Hobbit Premiere Previews & News, Misc Cloud Atlas

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.

It's been a quiet couple of weeks as far as new Hugo Weaving news is concerned, though videos, reviews and other articles from the Cloud Atlas premieres and press junkets continue to belatedly appear just as Hobbit hype is building to a fever pitch. I'll post the eclectic batch of new material that has appeared since my last entry, some of which is great enough that I wonder why it was held back for so long. (And I apologise for my lack of free time in recent days; though all of this previously appeared on my Twitter feed, I haven't had more than an hour or so on any given day to check my various alerts and sources for new material and tweet it forward… getting everything organized takes a bit longer.)

I'll start off with Hobbit news, as the various premiere dates have now been posted (by Ian McKellen, among others), and some of you might want to make plans. Everything gets underway on November 28 at 3pm in Wellington, NZ at The Embassy Theatre at Courtenay Place, where the official world premiere will be held. (Some hardy souls are supposedly already lined up for the event.)  Hugo Weaving is scheduled to attend, along with Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Peter Jackson, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage, Elijah Wood and all of the actors playing the company of Dwarves. Sir Ian McKellen has sent along his regrets that he'll be unable to make it, but he will be available for the New York and London premieres– more on those shortly. More details are available at TVNZ.co.nz (plus more here), The Dominion Post, Darren's World of Entertainment, and Canberra Journal. MeMyWorldMyStyle features some great pics of all the crazy promotional displays in Welllington, including a giant statue of Gandalf at the premiere venue and a very scary Gollum looming to greet visitors at the airport. 😉

Hugo is also slated to appear at the Japanese premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Tokyo at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 1 December along with Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage and Elijah Wood, according to MyMiddleEarthNews. This will be a private event, unlike the Wellington premiere, but since there will be a red carpet, I figure there should be some media coverage. Subsequent premieres will be held in New York on December 6 and in London (the Royal Premiere) on December 12 before the public opening on December 14. Ian McKellen has already RSVPed for the latter two events via his blog, but no additional actor confirmations have yet appeared. Hugo has tended to appear at some but not all of the major premieres for his major films, so we'll have to see how these play out. Tickets are already available for midnight screenings of the film at many US venues on December 13/14…. Yes, I succumbed and booked a seat in advance, for the full 3D/IMAX package. I have no idea if/where the 48 FPS version will be screened locally; that'll be something to research further in the coming weeks. You can read Peter Jackson's most recent blog post about his reasons for filming in HFR 3D on Facebook; there's also an article about the technology, and the paucity of venues now poised to take advantage of it, at Deadline.com.

Other Hobbit News: There are two new additional TV Spots from Warner Bros (I posted the first five, plus the Japanese preview and an informal behind-the-scenes video in my previous entry), a surprisingly good extended, fan-made trailer compiling all of the footage so far released from the film (totaling about 8 minutes) via /Film and a handy compilation of all the many new promo stills, behind the scenes pics and Making-of book previews (from MovieClips.com) under the cut:

Also: A new interview with Martin Freeman from The Dominion Post. Hugo hasn't yet done any press specifically for The Hobbit… though of course he's answered plenty of questions about it while doing press for Cloud Atlas and the US release of Last Ride. 😉

There is a surprising amount of new material from all of the Cloud Atlas premieres/engagements and press junkets of the past couple months, confirming my suspicion that the film will be a stealth cult classic which will build its audience gradually via word of mouth and secondary releases. Though that will be vindication for all of us who have championed the film, it is a bit frustrating because the film is so richly visual and cinematic– it deserves to be seen in the most optimal setting, which for those of us who aren't millionaires would be a cinema. Though Cloud Atlas has ended its initial US run in first-run cinemas, it is still onscreen in many second-run and college venues… I'll be going to see it again just before Christmas in one of my favorite college theaters if all goes well. So… don't miss this chance if you're still curious and haven't made it to a screening yet.

Perhaps the most interesting new Hugo Weaving piece was a brief interview (and new photo) conducted during the October 13-14 Los Angeles press junket as part a series of venerable character actor profiles for DuJour. Hugo was one of six actors profiled, the others being Michael Caine (the possible inspiration for Bill Smoke's 70s hair) ;), Dustin Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin and Ray Liotta. I don't think Liotta is in the same class as the others, but it's a classy group, and I admired the notion of grouping them together. I just wish the article hadn't been an excuse for an unnecessary fashion spread, and that the interviews focused more on acting and accomplishment than image. Somehow when I think of Hugo, fashion and palm trees in LA isn't the first thing that leaps to mind… and he looks somewhat uncomfortable in this shot. (Hugo has lamented "being made a clothes horse" in more in-depth pieces elsewhere, and has worn the same suit to most of the premieres he's attended over the past five or six years. So I have to laugh on the few occasions where he's photographed in trendoid threads accompanied by price lists… especially because you can't really discern the designer clothes very well in the photo. 😉 ) But the concept behind the piece is admirable, the company distinguished, and Hugo comes off seeming modest and thoughtful. Here's his photo and the full text of his interview/profile; you can see similar pieces on the other five actors and photos of them at the site itself.

