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.
Apologies for my absence over the past week; I’ve been dealing with a tragedy involving my cats as well as other job and family responsibilities. I have kept a record of interesting new Hobbit material via my Twitter account when possible, and will try to compile some of the best new material that’s appeared since the last entry. Unfortunately, Hugo Weaving didn’t participate in any of the post-Wellington Hobbit premieres, including tonight’s Royal Premiere in London. I have no idea if this was a matter of personal choice or work commitment, but I’m not particularly surprised, as Hugo only attended one premiere each for the three Lord of the Rings films and has done more than his fair share of film promotion this fall, with Cloud Atlas and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opening in quick succession. Also, it should be remembered that Elrond is a relatively minor character in The Hobbit; Hugo probably thought the bulk of attention in publicizing the film should go to Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and the actors playing the Dwarves, as they’re much more central to the plot.
That said, Hugo has given several interviews for the film, solo and with other cast members. I’ll start with the Zealandia interview which ran on The Today Show last Friday, and featured Hugo alongside Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage and Elijah Wood. This is the only US TV interview to feature Hugo, probably because it was conducted in New Zealand just before the Wellington premiere rather than in New York last week. Hugo only gets about three sentences in, but they’re all great. 😉
(Note: Thanks to Richard Armitage Central for the YouTube version.)
Britain’s T4 featured interviews with the same groups of actors featured in earlier Australian media interviews, including Hugo Weaving/Cate Blanchett/Elijah Wood and Martin Freeman/Andy Serkis/Richard Armitage.
UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2012, 2:18 PM
Note: The New York Daily News also interviewed Cate Blanchett and Elijah Wood; you can read that article here.
Cate Blanchett: Yes. I would hazard a guess that our part of the story – the fact that Gandalf and Galadriel sense that something’s wrong – will have particular resonance and prescience of what is to come. The White Council just doesn’t see it. And what is noble and heroic about Gandalf and Galadriel is that they are prepared, together, to look the future in the eye. That’s what makes Gandalf the most wonderful hero, the courage, against popular opinion, to move into the darkness that no one else is prepared to go into.
Hugo Weaving: Peter Jackson is an incredible man because he’s dealing with so many issues and characters, but then the big picture, that’s his focus. But at ground level he’s making smaller pictures, focusing on the minutia of each character, the details of each locations that are set in this larger world. From day to day dealing with all of those details, these films really suit his fantastic character (laughs). It’s been really lovely to come back and see people throughout the cast and crew whom we haven’t seen for so many years.
Bonus: Hitherto undiscovered Cloud Atlas interview featuring Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon:
Sarandon: I wanted to hold on to the experience of ‘being there’ because as an actor, you can sometimes forget how much fun it is; you can forget that your characters are your way into learning something new and surprising you along with everything else. Occasionally, you work with people who are competitive and actually set out to make your job harder, I’ve run into that a little bit. But when you have this kind of very rare repertory company, I was sad to leave that experience. I hadn’t seen Lana and Andy in a long time, or Tom (Twyker). I hung out a little bit with Tom during Speed Racer and we’d keep in touch a little bit but I hadn’t seen them so I was really happy to be there. I felt very at home with the characters and was proud to be the bearer of those lines in this film, ‘our lives are now our own.’ It was nice to know those lines made it in the movie’s trailer. It felt really cool, I thought, ‘oh wow, I’m in the trailer,’ and I liked being the one who got to say that even if you don’t see me that much in the movie saying it. Then, the Wachowskis’ did the sweetest thing, when the film was finished; they flew the cast and crew to their home in Chicago so we could experience it (a screening of the movie) all together, privately. Just another example of how thoughtful they are.
Talk 2SV also featured a nice enlargement of one of Matt Carr’s TIFF portraits of Hugo:
Hugo is also quoted in the following cast interview compilations and Wellington premiere summaries:
Reuters: “You couldn’t not come back, you had to come back.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer/AP: “[On differences between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings]This one feels lighter, more buoyant, but it’s got quite profoundly moving sequences in it, too … I think it’s very different in many ways, and yet it’s absolutely the same filmmaker, and you are inhabiting the same world.”
Pics of Hugo from the November 28 Wellington, NZ Hobbit premiere continue to appear; here are some that have bee posted online since I posted the last batch. Some are enlarged versions of previously posted images.
