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.
Hugo Weaving in "Commission", directed by David Wenham
The Turning's website has been lavishly supplemented with new sub-pages about each of the 17 segments that comprise the film, including casting details, synopses and director's statements. Since some of this material could be considered slightly spoilery, I'll leave it to readers to click on the link and decide how much they want to peruse. (If you want to know absolutely nothing, skip the next paragraph too.)
In some ways, the film is at least as complex as Cloud Atlas, though more grounded and less metaphysical… and instead of individual actors playing multiple characters, multiple actors play the same characters at different times and in different circumstances. (Vic Lang, the son of Bob Lang, Hugo's character, appears in several stories and is even played by Richard Roxburgh in the segment "Reunion", a story set many years after "Commission", but appearing before it in the film. (Meaning, yes, the stories aren't told in chronological order. But it's nothing you Hugo fans can't handle.) 😉 A younger version of Bob Lang is portrayed in a later story ("Fog") as well. Cate Blanchett plays Gail Lang, Bob's daughter-in-law (opposite Roxburgh's version of Vic) in "Reunion". (Cate also played Hugo's mother-in-law in Lord of The Rings and step-daughter in Little Fish, trivia buffs will note.) 😉 I promise none of this will play out as confusingly as I'm making it sound.
I know I haven't been able to compose a full Hugonuts update in some time… part of this is because I've been overwhelmingly busy, part because there hasn't been any earth-shattering breaking news. Hugo has remained in Sydney as far as I'm able to determine, and is probably still working on The Mule. (That production filmed some scenes and exteriors in Bangkok earlier this month, but I now doubt Hugo was involved in that. He was never spotted there, at any rate.) Hugo will put in an appearance at the Melbourne International Film Festival in late July/early August (according to themusic.com.au)… his films Mystery Road and The Turning will screen there. Mystery Road screens on July 26, The Turning on August 3 (its gala premiere) and August 10 and 11 (two screenings the 11th.) Tickets are going fast, according to MIFF's website, so if you're planning to attend, act quickly. I don't know whether Hugo will attend screenings for both films or just The Turning's premiere… certainly he won't be as involved as he was in the Sydney Film Festival. But, at any rate, the long drought of Hugo News should soon be over.
Here's the Herald Sun's preview of MIFF, including an interview with Mystery Road's Aaron Pedersen and details on both Mystery Road and The Turning:
You can also read MIFF festival previews and other details at TheLowDownUnder and EverGuide. The Turning debuts in Australian cinemas 26 September. International dates haven't yet been announced, but I feel certain a film of this scope featuring this much talent will have a wide international release, either in arthouses or on VOD .
The Mystery Road website added a nice high-res version of this image of Hugo Weaving and Aaron Pedersen (this is NOT the high-res version. Click on the link, then on the magnifying icon to see it in all its glory.) 😉
Mystery Road will have at least one additional festival screening after MIFF, before its wide Australian release on 17 October. (US release is slated for early 2014.) The fim will be part of the schedule at Cinefest Oz, where it will have its West Australian premiere on 22 August at Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre; tickets are now on sale. According to Yahoo Australia, a black-tie event is scheduled, along with a Q&A session with producer David Jowsey following the film. No word on whether cast members will attend this event. Preview screenings for critics have also been held; most writers are holding back their reviews for the moment, though hinting strongly on Twitter that the film is a must see. 😉 Here's a quote from one reviewer who went ahead and posted his thoughts:
Michael Scott, Cue Dot Confessions: "[T]hough Sen goes to great pains to capture the beauty of the outback in all of its serene majesty, his film is more about the outback's brutal indifference than its enormous grandeur… Truth be told, the mystery side of Mystery Road isn't particularly engaging. Though Sen has an ear for Aussie vernacular and a strong sense of the outback character, his instincts for murder mystery tend toward simplistic, often self-evident, paper chasing. What actually makes the film compelling is the combative environment that Sen throws his archetypal hero into…
Sen captures the sardonic aggression of outback masculinity almost to a fault. Had I not lived out bush for a number of years, the cringe-worthily blusterous entitlement of the old white men with guns would have struck me as hideous caricature. But it is unfortunately all too true, and nowhere is it more disgusting than when it is unleashed on the 'uppity blackfella' detective…. [Aaron Pedersen's] Jay Swan operates his investigation from no-man's land, copping obstructions from both sides; on the one hand his Sergeant (Tony Barry), the local drug squad detective (Hugo Weaving) and the local farmers (including a menacing Ryan Kwanten), feed him spurious information and half-promises of assistance; and on the other his ex-wife, Mary (Tasma Walton), his daughter, Crystal (Tricia Whittenand), and the local Aboriginal kids have him pegged as a turncoat copper who has walked out on his own people. Only the old folk (selected from Australia's acting royalty: Jack Thompson and Uncle Jack Charles) have managed to scale the trenches to offer any meaningful, race-blind assistance…
Sen doesn't give answers. There really aren't any to give. The outback is a broken land filled with broken people, at least when it comes to race relations. Mystery Road calls them out on this. That is a powerful declaration and the cinematic expression of it is more chilling than any murder mystery could ever be."
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Looks like Hugo Weaving (and Cate Blanchett) weren't needed for filming pick-ups for the second and third films in The Hobbit trilogy, which unfortunately suggests the characters won't play an active role in The Battle of Five Armies. (Hugo confirmed it hadn't been filmed yet last fall, and Peter Jackson's blogs from the set hint that the Mirkwood Elves and (of course) the Dwarves have a central role in that sequence.) Jackson confirmed that all supplemental filming involving "Elves, humans, wizards and Hobbits" was completed by July 12 without Weaving or Blanchett having put in an appearance on set. They will appear in at least one more film (possibly both) but probably in a minor capacity. Meanwhile, you cam see the latest whimsical Hobbit set photos (including a scandalous image of Bilbo wearing shoes(!) at Peter Jackson's Facebook Page and E! Online.
SBS posted a nice preview of Hugo's third collaboration with director Craig Monahan, the prison rehab drama Healing. No new details or photos, but there are some classic preview/interview videos promoting their first project, The Interview (1998) embedded in the piece.
In The Company of Actors
If you enjoyed this 2007 documentary, or were lucky enough to catch STC's production of Hedda Gabler in Sydney (2004) or Brooklyn, NY (2006), you might want to watch costar Aden Young's webcast interview videos promoting the film, in which he fields questions from students at several Australian schools via videoconference. Among other things, Young confirms the notorious cellphone story Hugo also related in a radio interview several years ago. (You can read Hugo's version of events of that story– and about his fall from the stage in the same production– here.) Thanks to Sydney Correspondent Yvette for informing me of these clips. 🙂