New Hugo Weaving Interview About Mystery Road, SFF Launch Pics, Mule Updates

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 had planned this entry to post additional photos from the May 8 Sydney Film Festival Launch, which Hugo Weaving attended with costar Aaron Pedersen to promote the festival and their film Mystery Road (directed by Ivan Sen) which will have its world premiere on the festival’s opening night… but the Sydney Morning Herald has now posted its online coverage of the event, which features comments from both actors and their director, as well as a lovely new pic:

Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving at the SFF Launch, 8 May Photo: Edwina Pickles/SMH

Unfortunately, unlike most papers/sites covering the event, SMH decided to overemphasize the bizarre “murder suspect extra” incident which was already given too much attention in the press at the time it occurred last August, and which happened when neither Weaving nor Pedersen was on set, despite SMH’s sensationalist headline. (This didn’t stop the reporter from asking both about the incident: ”That morning I had to go and pick up another cast member in Longreach,” said Pedersen, ”But it was quite weird.” Hugo Weaving adds, “I went up there a couple of days after that.” ) Director Sen noted that the film was based in part on a real, unsolved murder of an Aboriginal girl which he says wasn’t as thoroughly investigated as it should have been.

Hugo did reaffirm his commitment to independent Australian films: “”I think I enjoy them more. They’re smaller, more intimate productions, fewer people on set, working in this country with fellow actors from here. There’s something about doing that that really excites me more than anything else.”

The article itself is fine once you get past the tabloid element, which has little to do with the film itself, which is a serious-minded, thoughtful endeavor rather than an exploitation flick, by all accounts.  I’ll add the full text scan of the print version below, since it features a larger version of the photo, along with a scanned article about the SFF launch from The Daily Telegraph (published 9 May) which includes a new still of Weaving and Pedersen from Mystery Road.

The Sun Herald, 12 May 2013

The Sydney Daily Telegraph, 9 May

You can read more about Mystery Road and SFF 2013 at Film Junkee (which lists it atop its selection of 10 Films To Watch At The Sydney Film Festival) and The film also has a Facebook page featuring lots of amazing photos and anecdotes from last year’s shoot, though no Hugo pics as yet. And the Sydney Film Festival has posted a digital brochure highlighting all of the films featured this year.

Viewers curious about Ivan Sen’s work can currently stream Toomelah on Netflix (US) and Beneath Clouds is widely available on DVD. (It has sometimes appeared on Netflix streaming, but isn’t available at the moment, though you can rent the DVD.) I did see Beneath Clouds a few years ago, in part because Hugo has been raving about it for years… it’s tough and uncompromising but beautiful and profoundly moving. This director can convey untold depths through sharply-observed character interaction using minimal dialogue. He also knows how to integrate the complexity of the Australian landscape into a narrative without simply using it as a postcard backdrop. (And no, I don’t always love the same films Hugo does. I thought Shame was pretentious rubbish. But, in general, Hugo’s tastes are probably more refined than mine. Someone should ask him what his “guilty pleasure” films are, because whenever he’s asked about favorite films, he mentions high-class arthouse fare.) 😉

We’re continuing to learn a few new details about The Mule, which will soon be filmed in Melbourne (it’s currently in pre-production); we still haven’t been given specifics on Hugo’s role (ie whether he’s the “mule” in question or not) but The Hollywood Reporter confirmed John Noble’s casting and described his role as “a natural-born criminal who owns a local hotspot that is a cover for gambling and drug distribution.” I’m already thankful Hugo wasn’t given that role, as he’s been there and done that a few times (most recently in The Tender Hook.)  THR adds that the film is aiming for a tone similar to the Coen Brothers’ Minnesota-noir classic Fargo… certainly I admire the aspiration. And Hugo has mentioned he’s always wanted to work with the Coens. Right now I’m just hoping that Noble and Weaving aren’t pitted against one another as rival drug lords who must be outwitted into destroying each other by Leigh Whannell’s lead character. That wouldn’t be Coen-esque, but a clichefest. Also, who’d want to cheer on anyone instead of Hugo Weaving or John Noble? 😉  The film will shoot some scenes in Bangkok as well as Melbourne… it’ll be interesting to see how this film compares to Hugo’s three drug trafficking-themed TV miniseries of the late 80s-early 90s: Bangkok Hilton, Dadah is Death (AKA Barlow and Chambers: A Long Way From Home) and The Bite.

Finally, Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton are working to make Sydney theatre-going more affordable, with a plan to reduce some Sydney Theatre Company play tickets to only $20, including those for Blanchett’s upcoming collaboration with Isabelle Huppert in The Maids, and Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh’s teaming in Waiting for Godot at year’s end. More details at Limelight… Now, if they could only implement $20 airfare to Australia, I’d be right over. 😉 But Sydney-area fans should be thrilled about this.

Note: All of these images were originally posted at the sites credited with heavy watermarks. I’ve done my best to remove those, but the results aren’t always perfect, so apologies in advance. My Twitter pal @itanglish also brought to my attention that some earlier Hugo Weaving photo sessions promoting Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Waiting for Godot were now available at Newspix; some of these I’d already seen (and some were published in The Australian and others publications) but some were new to me, so I’ll add the lot below:

SFF 2013 Launch 8 May 2013:

Aaron Pedersen and Hugo Weaving  Photo: (plus next five) AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Photo: (plus next 3): Robert Wallace/Splash News

L-R: Aaron Pederson, Nashen Moodley (SFF Festival Director), Chris Freeland (SFF Board Chairman) and Hugo Weaving

Photo (plus next 3) Richard Milnes/Demotix

Les Liaisons Dangereuses Promotional Photos 15 March 2012:

Hugo Weaving at STC’s Wharf Theatre  Photo (plus next 7) Jane Dempster

STC 2013 Season Launch: Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh 5 September 2012

Photo: (plus next 4) Dan Himbrechts

More news as it becomes available!


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