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New Cloud Atlas cast interviews are just starting to appear online… and I’m still finding great stuff from TIFF as well. I’ll get right down to it and start posting a new interview with Hugo that’s just gone live at Collider. As is unfortunately common in cases of American movie sites, they asked a bunch of questions about franchises Hugo has already, repeatedly said aren’t that important to him. He’s given the same answers as before, perhaps more elaborately… he has no interest in Transformers or Captain America sequels. He’s tired of playing genre villains. I really hope this gets through to the fanboys, but (sigh…) probably not. Fortunately there’s some clarification about Hugo’s role in the Hobbit trilogy, the first time he’s spoken about that project since it formally became a trilogy. He has yet to complete filming scenes for Peter Jackson, and doesn’t yet know if he’ll appear in the third film. (I’ll probably see the third film regardless… probably. );) Full text is under the cut… and they promise to post the material about the film Hugo is actually here to promote soon. No new pics, alas…
As the voice of Megatron, has Michael Bay called about the next Transformers movie yet?
Here’s a great extended cast interview clip from Movie Networks Channel… you can tell it’s Australian media because, in addition to Alicia Malone’s presence, Hugo appears twice, along with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon:
Here’s a wildly entertaining new Tom Hanks and Halle Berry interview courtesy Black Tree TV:
There’s also an Indian-press interview with Halle Berry at NDTV Movies. Hope they don’t mind that the role where she’s wearing the sari is a tiny one. 😉
There’s some evocative Cloud Atlas-themed artwork here, and a lengthy discussion of the film (featured one of the more sophisticated 14-year-olds I’ve ever heard from) at Oscar Podcast. (The Cloud Atlas chat begins 45 minutes in.) IMO they should add Emma’s comments to the movie posters. 😉 I agree the film is perhaps best aimed at the younger generation, though it’s not for kids. (It’s rated R in the US and features a few disturbing deaths, but not nearly the level of brutality that’s in the book. 14 and up should be fine… that’s the age I started seeing R rated films in theaters too.) I’ve been contemplating whether or not the film has a happy ending myself. (It’s slightly different than that of the book). In the end, I think there’s a powerful sadness to it, for reasons I won’t reveal.
Here’s a new collage of images from yesterday’s press conference/SAG preview screening in LA, posted to Twitter by Joby Harte :
Actors include from top, left clockwise: Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon; Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Bae Doona; Tom Hanks, Berry; Berry, Sturgess, Bae, Weaving, Sarandon, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy
Here’s another collage image from yesterday’s press conference, featuring most of the same actors. Thanks to the James D’Arcy fans and Hiddleston-Addicted Tumblr for spotting it:
Clockwise from left: Halle Berry and Tom Hanks; Berry and author David Mitchell; Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon; James D’Arcy and Ben Whishaw; Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer; David Mitchell
Here’s the extended Entertainment Tonight preview that aired last week and includes a lot of behind the scenes footage; there are interviews with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon, but alas, not much Hugo content:
Though Hugo is ostensibly here to promote Cloud Atlas, he’s still being forced to answer a lot of questions about the same tedious genre villain roles he’s already answered many times. There’s another piece in Cinema Blend which nearly overlooks Hugo’s insistence that he’s not interested in Marvel sequels in order to fixate on how the character might be reprised. And the shit is still hitting the fanboys (so to speak) over the Collider interview (posted above) which quotes Hugo more directly, and thus is harder to obfuscate. Hugo has been as nice as possible about the whole issue, (and he says he had fun on the project and loved working with Joe Johnston, etc) but if he really wanted to be asked endless questions about Captain America, one thinks he’d have participated in post-release press junkets for that movie. He did not, nor did he appear at any premieres. So fanboys are now ambushing him whenever he tries to promote other projects that obviously mean more to him. To be fair, not all of the response from fans of these movies has been negative or delusional… many applaud Hugo’s artistic integrity and desire not to want to drive any character into the ground through pointless repetition. All supervillains are reprised eventually, but few are continuously played by the same actor over and over again. And if fans can handle three different actors playing The Hulk within ten years… honestly, why keep picking on Hugo?
