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I’m still finding plenty of wonderful new photos and press accounts from the Cloud Atlas Moscow premiere and publicity interviews. Still haven’t turned up any footage of Hugo speaking at the press conference or in interviews he gave the following day, but I’ve found several quotes in overview reports which I’ll include here, with the continuing caveat that I don’t speak Russian fluently and am at the mercy of internet translators, some of which produce highly iffy results. (For example, several different Russian websites repeatedly refer to Halle Berry as “The Black Panther”… I really hope that’s merely a reference to her infamous role in Catwoman.) 😉 But a lot of these photos are amazing, and, of course, that requires no translation. Some of these are very similar to (and a couple are better versions of) previously posted images.
Halle Berry and Hugo Weaving at the November 1 Moscow premiere screening. Photo: Alexander Avramenko
Hugo Weaving and Dae Boona at the post-premiere press conference November 2. Photo: Veronica Skurikhina/tenstars.ru
Some quotes from the press conference, via Vokrug,tv:
Tom Tykwer: When we started [to grapple with] the idea of the film, we immediately had the names [of actors we wanted to cast]: Halle Berry, Tom Hanks … Hugo Weaving
Lana Wachowski: .. That in general our lifeline … We feel free to contact Hugh Grant, but were worried what he might think, because all of the roles that we imagined for him were horrible, [so] he would have thought that we hated him. But we immediately got his consent. However, when he arrived on the set, he immediately said, “Do you hate me?”
Bae Doona: I received a very fine compliment from author [David] Mitchell. He said that after our movie he forgot [his original conception of our characters], and now imagines our versions.
[All the actors were asked to name their favorite characters]
Here are a couple of quotes from the same event via FilmPro:
Hugo Weaving [when asked how the actors prepared for roles]: I am the same as in all the films. I do the same in life! [The hall is happy/cheers]
[CJ: I’m fairly certain this is a joke, but I can’t get a nuanced translation. Obviously we all know Hugo is nothing lke his most famous characters, and approaches each role differently, based on what will be required. One could also read this as a statement that he takes both the roles and life very seriously. Another translation renders the statement: “‘I’m the same, as well as in all my films. I’m precisely same in life! ” The hall is pleased.’ This suggests he’s following other actors in answering the same question.]
Hugo Weaving: This film is a real labor of love!… I felt that all my characters are parallel. But the interesting thing to me was to play old Georgie. Because he’s an idea, the devil is in someone’s head. He represents their fear, doubt…
Halle Berry teasing Hugo: I really liked you as Nurse Noakes!
Lana Wachowski: We immediately knew who we wanted to cast in these roles, the second option was not there. Hugo, of course, he’s our tether [alternate translation: safety cable, lifeline]!
There’s a more gossipy account of the evening at TenstarsMovies. Some excerpts:
“…The red carpet stretched along the theater, the producers of the movie marched in first, among them Alexander Rodnyansky who wormed his way in. The Russian film producer and businessman is a direct participant in the promotion of “Cloud Atlas” not only in Russia but also in the world. Then past the camera quickly ran demonic Hugo Weaving, unshaven “as the Russian bear,” in the apt remark of one of the producers. The actor managed to tell journalists that his appearance in “Cloud Atlas” is not constant. With a beard, we see him in his new role…
Attention soon turned the cameras to the leading ladies- Halle Berry and Bae Dooona. The courageous women appeared before reporters at their best. … Halle Berry doffed her cashmere coat and wore a little black dress… The actress had kept her coat on for interviews. The reason is clear: the street was -3 [celsius]. In Los Angeles, meanwhile – +15. Why Korean movie star Bae Doona was under-dressed is not resolved… [some rather insulting comments about Bae Doona omitted, as are comments about Lana Wachowski’s gener reassignment]…
…As usual, the red carpet is no time for an in-depth interview. The creators of “Cloud Atlas” quickly answered the most simple questions….
How is collaborating as three directors? –“Interesting, fruitful and just as difficult”
What is the movie about? – “About humanity”
The premiere night after-party Photo: Intermoda.ru
The red carpet Photo: Natalya Vasilyeva/tden.ru
This website had a brief account of the cast’s visit to a well-known Russian restaurant Hugo had enjoyed on a previous trip (probably the 2010 Wolfman premiere) Once again, Halle Berry’s fashionable but unseasonable attire caused some problems:
“[Ms Berry] got into trouble because her Cloud Atlas costar, actor Hugo Weaving had decided to take her to a restaurant [Weaving has stayed] in the capital previously and feels is at home.
