Much More Cloud Atlas Promotion… One Week to Go! (Plus More On Why Michael Bay Is An Utter Cretin)

Note: this is an archived entry. Some links might not still work, but I have tried to ensure scan and video embeds are still in place. If any linked material is unavailable, please let me know and I’ll attempt to find a copy in my personal archives.

Yes, it's now less than a week until Cloud Atlas opens in the United States, so if you want to look into midnight screenings, etc, you can probably buy tickets now. There will be a premiere in Los Angeles on the 24th and one in Berlin on November 5; Hugo is scheduled to attend both, and the latter will be streamed live, according to various German press sources, including the German-language version of E News Online.  I both anticipate and dread this possibility because Hugo's been so shabbily treated in the online media this week. Fanboys continue to misquote and distort what Hugo said in a Collider interview a week ago, and Collider has yet to provide the full context of those quotes, ie a full transcript or audio/video. I think this is essential, because too many people think Hugo randomly went off on Transformers (and, to a lesser extent, Captain America)… in fact, these comments were a minor part of a much longer interview promoting Cloud Atlas, and were answers given to direct questions… and this wasn't the first time Hugo had been asked those questions. And his tone in answering would probably defuse some of the misguided outrage… I've never heard Hugo adopt a "whiny" or complaining tone. Ever. And I could compile you a huge list of quotes from people who've worked with him who unfailingly have cited his patience, modesty, strong work ethic and kindness.  This would include pretty much every director Hugo has worked for EXCEPT the one who never bothered meeting him or giving him a full script.

Hugo can't seem to promote any work without certain reporters asking about these blockbuster movies, no matter how off-topic some of them are. While it's fair to ask about The Hobbit, because Hugo is actively involved and might have to film additional scenes (and because the first Hobbit film is being released soon)… as far as Hugo is concerned, his work on Captain America and Transformers is completed. Reporters can't seem to take this for an answer, and continue to try angling for a scoop. And in the money-obsessed, celebrity-gossip-drenched world of online "reporting", they can't comprehend that any actor would not particularly want to talk at length about any role in a film that made huge profits, no matter how inconsequential the role. Hugo has always said his participation in Transformers was minimal, that he didn't watch the finished films, didn't understand his role or lines particularly, and that he's never met Michael Bay. THIS STUFF IS ON HIS WIKIPEDIA PAGE, people. And none of it was blown out of proportion previously.

But this time he used the word "meaningless". Which as far as I'm concerned, he had every right to, as it might finally get it through to some people's heads that he doesn't in fact sit around practicing the silly robot voice while waiting for Michael Bay to call. But again, fanboys and the entertainment media can't take this as an answer, and can't understand Hugo's artistic integrity on its own merits. So the comments were conflated into an attack on fans, franchise movies and Michael Bay. Honestly, I'd love nothing more than for Hugo to call out Bay for being the egotistical, childish, misogynist twat that he is, say the Transformers films are juvenile crap, etc… BUT HE DIDN'T, NOT EVEN REMOTELY. Hugo is an adult and has better things to do with his time than get involved in internet feuds. I'm sure he knows nothing about this foolish, fanboy-driven kerfuffle, and would be mystified and a bit depressed if he heard how completely he's been misinterpreted. I hate to think of the absurd questions that might greet him if he attends the Cloud Atlas premieres; he wants to be supportive of his directors and fellow cast, and celebrate and promote a film he feels passionately about… and he might have to deal with THIS idiocy.