"HUGO WEAVING

There are two types of people who recognize Hugo Weaving. “If I was in Sydney and bumped into someone who goes to the theater a lot, they would know me from the opera house,” says the celebrated Australian actor, who seems to specialize in intellectual stage work and massive blockbusters. “But a majority of people would know me as Agent Smith.”

At the time of this interview, Weaving, 52, was indeed most recognizable for his role as the hard-to-kill G-man in The Matrix trilogy. But that was before Cloud Atlas. In the film, directed by Matrix masterminds Lana and Andy Wachowski, Weaving plays six different characters—including one that isn’t male and one that isn’t even human.

For Weaving, whose next big project is Peter Jackson’s new Hobbit trilogy, the challenge was thrilling. “Any character you do is complex,” he says. “It’s always a little scary, and if it’s not why would you want to do it.”

And as far as taking on roles that endear him to either Sydney’s theatergoers or multiplex hordes, Weaving is at peace with his fate. “I think everyone is pigeonholed and that’s fine,” he says. “As long as I can keep creating and being excited by the material I’m working on, I’ll be forever grateful.

For the record, I don't think it's OK to pigeonhole actors, and I think Hugo is referring to how others (mis)perceive him– which no actor can control– rather than the real substance of his best work. Obviously, he's trying his best to avoid typecasting at this stage in his career. (Christopher Walken, who has been plagued by even crazier typecasting for decades, has admirably taken a similar stance in recent years. He'll still play the odd psychopath, but the writing has to be self aware and up to snuff.) 😉 Also– odd that they would completely omit mention of Hugo's independent films, which makes me wonder if this wasn't truncated from the press conference where Hugo made similar comments about how different audiences perceive him.

Several Cloud Atlas video interviews with various Cloud Atlas cast members have also been posted online over the past couple of weeks. Most are from the Berlin premiere, some are from Moscow. I'll also include all four of the German Behind the Scenes compilations, including one I hadn't previously shared.

Berlin premiere interviews with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Bae Doona, James D'Arcy, Ben Whishaw via Julie the Movie Girl:


(I posted her premiere/red carpet footage in a prior entry; you can also see it here.)

Here's a dual interview with Hugo and Bae Doona (who have a deeply disturbed relational arc in Cloud Atlas) 😉 for THRRussia

The six above-mentioned actors plus the three directors in Berlin via Daniele Rizzo:


Love the fact that they apparently have a Beware Of Bill Smoke sign in Germany. 😉

A similar compilation from MoviePilot

O2's footage of the Berlin red carpet:

There's a high-res version of the Time Online Making Of  video here:

And here are the four German Behind the Scenes clips:

There are additional Cloud Atlas articles at the following sites: Interviews with Hanks, Berry, D'Arcy and Whishaw at Moviereporter.de, an amusing beer-themed (but not impaired) review/podcast at Pub Chat, new interviews with the directors at Spiegel Online, KCRW (an audio interview), and Awards Line, an appraisal of the film's costuming at Vintage Fashion Guild, an overview of Method Studio's work on the SFX at Creative Cow, an article tipping Cloud Atlas and The Hobbit for possible Makeup Oscars at HitFix, a profile of VFX artists Dan Glass and Stephane Ceretti at Below the Line, a humorous chart demonstrating how Hugh Grant's Cloud Atlas roles are a bit of a departure for him at UltraCulture,  an extended interview with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry at Dish mag.com, and a passionate, well-crafted rebuttal to the misguided PC racial criticism of the film at Thuper Bacon.

You can read the latest positive or mixed-but-well-written reviews at Ministry of Truth Film Ratings, Oh Cinema, Cheka Digital, Movie Reviews From The Dark, The Kerronicle, McCoyed, How To Write a Screenplay, The Flor-Ala, N-TV.de, The Examiner (there's a different review by another critic at the same site here) , Think Love Speak, Kate McKay, Caleb's Blog of Awesomeness, Leselink.de, Vevlyn's Pen, Theater-Words, Reel Girl Reviews (though her assessment of Old Georgie and the whole Zachry storyline is rather clueless), Lights Camera Popcorn, Midcoast Station, Movies Are Ruining My Life, MyMajors.com, Humor Times,     Focus.de, The 1927 Company, Rob's Movie Vault, The Warning Sign, Pushing a Snake Up A Hill, Consider This, The Rover, JT Film Review, Pass The Popcorn, Sketched Screenings …. and a rave review from Robert F Kennedy Jr at Huffington Post.

There are couple minor pieces of Hugo Weaving ephemera not related to either The Hobbit or Cloud Atlas: first is some interesting behind the scenes footage of The Wolfman's Castle Combe set here (none of the lead actors are filmed, but it's very atmospheric), and a positive review of Oranges and Sunshine at The Flack. There's also a wonderful, hourlong audio interview of Cate Blanchett at ABC Classic FM.

Hope all of my American friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that my international friends just had a wonderful day. 😉 I'll be back with Hobbit premiere coverage next week if nothing happens before then.

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