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.)

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