Year-End Update: Post-Release Hobbit Coverage, Best-Of Lists, New Videos

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.

I know I’m very overdue to update here… the holidays are always challenging, and I’ve had to take on a lot of extra work hours to pay off various bills. I do hope to update my personal LJ soon with details of what I’ve been up to/going through lately, but for now, posting Hugo News is much easier. I did have a nice enough Christmas, thouh, and hope all of you did as well.

So let’s get right down to posting all of the new Hugo Weaving material that’s turned up since the last entry. Several websites have posted this 10 minute “generic interview” featuring Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, and Elijah Wood discussing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I’ve joked that it’s a same this interview is actually longer than any of their appearances in the film. 😉 At any rate, it’s probably the best of the Hobbit promo interviews apart from the Zealandia/Today piece– and you hear a lot more from Hugo in this one.

This video from TheOneRing.net (still the best source for all things LOTR/Hobbit online) features comments from Hugo (and many other cast members) on the Wellington red carpet:

Clevver Movies has combined the Hugo Weaving on-set interview for The Hobbit (which you’ve probably seen or compulsively re-watched by now) with trailer and BTS footage from other sources:


I’ll apologize for the dodgy background music in this video and the previous one right here. 😉

Melissa DiMarco posted this clip of Hugo discussing Cloud Atlas (probably NOT The Hobbit, despite the description on YouTube) at this past October’s Toronto International Film Festival premiere of Cloud Atlas:

There isn’t any major Hugo content in Peter Jackson’s tenth and final Production Video for The Hobbit: AUJ, but it’s well worth seeing and impossibly entertaining nonetheless. (You can see brief glimpses of Hugo at 7.30, 10.41, 12.20 and 12.35.) It details post-production, premiere prep and the Wellington premiere. PJ promises that they’ll pick right up with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug production videos next year.

I took a screencap of that bit at the end:


L to R: Peter Jackson (w/Cate Blanchett over his shoulder), Katie Jackson, Hugo Weaving, Aidan Turner and the top of Elijah Wood’s head.

Helpful fan linuxelf1 has reposted some One News NZ and Channel 3 clips to YouTube:

Press conference highlights:

Red Carpet interviews:

Interviews with other cast members can be viewed here and here.

Hugo has given a few brief solo interviews, though all are vague on contextual details (ie when and where they were conducted.) This one appeared in the American Airlines magazine American Way, of all places. Short but includes some priceless material both about elf ears and Hugo’s formative experiences as an actor. Full text under the cut:

Living a Fantasy

J. Rentilly
Playing an elf in this month’s The Hobbit is but the latest fanciful experience in actor HUGO WEAVING’s enviable career.

What is real and what is not was a key theme in The Matrix, the 1999 science-fiction epic that made a star of Hugo Weaving, who played the film’s nearly omniscient villain, Agent Smith. What is real now — more than a decade and roles in films like Lord of the Rings and Captain America later — is that the 52-year-old Weaving is the real deal: an actor of poise, presence and playfulness. Equally at home onstage performing Chekhov or battling evil as a lord of elves in this month’s Rings prequel, The Hobbit, Weaving chatted with American Way about the film’s secrecy, getting younger and those famous elf ears.

American Way: You’re no stranger to working in disguise, having worn a mask for the entirety of V for Vendetta and having played a woman twice (in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and this year’s Cloud Atlas). So how do you feel about the elf ears you’ve worn in the J.R.R. Tolkien films?

Hugo Weaving: To be honest, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to be in the films to begin with. We all wanted pointy ears. They’re very light and you forget you’re wearing them — until you’re at the pub after a day’s shooting.

AW: What can you tell us about The Hobbit?

HW: My knowledge of what the film will be is really almost as limited as yours. I’m in the dark. There was a great deal of secrecy around this project, even for the actors.

AW: We do know you’ll be playing Elrond, your Lord of the Rings character, but 60 years younger.

HW: Thank God Elrond is 3,500 years old because I’m, of course, 10 years older [than I was when I made Lord of the Rings]. The makeup artists did these little wire-based attachments that pulled my skin back tight and gave me a bit of a face-lift. They were attached to my hair and tended to work for about half an hour until I started sweating, and then I’d feel the little wires snapping and half of my face would just collapse again.

AW: What made you want to be an actor?

HW: When I was about 9, living in South Africa, my parents took me to see “Romeo & Juliet,” the ballet, and the thing that really amazed me was the music. It was just extraordinary. After the ­ballet, my mother and I began to read Shakespeare together at night, and it wasn’t long before I had recruited all of my friends to dress up and act out scenes from the play. I guess you could say that was my first acting job.

