Apologies for the long delay in getting this entry posted; over the past few weeks I’ve had to deal with illness (both my own and in my family), extra work hours, and– more happily– New York theatre adventures with my boyfriend. But all the while the Hugo News has been piling up, and it’s time I assembled the “notes” from my Twitter feed into a more comprehensible form.
The Turning at Berlinale
New photos and stories from Hugo Weaving and David Wenham’s Berlinale appearance promoting Tim Winton’s The Turning continue to appear online. The most exciting of these is an audio interview posted by Fred Film Radio, which features some lovely moments from both actor and director, about their collaboration on “Commission” and how the film’s theme of transformation is reflected in their own lives. Hugo’s discussion of his own “turning points” is something every fan will want to hear. I’ll also repost the link to the Film3Sixty dual interview IO cross-posted in the previous entry in case anyone missed it. In addition, I’ll share all the Berlinale photos of the two that have been posted online since that last entry throughout this one, with the caveat that some have incredibly annoying watermarks. (As always, if anyone has seen clean versions of these… please let us know.) 😉
Hugo Weaving at Berlinale by Sascha Werner via Instagram
Hugo Weaving at Berlinale by Filip van Roe (plus next one)
Fabrizio Maltese via Contour/Getty Images (plus next three)
Francois Berthier via Contour/Getty Images (plus next three)
The film had a unique showcase at Melbourne’s White Night event on 22 February, with each segment shown in a different location across the city, encouraging fans to travel to and experience each in situ. This short video of highlights which originally appeared on the film’s Facebook page, and Robert Connolly shared all of the screening locations via Instagram, including that of “Commission”:
(Madman Films via YouTube)
“Commission” screens at White Night Melbourne Photo: Rob Connolly, via Instagram
The Turning is now available on DVD/Blu-Ray from Madman Films, with the DVD version available in both regular and Limited Edition packages. If you’ve missed all of the numerous online giveaways for the film (some have only been open to Australian residents), the least expensive retail outlets include JBHiFi and Devoted DVD; the compendium is also still streaming on iView (Australian viewers only) on a segment-by-segment basis as well as the full three-hour film. Recent reviews are available at Quickflix, Issimo Magazine.
Mystery Road Sweeps The Australian Film Critics Awards
Some welcome news for fans of Mystery Road who might have been frustrated by its poor treatment at this year’s Hollywood-fixated, Baz Lurhmann-pandering AACTA Awards: Ivan Sen’s film turned the tables at the Australian Film Critic Awards on March first, winning six out of the eight main awards presented, including well-earned statuettes for Best Picture. lead actor Aaron Pedersen (who attended to collect the film’s haul), supporting actor Hugo Weaving and director Ivan Sen. The film also won Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography. For more on the AFCAs, check out Inside Film, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, An Online Universe and of course AFCA’s website.
Aaron Pedersen with some of Mystery Road’s AFCAs (via the film’s Facebook page)
Mystery Road is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray in Australia from Transmission Films. Distribution deals for the UK and North America are in place, but so far no specifics have been announced. The film was screened to wide acclaim at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and Glasgow Film Festival last month. You can read recent reviews from these festivals (and the recent DVD release and Australia TV screening) at Movies Films And Movies, ViewLondon, Scotland Herald, The Horror Club, Spooool.ie and The Irish Times.
The Mule To Screen At SXSW, Poster Debuts Online
Hugo’s next film The Mule, costarring John Noble, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Ewen Leslie and Noni Hazelhurst (who also costarred with Hugo in 2005’s Little Fish), is scheduled to premiere tomorrow at the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, TX. The film has “good advance buzz”, according to Austin 360, and a “hand-painted promo poster” created just for the festival debuted at Twitch Film yesterday, and was promptly cross-posted on many other sites, including FirstShowing.net, Live For Films and Film Pulse, which gushed “The movie sounds completely gross and ridiculous and I absolutely can’t wait to check it out next week.” SXSW will feature four screening of The Mule, on March 9, 10, 13 and 15. More details (and tickets available) here.
Though the film’s marketing continues to leave very little to the imagination ;), we still have no specifics on Hugo’s role, though that should change as soon as the premiere happens and the first reviews roll in. Here’s the only image of Hugo as he appears in the film that we have so far:
I’m still guessing he plays someone in law enforcement, as we know John Noble plays a drug kingpin/club owner and Whannell (probably) plays the title character. I hope the film isn’t just one long bodily function gag, because it’s been too long since we’ve seen Hugo in a good black comedy. I also hope it fares better than Hugo’s last black comedy/crime caper to debut at SXSW: The Key Man, which still hangs in a strange limbo, with legal screenings in only a far-flung handful of countries. (Screencaps taken from these streaming sites have appeared several places online, including a group of what could rival Bedrooms & Hallways among Hugo Weaving films for most freeze-frames per scene should the film ever be widely released:
Hugo Weaving and Brian Cox in They Key Man Photo: zakharvlad1 via Flickr (one of 14 screencaps of this scene) No idea what sort of relationship these characters have. 😉
You can read a little more about The Mule as well as the other Australian films screening at SXSW at BlouInArtInfo.