Hugo at the Cloud Atlas Premiere after-party. This and next 2 photos: Victor Boyko/Spletnik
I think the jet-lag is starting to kick in here…
The Wachowskis have mixed feelings about all the media attention… 😉
November 2 press junket photo call This and next 2 photos: Anna Temerins/Spletnik
L to R: Bae Doona, Halle Berry, Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Hugo Weaving
Five more photos from the November 1 premiere (Photographer: Olga Turovtsev)
Photographer Turovtsev’s account of the evening: “Bae Doona came over to the photographers’ area and took off her coat to reveal a red dress. We were already thoroughly frozen, so the gesture was much appreciated. Halle Berry also wore a revealing dress on the red carpet, but she looked much more frozen. Hugo Weaving was calm and serious. With a warm coat, he was in no hurry to leave. Tom Tykwer walked the path twice. For the first time, accompanied by his wife. then accompanied by fellow directors Lana and Andy Wachowski. Onstage Lana and Tom welcomed the audience in Russian. Bae Doona, Hugo Weaving and Halle Berry modestly stood and applauded… As usual, the red carpet was about theater in October. It was cold, but the organizers seem determined to maintain freezing photographers [so we were each] given a bottle of spirits. True, the bottles were only 50 grams. But at that point, it really helped. Thank you!”
[CJ- If they’d given the photographers any more booze, the photos wouldn’t look so marvelous, I imagine, so I’m glad they gutted it out.] 😉
In non-Russian Cloud Atlas news, there’s an interview with Halle Berry, in which she reiterates her thrill at the casting opportunities the film afforded her, at The Grio. There are positive new reviews at Theoretical Ideations, Geek Soul Brother, The Cornell Sun, The Lamron, VC Reporter, The Columbia Tribune, Flix Chatter, Classy Deer, The Daily Rotation, The Skinny From McKinney and Brian Welk. Indie Wire/Thompson on Hollywood has an in-depth interview with the film’s makeup artists– and another rebuttal against the identity politics clowns who are still slandering this film and willfully misinterpreting it to make a name for themselves. (And yes, most of the bloviation does indeed come from the same two sources and their sheeplike followers.)
… And the film is already drawing rave reviews in Russia. I’m insanely curious about how they handled the Zachry section– did they subtitle it or try to overdub in a Russian equivalent of the pidgin spoken in the film? I always prefer subtitles. I want to hear what the actors are actually saying. It’s part of their performance. And you learn little nuances of other languages that way. Of course, I think the eventual DVD/Blu-Ray should have subtitles for the full film– for the hearing-impaired and for people who just couldn’t understand some bits in the theater. (For the record, I had minor difficulty understanding Zachry’s tribe the first time around, and none at all the second.) But those subtitles should be of what the characters actually said, not a modern English equivalent. No cheating. 😉
But it’s been nearly ten minutes without new Russian press conference photos. We can’t have that! 😉 These three are from MuesliMag.com/Ivan Medvedev
Here are a whole bunch of premiere night photos from Ivan Burnyashev/Firstedition.ru:
Hugo was briefly quoted at this website: “The film was extensive [ambitious], but personal, intimate and bold – and there was something so incredibly joyous about woking on it. ”
Some fan photos from Lady Morrighan [леди Морриган] :
“In the beginning he signed autographs, even standing next to the boy, who persuaded him to do so.” She repeats the complaints of some “standing further along the fence” who weren’t given equal access to autographs, and that Halle Berry seemed “nervous and reserved” and gave out very few autographs.
I’d console her that this is sometimes the luck of the draw. Sometimes I’ve had wonderful luck, other times Hugo didn’t seem to want to give autographs. The atmosphere in New York this past summer was particularly oppressive; professional autograph seekers (who sell their wares online, and thus aren’t authentic fans looking for a special moment with someone they admire) ruined it for a lot of people by hounding Hugo and his fellow actors every time they went out in public. I’m sure that at a premiere there are literally hundreds of people who want autographs, and one actor can only give so many before the movie starts. Hugo obviously gave many autographs. To those who weren’t lucky this time, I’d say, just wait. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back. 😉 Halle Berry, meanwhile, has a history of being stalked by paparazzi and constantly having her private life and time with her young daughter intruded on. So I understand her not wanting to bodysurf the crowd. Particularly in that dress. 😉 I have been snubbed seeking autographs– I know how gutting it feels. But Hugo is more generous with fans than most. I’ve had a couple of lovely little conversations with him that I will always treasure the memory of. In end, such moments are gifts, not something we’re owed. And the films (and plays) are their most important gift to us. Also, those are some amazing photos.
