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


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