he’s still going through a great deal of issues and a lot of pain. Initially he’s very mistrustful of Margaret.” He adds: “I wanted desperately to meet the man on whom Jack is partially based – someone who’d actually come out and had that experience. He was incredibly forthcoming. It was an invaluable experience talking to him and that was my primary research. “The title Oranges and Sunshine is something that Jack says.

He was asked as a child whether he wanted to go to Australia, where he could live in a white house, ride a horse to school and be able to pick oranges off the trees for his breakfast and where the sun shines every day.

“That was the sort of golden promise that these children were sold. Oranges and Sunshine? It’s the great promise and the great lie, the great untruth that was told to these innocent children who were damaged for so many years. “And it’s the journey that Margaret takes to try to heal that and give them some sense of who they are.”  ‘

And here is a selection of positive reviews (with a few mixed reviews that praise Hugo’s performance thrown in): The Guardian, STV, Variety, Kid in the Front Row, The Film Pilgrim, Best For Film, Cinehouse UK, Eye For Film, Good Film Guide, Lost in the Multiplex, Film Chronicles, Suzy Feay’s Book Blog, The List, Screen Daily, This Is Nottingham, Eircom, The Hollywood News, I Heart the Talkies, Total Politics, FilmIreland.net, Filmoria, Fan The Fire, Pure Movies, Blueprint Review, Bristol Watershed, View, Indie London, Oxford City Guide, Time Out London, Sky Movies, Left Lion, Birmingham Post, Daily Mail, The Irish Times, Camden New Journal, The Independent, Metro.co.uk, LoveFilm, Obsessed with Film, Breaking News.ie, Close Up Film (I’ll forgive the critic for mucking up Hugo’s name) ;), Little White Lies, Express.co.uk, i-flicks.net, Highbrowse.ie, The Telegraph, Static Mass (I’ll forgive the bad graduate thesis wankery in this because he praises Hugo’s performance) ;), Evening Standard, DIY, Phil On Film, The Arts Desk, Day & Night, Cine-Vue, Every Film In 2011, For Your Consideration, Birmingham Mail, One World, The Observer, aaaaand Movie Talk Blog. 🙂


Hugo Weaving and Lorraine Ashbourne

And an early Happy Birthday to Hugo, who turns 51 tomorrow. 🙂