I hope he doesn't, and that reporters can stay on-topic this time.  I'm not even going to get started on Michael Bay's juvenile response to the controversy, which involved posting and then deleting a whiny, petulant rant. I've posted direct responses to this tactic in several different places, including THR and Collider (and I do think it's a tactic– the sort that passive-aggressive 14-year old girls favor. Bay surely knew his loyal army of arrested-development-case fans would lovingly repost his words all over the internet, so he could claim to distance himself from the outburst while knowing it would be inescapable. ) I don't want to have to talk about this any longer. It's emotionally exhausting. But Hugo is being slandered and mischaracterized by ignorant people– some are ignorant in the sense that they just don't know any better, some willfully ignorant. But I do need to try to counter that with facts, even if they don't want to hear them. I really hope that this contrived "controversy" dies down. No job any actor– or human– accepts  requires fawning adoration or perpetual servitude. Hugo was not trying to be cool, not trying to insult anyone, and not trying to complain. He was just trying to be honest. In an industry that often runs on bullshit, that's a rare commodity.

On to REAL NEWS, of which there is plenty. First, several new Making-Of and promo interviews for Cloud Atlas have appeared online, the most interesting of which is another paired interview with Susan Sarandon, this time for Talking Pictures:

I can't fathom that anyone who's actually seen Hugo's interviews for this or any other project could mistake him for being jaded, pretentious or complaining. He often lets other actors dominate the conversation (in this case, Sarandon) and invariably talks in a quiet, thoughtful and gently humorous manner. Again, he has to downplay the Genre Villain image some people have of him, but most of the time here, he's talking about the film, and other actors, rather than himself. And he's ALWAYS like this.  I know I don't have to explain this to fans or regular readers, but it's obvious that there are still too many people out there who have NO IDEA who Hugo really is, and that's not fair to him.

Talking Pictures also did dual interviews with Jim Sturgess and Bae Doona, with Ben Whishaw and James D'Arcy, and (of course) Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.

There are two new Making-Of featurettes, both of which feature glimpses of Hugo's characters but, alas, no interview footage. I hope I'm just being paranoid in wondering if this has anything to do with the ridiculous "controversy" mentioned earlier, as earlier pieces featured him prominently… but it's just as likely to be a case of other actors providing more succinct sound-bites. Both are slightly spoilery but well worth a look. And the second one features more footage of Susan Sarandon's Indian professor than is in the film itself.

Cloud Atlas: iTunes Preview

And yes, several of Hugo's characters have identical dialogue. Hence my frustration at the limitations of his roles. Also, they've given away the ending of the Ewing plot and the penultimate scene in the entire film. So be warned. But if you've seen the film, you'll enjoy this.

Cloud Atlas: An Actor's Dream

There are previews of the film's Oscar-worthy score at Entertainment Weekly (including a free sample track) and a new feature at the Cloud Atlas website. The Wachowskis have continued their exhaustive press engagement promoting the film, conducting insightful and often entertaining interviews with The Chicago Sun-Times, The Hollywood Reporter (40 minute audio interview + lengthy transcript), The Calgary Sun, HollywoodChicago.com (including coverage of the Chicago Int'l Film Fest preview screening) and Alamo Drafthouse (the blog for the legendary Austin cinema).  There are Tom Hanks interviews at Canada.com, The Chicago Sun-Times and JoBlo. He makes light of an F-Bomb boo-boo (really, it was "Duster" Hoggins' fault) at CNN. 😉 You can see brief excerpts of Hanks' Good Morning America interview at YouTube… I'm still looking for the full piece, as the film interests me more than someone accidentally swearing on live TV. (Shocking, I know…) Halle Berry discusses her roles in a lengthy New York Times Style profile. And some of Jim Sturgess' recent video interviews are complied here.

There's an in-depth guide at Word and Film to the novel and film's symbolism (which one can agree with or not, but which points out the key motifs and themes succinctly… even the actors are of different minds about how much should be taken literally, and I'm sure the directors would say it's up to you, the viewer; they want to make you think more than tell you what to think.)  David Mitchell is interviews by the LA Times and New York Times, and his novel is benefitting from the film adaptation, having just bounced the shlock-porn juggernaut Fifty Shades of Grey from the top of some best seller charts. 😉 SciFi Talk Time Capsule features audio interviews with the directors and Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. Post Magazine features– as one would suspect– a detailed analysis of the film's technical aspects and post-production. The Wachowskis, Hanks and Berry are quoted in a preview at The Patriot/Ledger (Halifax.) There's a positive-leaning review at Planet S. And an intelligent rebuttal to the race-baiting identity politics nonsense the film continues to face at Peddler of Dreams.

