Hugo Briefly Revisits New Zealand for Hobbit Post-Production; New Collider Interview

Note: This is an archived entry that’s over two 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.

A little update adding that, in addition to juggling rehearsals for Uncle Vanya (which begins its New York run on July 19) and preparations for Mystery Road (which begins filming this week in Queensland) Hugo’s also managed to fit in post-production work on the Hobbit films. Here’s the complete report from the July 1 print edition of the Sunday Telegraph: apparently one of their reporters cornered Hugo at the Sydney Biennale a few days ago and got the scoop:

So apparently they just needed him for a couple of days, and Peter Jackson and co. are finally nearing completion on the mammoth film shoot, which has taken over a year. (It’s unlikely Hugo filmed any new scenes during the recent visit, as he’s kept his beard.) Hugo also took time to discuss Cloud Atlas with a different reporter recently; I’ll share links to that interview as soon as it’s online.

UPDATE: Well, I do have a new Hugo Weaving interview hot off the presses (so to speak) but it’s NOT the IFC chat we’ve been waiting for; instead it’s an interview from Collider in which Hugo discusses the American release of Last Ride, the experience of filming Cloud Atlas in Berlin (he’s good about not dropping any spoilers) and, yes, The Hobbit gets a mention too.  I was impressed that they focused on Last Ride. After all these years of telling people about the film only to find they’d never hear of it, this is a welcome change, and I’m sure Hugo is thrilled that one of his more challenging, personal roles is finally making a larger breakthrough. Click on the link for the full text… here are some excerpts:

On Last Ride: “…I’m so used to Australian films not getting a release outside Australia. If they do get a release, generally Australian films don’t last particularly long at the box office here, even if they’re really interesting or accomplished. They just don’t ‘cause that’s the way the world works. It’s very hard to get any film these days done. When you’re battling against the minds of the studios and the money that can go into promoting larger budget films, it’s very hard for a very small-budget Australian film to get a look in. You can get critically acclaimed and go to various film festivals around the world, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the majority of people are going to hear about it. I’m used to that dynamic. So, it’s really lovely, even though it’s been three years, that it’s getting a little bit of a release in the States. I’m really thrilled ‘cause it’s a film that I had a wonderful time working on. We all did. I’m really proud of it.”

On creating Kev in Last Ride: “…[I]t was more of an external and internal build-up, at the same time. I was externally trying to create what this character looked like, and there was a sense, in the book, that he was described as being like a dingo, so I felt like he was lean and sinewy, and I was physically trying to transform, over a period of a couple of months, before the shoot started. I had to decide, ‘What does he sound like?’ Well, he’s a particular type of man who’s grown up in a particular way, and so he’s got a particular voice. I had to try to find that vocal thing, and physically get what he might be like. And then, internally I had to decide, ‘What are his though processes? Is he slow or quick? What’s his background? How does he feel? What doesn’t he feel? How does he cover himself up? What’s his driving force?,’ and all that stuff. But, I wouldn’t approach every character in that way ‘cause it wouldn’t be required. I work in different ways, depending on the film, really.”

On Cloud Atlas: “It was a joy to go back to Berlin with them ‘cause we had shot V for Vendetta there. I had never been to Berlin, prior to that, and I loved being in that city. It’s the most exciting city in the world, I think. To be able to go back there, to that same studio, and to live in Berlin for three and a half months in a flat, and my partner Katrina was with me the whole time, was just great. And Katrina is very good friends with Andy’s wife, Alisa. So, it was very nice to be back there. It felt like it was reuniting with a family, in a way. And then, we got to meet Tom Tykwer, which was great. To work with Lana and Andy is always a joy… That was the most extraordinary experience, actually, for everyone. It was a slightly dangerous adventure because it’s the sort of film that hasn’t really been made before, and I think everyone was mindful of that. I can’t wait to have a look at that… In the end, you think, ‘Well, we’re not sure what this is going to be like because it’s not like anything else that’s been made.’ It really is a totally unique film, and that was exciting. It was an adventure, in a way. It felt like you were exploring new territory, and that’s pretty rare.” [Hugo mentioned he hasn’t seen very much of the film yet.]

On The Hobbit: “It was really lovely to see some old friends and old faces again, and to go back into a similar world, which is tonally a little bit different. …The project is so massive and there are so many people. It makes it frustrating for everyone because things just take time and you don’t know what’s happening. You don’t know what’s going on, despite all the best intentions, but the people are so lovely that you just accept, ‘Well, this is the way this particular world is.’ You live from day to day and from moment to moment, doing the best you can. There’s a delightful atmosphere there, so it was lovely. I’ve literally just come back from there a couple days ago, having done post-production on that, so it was really nice to see everyone again.

On 3D technology in films: “I don’t get a lot from the 3D experience, generally, but for certain films, I think it works really wonderfully well, and I suspect The Hobbit will be one of them. For that particular world, I think it’s probably a really fabulous natural exploration of it. With some other things, the 3D doesn’t work so well. I’d rather see something like Last Ride or a small film on a flat screen, rather than with black glasses. That’s impressive enough, as it is.”

You can see I have a hard time excerpting… so much good stuff in there, and Hugo doesn’t speak in glib soundbites. 😉 And he’s been more than generous with his time lately, despite having so many projects going at once. It always amuses me when websites say they have an “exclusive”… obviously Hugo has done several interviews this week, to the point where he’ll chat with reporters who run into him on his off time. 😉 But this is a wonderful piece, with intelligent questions asked and thoughtful replies given.

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