Here are three new photos of the photo call and press conference (and a collage!) from Womanjournal.ru (Photos: S-L, Starface.ru)
Hotel Ukraine photo call
(I see the loathsome tendency to “instagram-filter” everything is now a worldwide trend. That or the photographer overindulged in the “spirits” handed out to photographers at the premiere)
The November 2 press conference
Lest anyone think I’ve forgotten about The Hobbit, Collider recently posted a cavalcade of new material including an in-depth interview with Peter Jackson, a set visit description (and 70 new trivia factoids), a lively interview with Sir Ian McKellen (who assures us we’ll see Gandalf’s “rambunctious” side in the new film, though “Gandalf doesn’t get drunk”), an interview with Martin Freeman, an interview with Richard Armitage, and a chat with Richard Taylor (of WETA) about the film’s complicated special effects.
Hugo wasn’t on set when these interviews were conducted, so there’s minimal Elrond content in any of these… Collider did ask Hugo about The Hobbit during the recent LA press junket for Cloud Atlas, but made rather a hash of things by including two franchises Hugo is no longer involved with in that interview. Collider is normally a great resource and I don’t think they meant any harm in that case– they simply should have put Hugo’s comments in context (and perhaps provided audio or video once the controversy broke out– some writers for the site provide full audio of interviews as a matter of course. That would make Hugo’s tone and meaning clearer than the few quotes pulled did.) In any case, Elrond probably doesn’t have a huge presence in the new trilogy; he was only in about 10 minutes of each installment of LOTR, after all. But it still looks like the whole effort will more than pay off.
STOP PRESSES! Some beautiful human being has posted raw video of the full Cloud Atlas Moscow press conference to YouTube… without Russian overdubs, so you can hear what the actors actually said without relying on my awkward attempts to translate.
Hugo has three comments at 10.54 in, 15.60 and 20.56, then 22.40 his costars make their humorous remarks about some of his characters. Since what Bae Doona said reveals a lot of detail about the relationship of her characters to Hugo’s in the film, I won’t quote her precisely. If you have time, the whole thing is very much worth a look. I’ll excerpt Hugo’s quotes below… the questions were in Russian, and each actor had an earpiece given him/her individual translation, so can’t repeat the exact questions… you can probably guess the gist from the answers. There were similar questions in Toronto and LA.
10.54: Hugo– or the entire cast– was asked which of their characters they personally most resemble. There was an awkward pause, then Hugo answered: “I’m like all of my characters. Exactly.” [Laughter] So it was a joke.
15.60: Hugo: [On the experience of working on the film” “I think what really made this film such a good, friendly experience for us,,, was that it felt enormous, in many ways, but very intimate, and very personal, and very brave. And there was something enormously joyful about working with all these people, and the cpommunication was really… Well, on a big studio film, the communication is appalling, often… there was something about this particular project… I can’t talk about all independent films, but this particular film was such a joy, and a labor of love, that it was a really unique experience for all of us, and quite a radical piece of film making. I don’t think you get that in a larger studio film.
20.56: Hugo [On which character was his favorite] I sort of loved playing all of them, actually, because they’re all linked. They’re all very separate as individuals, and as actors we approached each one individually on any one day… We’d work with that particular director or directors and our fellow actors on that particular character , and on those particular scenes. And yet, the more we went through the process of filming, the more the characters felt like they were paralleling each other, in the way they grew in the film. And so that complete experience of playing all of those roles was really the thing that made this… one of the things that made this project so unique. If I had to choose any one character, I guess the idea of playing Old Georgie was the most fascinating, for me, because he’s not really an embodied… well, you’re seeing him on the screen, but he’s not really a person, he’s not a character. He’s an idea. He’s a… hallucinated devil inside someone’s head. So the idea of playing that character was really fascinating, and how we were going to to cover this.. creature, this idea, this concept or this fear… [He’s] the voice in your head that’s always saying, ‘No, you can’t do this, you’ve got to do this’, that sort of… when you talk to yourself [internally], at least, he’s that kind of a person who’s always saying ‘no’ and tries to control your actions. So he’s really very fascinating.”
22.40: Halle Berry: I personally loved Hugo as Nurse Noakes. [Laughs]
Bae Doona: I loved all my characters… Sonmi was so pure and so innocent…. But when my Mexican woman [got a comeuppance against] Bill Smoke, I really enjoyed it. [Laughs]
Another clarification: In discussing the casting choices (and how the directors were lucky enough to get their first choices for all the major roles) Lana Wachowski calls Hugo Weaving their “security blanket”, not safety cable or tether. 😉
Here are a handful of new pics from the after-party at Restaurant Twenty-Two, one of which might be a duplication (but a nice one). Photos originated at Moda.ru, no photographer credit.
Hugo Weaving and Tom Tykwer examine some mysterious swag
Here’s a close-up. My best guess is it’s some luxury brand of cigarettes or tobacco with a lighter, but I have no idea. 😉