Donna Demaio chatted with Hugo, Andy Serkis and James Nesbitt in an audio interview recorded at the Wellington premiere for 3AW.com.au. Unfortunately I can’t embed this, but you should definitely check it out; Hugo displays his standard mixture of effortless charm and refreshing honesty (“I hate red carpets”.) There’s more silly speculation about Hugo’s beard by the hosts; Hugo finds an ingenious way to answer this question (which I’ll let you hear for yourselves), but anyone who’s paid attention to Hugo’s career beyond the occasional big-budget film in the past 20 years knows he simply prefers having one. While he might wear one to disguise his appearance (though the fact that he wears it on most red carpets would spoil that “disguise”), there are photos of him with a beard between projects dating back to the early 90s, and it’s safe to say he tends to only shave for roles rather than vice versa in recent years. I find it a bit baffling that some fans and reporters can’t seem to get their head around this. Also, the project Hugo mentions he’ll work with David Wenham is The Turning, a compendium of short films based on Tim Winton’s thematically linked collection of short stories. Weaving will act in “The Commission”, which Wenham will direct. Cate Blanchett will costar in and direct another segment for the film, which promises to be one of the more intriguing of next year. (It’s slated to debut at the Melbourne International Film Festival in July.) The fact that Hugo divulged his piece hasn’t been filmed yet but would be soon might be the reason he opted out of all but the first Hobbit premiere. Or maybe it’s the hating red carpets thing. Either of which I completely respect. 😉

Other Hobbit coverage/articles/interviews of note include a primer on things you might want to know before seeing the film at The Philly Post, articles discussing the pros and cons of 48 FPS at The New York Times and Gizmodo.com.au, notes about the film’s gonzo box office (meaning the overly snotty critics aren’t making much of an impact) at HitFix, Flickering Myth,  a rebuttal to said snotty critics at Flickering Myth. Watch the Daily posed a video about the film’s special effects to YouTube. The Hollywood Reporter speculates that Cloud Atlas and The Hobbit could be in the mix for special effects Oscars. Richard Armitage and Andy Serkis drop some tasty hints about the next installment (and the as-yet-unfilmed Battle Of Five Armies, which should require Hugo to appear on-set) at PanArmenian,net. There’s a lavish Italian-language TV preview at Sky Cinema (via YouTube) (Warning: Hugo is overdubbed, but this is the same interview footage from the WETA cast interviews, so one can follow along. Or learn Italian.) 😉 There’s another shameless plug for NZ tourism (with an interesting side-trip to the goldsmith who designed the jewelry for the films, including Hugo’s and That Other Ring 😉 at ioL Travel,  … And Flicks and Bits previews two For Your Consideration ads Warner’s has created for the film.

There are new reviews of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (positive or well-written/mixed) at Today Online, The MAD Challenge,   Movie Room Reviews, SantaBanta.com, Worlds Beyond, Rappler.com, Borg.com, Hall Twelve, Gone With The Twins, Jo Blo (JimmyO), Jo Blo (Chris Bumbray), City Press, SF Examiner, Adam Ryen Daniels, The Dispatch, Paste, The Movie Report, Movie Maniacs Man, AV Forums, PhilStar.com, Reel Life With Jane, Mr Film Reviewer, The Flick Chicks, Catoosa Times, The Review Judge, The Cinephile Diaries, Jason Watches Movies and The Fourth Wall.

…And Hugo’s projects have appeared in several year-end Best-Of lists, including The New York Times (STC’s Uncle Vanya), Female First (The Hobbit: AUJ), The Film Stage (Cloud Atlas), The New York Post (STC’s Uncle Vanya), Fox News (Cloud Atlas), The Age (STC’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses), Visalia Times-Delta (Cloud Atlas) and FirstShowing.net (Cloud Atlas).

Sydney Theatre Company included their recent production of Les Liaison Dangereuses, starring Hugo, Pamela Rabe and Justine Clarke in their year-end highlights.  Also, STC has added some very endearing new photos of Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh to their Waiting For Godot 2013 page. Hope some of you out there are able to get tickets/travel to Australia to see it.

One oddball (but very encouraging) Hugo-related story making the rounds of late was the unexpected (and to some, shocking) airing of V for Vendetta on Chinese television, apparently unedited. You can read more about that at Variety, and France 24. More good reviews of Cloud Atlas continue to trickle in as the film is gradually released worldwide. Overseas audiences tend not to have the same pseudointellectual academic pretensions as some US critics, though the film continues to divide audiences. (IMO, the smart ones willing to put in an effort from the stupid or hopelessly PC/culture snob) Anyhow, you can read recent reviews at Souls on Travels, Enter Your Movie  The film will premiere in the UK and Australia soon.

The Matrix is among the films selected this year for historic preservation by The National Film Registry; this means that the film is “judged to be culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”, that “copies …are safeguarded and preserved for future generations ” and that they can no longer be shown in edited or altered forms. Maybe it also means we’ll be spared TNT’s chainsaw editing and hilarious language expurgations (ie Neo yelling “Jeepers Creepers! That thing’s real!?”) in future airings. 😉 More on the story at CBS Online, and of course The National Film Registry.

Finally, this lovely photo appeared on Graham McTavish’s Twitter feed:


“A rare shot of a dwarf and elf socializing”

If I’m not back before the New Year, hope all of you have a Happy New Year, and thanks for your patience and interest during another great year for Hugo Weaving fans. (Peevish fanboys and clueless critics aside… ) 😉

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