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There are no major developments to report, but new photos from the Cloud Atlas Glasgow filming (in mid-September) keep surfacing, and of course Hugo was briefly glimpsed in the most recent Hobbit Production video on Peter Jackson’s Facebook page. Oranges and Sunshine continues screening in [far too few] US cities, and Happy Feet 2 opens this Friday in the US. I’ll be posting a full compilation of all the US articles and reviews for Oranges and Sunshine soon, but first I’ll share info/pics from the rest in this “catch-all” entry.
Hugo continues working on Cloud Atlas in Berlin this month. No photos have surfaced since the spate of Bill Smoke/Glasgow street images appeared this past September… but more of those keep surfacing. The first four here are AP: Danny Lawson PA Wire, the last three from Chris Brennan’s Flickr account.
No official confirmation has surfaced about what other five roles Hugo might be playing in the ambitious Wachowski/Tom Tykwer adaptation of David Mitchell’s novel, but the folks at the James D’Arcy Forum provided a German website link (Dierk Prawdzik’s resume) which adds weight to the rumor he’ll be playing the female character Nurse Noakes in the Timothy Cavendish sequence of the film. (Hugo’s one confirmed role is Bill Smoke in the Luisa Rey story Half Lives, costarring Halle Berry and Keith David… and possibly James D’Arcy, if he’s playing both the old and young versions of Rufus Sixsmith.) Photos of Hugh Grant in costume on the Berlin set (with makeup that gives him a vague Anthony Hopkins-in-The Wolfman look) 😉 turned up earlier this week. Though there’s been no character confirmation, I’d bet he’s been cast as petulant 1930s composer Vyvyan Ayrs in the Letters from Zedelghem sequence, which will star Ben Whishaw as Frobisher and D’Arcy as his correspondent (and lover) Sixsmith. With most of the major roles in the Sonmi sequence announced (Bae Doo-Na stars in the title role, Xun Zhou as her coconspirator Yoona, Keith David as Ankor Apis and D’Arcy as The Archivist), and some supporting cast for the Zachry/Meronym sequence on IMDb, the cast list is gradually taking shape. A few lucky individuals have seen an extended glimpse of the film itself, according to Tina Steffan’s Twitter feed: “Just saw a ten minute Cloud Atlas teaser. It’s wild and fresh and I want more. This is going to be an amazing movie.”
I reread Cloud Atlas during an extended power outtage recently, so I’m more inclined to guess which actors might take on which roles, though I would probably be way off, as I have no idea which characters and plot tangents will have to be cut to make the film’s planned three hour running time. (This seems long, but leaves only half an hour for each story; IMO Sonmi and Zachry’s stories could be feature films unto themselves, so it’ll be interesting to see how the filmmakers decide to edit and structure this behemoth. 😉 Apart from Zachry, who’s a teenage boy in the novel (though he retells his experiences in old age, meaning he might be played by two people), most of the lead roles are now known, though unconfirmed. Halle Berry plays Meronym and Luisa Rey, Jim Sturgess plays Adam Ewing, Tom Hanks is Henry Goose, Jim Broadbent is Timothy Cavendish and Ben Whishaw is Frobisher.
I’m reluctant to guess at the rest of Hugo’s roles, because I don’t know which supporting characters will be cut or composited. I know I will be sorely disappointed if he’s handed all of the villain roles, though there’s already one instance where that won’t happen… which avoidance of spoilers prevents me from detailing. Bill Smoke is an assassin (albeit a very entertaining one), and Nurse Noakes a one-dimensional Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) analogue. Since some villains aren’t initially obvious in the narrative, wouldn’t it be more surprising or inspired to cast a different actor, and give Hugo some more morally nuanced characters? Just my opinion.
On to The Hobbit… I’ll embed the Fourth Production Diary clip below…
This focuses on the use of 3D technology in filming, with new glimpses of footage already shot. Hugo’s Elrond is briefly seen twice, at 3.50 (with his star chart) in and in a group shot at 8.22 (he stands with Gandalf/Ian McKellen in the background). Here are caps, with apologies for blurriness:
Andy Serkis promised NME that an official trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is forthcoming as early as next month. Hugo and Cate Blanchett stated that their segments for The Hobbit had already been completed this spring, though they didn’t specify whether they meant segments for the first film alone or both parts of The Hobbit. If Hugo meant both parts, that would imply that Elrond has only a cameo in the project, as he does in Tolkien’s novel.
Finally, Hugo reprises his role as cranky old penguin leader Noah The Elder in Happy Feet 2, which opens this Friday in US theaters. Since Noah isn’t prominently featured in the advertising, and is nowhere in evidence on the official website, I’m assuming it’s another cameo… Noah isn’t Mumble’s adversary now, and seems to be in the film primarily for comic relief. (He’s briefly featured in one TV spot which parodies Mel Gibson’s speech in Braveheart… sorry, I couldn’t find this online). Hugo was humorously quoted in the film’s Production Notes: “I’ve played a lot of different kinds of characters—assassins, villains, a drag queen—but it is rare that I get to play anything that comes near being ‘cute.’ That’s a character challenge for me, and one of the reasons I came back to work for Mr. Miller.” I would argue a bit with this generalization… some of Hugo’s characters are much cuter than Noah… Rex the dog, for example, and his romantic leads in Russian Doll and “The Road to Alice”, But obviously Hugo is making a joke about how he is perceived based on his Hollywood roles. 😉 Also, George Miller gave Hugo his breakthrough role in Bodyline back in the early 80s… I suspect that has more to do with his participation in Happy Feet than Noah’s questionable cute factor.
We Are Movie Geeks shared this great photo of Hugo voicing Noah:
(If you look closely, you’ll notice the skuas have dive-bombed the poor old geezer) 😉
Trailer Addict has dozens of interviews, trailers and other promo clips for Happy Feet 2; alas, Hugo doesn’t appear in any of them (nor does Noah). But there is a lot of behind the scenes footage of the other voice actors, including Brad Pitt and Matt Damon singing Super Hits of the 1980s… if you’re into that. 😉