Mark Coote/Reuters (plus next one)
Briahna Patterson/BRI Photography via Twitter (plus next photo)
There’s a well-assembled compilation of all the official cast interviews (including Hugo’s) and appropriate behind the scenes footage here. Reviews on the Run features two Behind the Scenes previews (1, 2) which also include actor comments (though none from Hugo) and some unfortunate background music. 😉
Hugo Weaving and Ian McKellen in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Other Hobbit Articles: There are interviews with Andy Serkis at The Huffington Post, and Time Online, with Peter Jackson at The Toronto Star, Entertainment Weekly and IBN Live, with Ian McKellen at The Guardian, with Martin Freeman at Flicks and Bits, still from the second film, The Desolation of Smaug, at Flickering Myth, a behind-the-scenes overview from The Daily Mail, and a longer look at the Dwarves singing “The Misty Mountain” (aka “The Lonely Mountain”) at TheOneRing.net. Slant Magazine highlights key scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And The Hollywood Reporter suggests the film will open at $70 million despite some jaded, been-there-done-that critical appraisals.
Hugo Weaving and Ian McKellen in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
I’m not going to compile Hobbit reviews as thoroughly as I did Cloud Atlas reviews because a. there are far too many, and b. the criticism tends to be the same across the board, with negativity focused on the film’s pacing/being stretched out from the original novel as well as the HFR technology, which many find jarring or too photorealistic/unflattering of the film’s artifice in places. But I’ll share positive or well-written mixed reviews. Recent ones worth a look include The Telegraph, The Huffington Post (Mark Ryan), The Huffington Post (Marshall Fine), The Hollywood News, Ror Reviews, Middletown CT Patch, Wired, TimesCall.com, Flickering Myth, TodayOnline, and The New York Post.
And more Cloud Atlas reviews (and rebuttals against some of the absurd critical and identity politics charges) can be read at CCD Blog, Saratoga Falcon, Yahoo Movies, Awards Daily, Mr Lee Curtis, and an article on the film’s makeup and its Oscar potential can be read at Variety.
DVD Talk posted another belated but flattering review of Last Ride.
I’m still planning to attend the local midnight screening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey tomorrow night should no further crises occur. I’ll post my response afterward. My expectations aren’t as astronomical as some fans and critics’ seem to have been: I never saw making The Hobbit as essential, and always felt it was a less substantial novel than LOTR, if amusing. That said, if Hugo felt it merited his participation, I’m cautiously optimistic– if anything, Hugo has proved this year that he won’t tell people only what they want to hear if he doesn’t personally buy it. 😉 When asked about how his role might expand when it was announced The Hobbit would become three films, he said, “For a number of reasons, they decided that there are three films in there. I hope there are. I don’t know.” That’s about how I feel.
Some critics have suggested maybe there aren’t three films in there… I reserve judgment. I had no issue with the expanded editions of LOTR, which added dialogue and character development which enhanced my experience of the story. But I have seen films– particularly sequels and prequels– which did pointlessly rehash material in earlier films in an attempt to recapture their glory or endear fans rather than because there was an organic reason for that material to exist. Nothing I’ve seen so far makes me especially worried. I’m slightly annoyed at the attempts at whimsy and knockabout comedy, but they’re true to the tone of Tolkien’s book, which was more of a children’s story than LOTR. If anything, Peter Jackson has omitted some of the more egregious bits of the original. (No singing Elves, thank God!) I know there’s enough Elrond material in Tolkien’s oeuvre to justify a lot more Hugo content, but am not sure how much of it PJ and co have the rights to. (The Silmarillion is off the table.)
Hugo has hinted he expects the Battle of Five Armies to figure in the second (or third?) film, and that he’ll probably have to film additional scenes in the coming year. The fact that a stunt double had to be enlisted for Hugo’s work in The Desoltation of Smaug (you can read stunt double/sword technician Steven McMichael’s interview in The Calgary Sun) suggests Elrond will have more to do that sit around reading star charts and doling out advice to ungrateful Dwarves the next time around. 😉
Hugo Weaving and Steven McMichael on the Hobbit set/Calgary Herald photo
On a personal note, I’d like to thank all my friends on Twitter and LJ who expressed support and condolences this week as certain events unfolded; I’m going to tell that story more fully on my personal LJ when I’m emotionally prepared to, but wanted everyone to know that their kindness has meant a lot during a very difficult time.