Warner Bros has posted another TV Spot (#7, for those counting)

 Here's Devin Faraci's interview with the directors for Badass Digest:

Of course, Cloud Atlas is far from Hugo Weaving's only film deserving attention this week; one of his greatest performances, in Glendyn Ivin's film Last Ride, is out on DVD in the US on October 23. Rave reviews continue to be posted as more are finally able to see the film. You can read the latest at Twitch Film ("Hugo Weaving gives what may very well be the best performance of his career"),   Film Misery ("a rather rewarding piece of intimate cinema"), and Flesh Eating Zipper ("With only a few rare exceptions, Weaving has typically never been content to play the two dimensional villain, and he stays true to his reputation here, providing depth and complexity to a character that many lesser actors may feel compelled to play as an unrepentant thug and alcoholic.") Best of all, there's a Hugo Weaving interview promoting the film at The Fresno Bee; I'm reluctant to call it new because it touches on Last Ride exclusively (not that I mind at all, mind you), an thus might have been conducted when Hugo was promoting the US release of the film a few months ago. But it's more than worth a look in full:

LOS ANGELES — Look at the cast lists for many of the big-budget films released in the 21st century and you would probably find Hugo Weaving's name.
Since playing the cold agent Smith in "The Matrix" trilogy, he's been part of the trilogies for "The Lord of the Rings," "Transformers" and "The Hobbit," plus other blockbusters like "Captain America: The First Avenger," "V for Vendetta" and the upcoming "Cloud Atlas."
While it seems like a zillion-dollar movie can't be made without Weaving, the Australian actor says that those roles are really more of the exception to what you'll find on his résumé. Weaving's drawn to small-budget movies with more complex characters.

One such small film is "The Last Ride," which was just released on DVD. It is the story of a fugitive from the law who kidnaps his 10-year-old son and takes him into the Australian Outback. This is a film that relies less on explosions and big battles and more on the emotional conflict between father and son.

" 'The Last Ride' is an example of a film that is really interesting and visually arresting that often doesn't get an audience," Weaving says. "I've always believed in doing what interests me and what excites me, but I also believe in trying to stretch myself and have a variety of work."

Weaving was content to do small films but was drawn into the mega-movie world by invitation. The directing Wachowski siblings contacted Weaving's agent about "The Matrix" after seeing his work in the small-budget movies "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Proof." That was the first of many Andy and Lana Wachowski films — including "Cloud Atlas" — on which Weaving has worked.

Starring in "Cloud Atlas" threw an acting challenge at Weaving like none he's had before because the film — told as six stories blended together — looks at how a single story unfolds through a 500-year span with characters meeting and reuniting through each reincarnated life.

Weaving approached the demands of "Cloud Atlas" and the single story of "The Last Ride" in the same way.

"Anything I do, the challenge is to do as much preparation and be as focused as I can, and be as informed about the particular project and the psyche of the individual character you are playing," Weaving says. "Once that's there, you have to remain open and free to the impulses of the day coming from the other actors and the director."

People who only know Hugo from his blockbuster roles ans a few quotes taken out of context (and misinterpreted by others) need to read interviews like this. He's always made his priorities crystal-clear, and they've never included being a franchise whore… nor does he need such gigs to have a rich and fulfilling career.

There's also a well-written review for another of Hugo's nuanced, humane performances– this time in Jim Loach's Oranges and Sunshine– at Speroforum.

More to come very soon– and I continue to hope that the Cloud Atlas premiere on Oct. 24 is a celebratory occasion which the full cast (including Hugo) can attend without being bothered about less important matters.  I have a few new photos I'll try to add soon, and will try to take screencaps of some of the video interviews too.

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