I’m fine if people like any Hugo Weaving film or are grateful he did it; obviously I think the two particular franchises at the heart of this controversy were mistakes, because I knew exactly what sort of image distortion and expectations they’d engender. If fans could be grateful for what he’s already done, and be willing to support his more substantive films, I’d have no issue with them. I personally loved The Wolfman, though I’m under no illusions that it’s a great film or even a particularly good one; Hugo steals it from everyone else, and I enjoyed the whole story, cheesy Goth melodrama and all. But if I heard Hugo was expected to do sequels for it, or if he kept being asked questions about it at every press conference he did for the rest of his career, I’d die inside. That’s the sort of thing that’s fun to do once, but some fans seem to want to turn him into the scifi/fantasy equivalent of Boris Karloff. Me, I don’t think Karloff got the career he deserved. 😉
I know Hugo was probably persuaded by Joe Johnston and others in the Marvel hierarchy that he wouldn’t be expected to do sequels, or he wouldn’t have signed on for the first one. (Remember how many months that contract negotiation took? I think this issue was a major sticking point.) But he seems a bit naive about how the Hollywood blockbuster system works. He’s worked so often with exceptions to the rule like Peter Jackson and the Wachowskis– who came from indies and still have that flair for originality, and film far from Los Angeles– that he’s been luckier than most to have a certain level of success without selling out. While it’s true that no villains have been repeated in the individual Marvel superhero stories, the whole franchise is based on repetition of formula. All the films follow a very predictable plot trajectory, and the more money each installment earns, the more formulaic the next one ends up being. Inevitably they’ll run out of villains (and are averse to creating anything not established in the comics decades ago) and will start recycling old ones because of fan demand. Thus I would advise any actor not interested in wasting a decade of his/her career being on call for this sort of thing– and having to field inane questions about it– to not get involved in the first place.
Finally, it’s categorically impossible for Hugo to be involved with the Captain America sequel now in production. He’s slated to film Healing early next year, and might still have to film scenes for the second and third Hobbit films. There might also be postproduction work on Mystery Road. More to the point, there’s a different villain mentioned in all the early publicity for the film, as well as for The Avengers 2.
Really hope I don’t have to bring that subject up again. But the good stuff has started rolling in, so I’ll shut up about that. Cloud Atlas should please both varieties of Hugo fan anyhow. 😉
Here are two Access Hollywood clips of Hugo and Susan Sarandon:
On makeup/becoming their characters
“Describe your character in 15 Seconds Or Less” These two and Hugh Grant would have the easiest time of that. 😉 But I love that Hugo still goes over. He sees more in these characters than is written. Also: approaching the script. I really hope we get to see more footage of Sarandon’s “Indian guy” on the eventual DVD, because he’s barely in the film. (All her roles are cameos apart from the Abbess.) The Indian character is briefly glimpsed in a video/orison Sonmi watches during her education process. I don’t remember him having any lines.
There are also clips of Tom Hanks and Halle Berry as well as Jim Sturgess and Bae Doona discussing the film in pairs (I like the format; also, all but Weaving and Sarandon play linked characters. Wait… did I miss something about Weaving and Sarandon’s characters on the first viewing?) 😉
More is sure to follow, but that’s enough for one entry. Want to emphasize that I have no problems with genre films or “nerds”, though the term is much more expansive now than when I was younger. (Is any film that makes a bazillion dollars really operating in a niche market for any demographic any longer? And is there any social stigma in watching blatantly populist multiplex Hollywood product? I seriously doubt it.) My issues with certain films lie in their lack of originality and self-perpetuating commercial impetus. I hate seeing great character actors typecast so relentlessly. (Hugo is far from the first, and I’m already seeing a younger crop of great actors in the process of being pigeonholed for these villain roles.) It’s fine if you loved any of Hugo’s films or peformances… I’m sure I love a few that aren’t his personal favorites too. But please, respect his statements and preferences on face value, stop the ad hominem attacks, let him follow the career path he finds rewarding. Sooner or later, he makes something for all of us, and we all grow as human beings– artists and fans alike– when we challenge ourselves with new things.