Promotion for the special Australian engagement of Tim Winton’s The Turning continues as the September 26 opening date approaches. Two new video clips went live today: the first, which was featured on Australia’s Network Ten late news, includes interview footage of Hugo Weaving discussing his work on the short “Commission”, and Mia Wasikowska (with producer Robert Connolly) describing her directorial debut on “Long Clear View”.
Warning: Hugo does give away a slight spoiler about Wasikowska’s film. 😉
The second is a brief clip from “Commission” (directed by David Wenham) featuring Hugo and Josh McConville (who plays his son) chatting beside a campfire about Bob Lang (Hugo’s character’s) decision to leave home. This scene and a scene from “Long Clear View” are also featured alongside Margaret and David’s reviews of the film at ABC’s At The Movies, in a clip compendium which also includes the film’s trailer. And Films Madman (the Australian distributor of The Turning and many other great films) has compiled all of the promo featurettes released thusfar for the film, and five films clips, including this one from “Commission” and a scene from “Reunion”, starring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh, on their YouTube feed.
Hugo and David Wenham also spoke about “Commission” with Local Today; since it’s a relatively short piece I’ll include it under a cut here; alas, there were no accompanying photos. But both actors have intriguing comments about their working process, and about meeting on a different Tim Winton project (That Eye, The Sky) 20 years ago. I’ll also include the complete iPad version of the Sunday Style Hugo Weaving interview which I included in the previous entry…The first part and photo are identical to the print version, but this has four extra questions and answers at the end. My thanks to Elisa at Random Scribblings for the technology assist; neither of us thinks content should be available only to wealthy fans with specific-brand technology.
The Turning Fans Will Love Film: Weaving
David Wenham was worried about casting Hugo Weaving in The Turning
Wenham was one of the 17 directors chosen to adapt Tim Winton’s book of short stories and wanted Weaving for his film Commission.
Although Wenham had acted alongside Weaving before, The Turning marked his directorial debut and that combined with their history initially made it strange.
“I worked with Hugo as an actor, so to then be on the other side, like I was concerned at first. I thought, `God I wonder if Hugo’s going to say yes to this project’,” he says.
“I was hopeful but I didn’t want to count my cookies before they were baked.”
Weaving did say yes and found the experience of working with Wenham, who also wrote Commission, very easy.
He says Wenham wanted Commission, about a reconciliation between a father and a son, not to be too fancy and let the story speak for itself.
“He was incredibly well prepared and made it all seem so effortless when I know it wasn’t,” he says.
“We laughed a lot. It was good, we had fun, we sat around campfires.”
Coincidentally, the first time the pair worked together was actually on a different Tim Winton project, an adaptation of That Eye, The Sky for theatre.
Another coincidence – it was adapted by Justin Monjo and Richard Roxburgh, who also directed the play, and who both are working on The Turning.
Weaving says that first time must have been close to 20 years ago.
“(Wenham) was fairly fresh out of drama school I think. It was just after I did Priscilla,” he says.
Wenham was one of the key reasons for Weaving signing onto The Turning. But the unusual aspect of the project was also appealing.
While there are 17 short films, each with a different director, writer and cast, the stories are linked by recurring characters (although played by different actors).
Weaving says as with the book, the short films don’t appear in chronological order, instead jumping backwards and forwards in time “like an interesting mosaic or tapestry”.
In total The Turning, which was curated by producer and director Robert Connolly (Balibo), runs at three hours long. It features Australian actors including Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Miranda Otto, and directors such as Mia Wasikowska, Warwick Thornton and Snowtown’s Justin Kurzel.
Weaving says people who love the book, will love the film.
“You get a very strong sense of Tim having seen the whole piece,” he says.
“The directors really love his material and that’s why they’ve been drawn to it and they love his characters…
“They’re very real people, so I think the response to it, I imagine will be very, very positive.”
Robert Connolly gave an extended interview to the Talk Hard podcast at Quickflix, and discussed “Commission” in addition to the rest of the film; you can stream the interview online or download the full podcast via iTunes. No iPad required this time. 😉 There is a new gallery of stills from The Turning at the film’s Facebook page (the two featuring Hugo have been widely posted online) and there are glowing review at AltMedia.net, ABC and Brag Magazine, in addition to the At The Movies link mentioned earlier in the post.
Hugo Weaving and Josh McConville in “Commission”
Hugo’s casting as Macbeth continues to accrue a lot of online buzz, leading to (as yet unfounded) speculation about an international tour or the possible last-minute casting of Cate Blanchett as Lady Macbeth, either at STC or in a hypothetical tour to follow. I will emphasize again that any speculation about Blanchett or productions beyond the STC run next summer is wholly unsubstantiated wishful thinking at this point, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pester STC to do something about it. Unfortunately, Blanchett’s casting in this or any STC production next year would be a very long shot given her multiple-film commitment for next year. I do think that a US booking would only be guaranteed if she was part of it, unfortunately, though I’d love to be wrong. (Pamela Rabe would also be a decent choice for Lady M… and STC needs to expand its overseas brand beyond productions involving Cate at some point. I would of course love to see her onstage in any capacity, especially in Macbeth, but Hugo should be allowed an opportunity to carry a tour on his own merits as well.)
In addition to screenings at the Darwin International Film Festival (18 September), Busan (October 6 (2 showings), 9 and 10 (two showings)) and London Film Festival (October 10, 11 and 19), Mystery Road has been booked for a Marquee Screening at the Austin Film Festival, which runs October 24-31. (Specific dates and times TBA). Alas, I have commitments that week which would preclude the travel required to attend, and will have to keep hoping for east-coast US screenings. But I do think Mystery Road is a perfect fit for Austin. Note: The Darwin Deckchair Cinema schedule also includes Tim Winton’s The Turning, so Hugo fans in Northern Australia will definitely want to look into attending.
You can read the latest reviews of Mystery Road at Cinemablographer, Scene Creek and Exclaim.ca. I think some of these comparisons to the doom-laden ouvre of Cormac McCarthy and to tidy, genre-bound Westerns alike a somewhat misguided, for the record. Ivan Sen has repeatedly noted that presenting a neatly packaged murder mystery where all questions are answered and motives and actions thoroughly explored for the viewer was never his intention. Of course, viewers will have to decide for themselves whether or not the film works for them.
UPDATE: The Turning
Another new video featurette for Tim Winton’s The Turning featuring a Hugo Weaving interview has been posted online, this time at AAP. Like the Ten News video, this features film footage and comments from Hugo, producer Robert Connolly and director Mia Wasikowska, but a different interviewer and questions. Hugo’s bit starts about 3 minutes in.
Also: ABC has a different featurette with a Rob Connolly interview about how the project came together (Wasikowska and Cate Blanchett also comment briefly.) And the latest positive review can be read at Salty Popcorn.