Strangerland Begins Filming Next Month
We finally have some concrete news on Hugo’s next project to shoot: the crime drama/psychological thriller Strangerland, costarring Nicole Kidman and Guy Pearce. According to two articles in The Canowindra News and associated papers, some scenes will be filmed next month in Canowindra, NSW next month. A second article notes that extras (including “teenage dirt bike riders” and young boys) are being sought for the location filming, and that other scenes will be shot in “far western NSW, Sydney and the central west, with at least some scenes to be shot in Canowindra’s main street, Gaskill Street.” According to Fairfax Media’s synopsis, “The mystery drama centres around a couple whose lives unravel after their two teenage children go missing in a dust storm.” Kim Farrant will direct from a screenplay by Fiona Seres and Michael Kinirons. No specifics on roles have been officially announced yet, but Nicole Kidman and Guy Pearce probably play the couple in question. An earlier incarnation of the cast featured Hugo as a police investigator, but this may have changed.
Hugo Takes Part In Light The Dark Sydney
Hugo Weaving’s most recent public appearance was an informal one, at Light The Dark Sydney. The Light the Dark vigils were held across Australia on 23 February to protest the slaying of asylum seeker Reza Barati while he was held in custody by Australian immigration last August, and raise awareness about the treatment of refugees who attempt to enter Australia. (You can read more about the issue and the event at NineMSN, The Guardian and Buzzfeed.)
Hugo Weaving and Katrina Greenwood at Light The Dark Photo: Susan Darling via Twitter/Instagram
Hug Weaving with Harry Greenwood (center) at Light The Dark Sydney Photo: Adam Marsters via Twitter/Instagram
In Other Hugo Weaving News
Hugo Weaving and David Wenham’s less-heralded recent short film, “No Budget” (directed by Christopher Stollery) will screen at several locations in Australia as part of Flickerfest between now and May. For more details, go to Film Ink or the Flickerfest website.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert costume designer Tim Chappel was interviewed by ABC as a selection of Oscar-winning original costumes (including Mitzi del Bra’s infamous Thong Dress) from the 1994 classic go on display at the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) collection in Canberra. ” ‘There was blood, I have to admit there was blood,’ Mr Chappel said….’But they looked great!’ “
I don’t want to give the pathetic Star Wars rumormongering any more publicity, but do feel a need to challenge how the bulk of entertainment media websites have covered the recent news that Adam Driver appears to have clinched the villain role in the forthcoming trilogy. Though the Hollywood Reporter posted some unfounded (and since proven false) rumors that Hugo Weaving was in contention for the role, he never actually was, never met with JJ Abrams or “auditioned” and, indeed, never knew about the rumors in the first place until asked at last month’s Berlinale. (See video below.) Variety broke the Driver story and reprinted THR’s vague assertions that Hugo and Michael Fassbender might have also been “under consideration” for the role. Everyone else is now ludicrously spinning this gossip as
Driver “beating out” Weaving and Fassbender. In fact, we KNOW Hugo was never interested, and Fassbender likely never was either. JJ Abrams has said most of the casting rumors about the film are “hot air”, and he’s never mentioned Weaving or Fassbender. I suspect the rumors were started either by Disney, in an attempt to gin up publicity for the film, or by various Hollywood agents trying to get their clients in the running. Or, possibly, they were conjured out of thin air by fanboys who work at media websites who want these actors to keep being typecast for the rest of their lives. But it’s likely Abrams always sought to cast up-and-coming younger actors to play new characters in Star Wars VII. And I hope this is the last time I have to say this: Hugo Weaving never WANTED to be in this film, theredore he wasn’t “beaten out” by anyone else. He simply has different goals as an actor than most entertainment sites (including those in Australia, which should know better) seem to be able to comprehend. And anyone who actually fact-checked the story knows Hugo Weaving would be filming Strangerland and then starring in Macbeth at the time Star Wars VII is supposed to go before the cameras.
SuperPopAccess via YouTube
The Cult Magazine Hugo Weaving Interview/Cover Story
Finally (and, with apologies, very belatedly) here are my scans of Hugo Weaving’s amazing interview for Cult Magazine which was originally published (in print format only) last November in advance of Waiting For Godot’s STC run. Hugo discusses the challenges of playing Vladimir in Beckett’s play (alongside Richard Roxburgh) and drops a few hints about next year’s production of Macbeth (tickets still available here– but going fast!) and how Godot played into his own existential crises. It’s an insightful, often endearing interview. In addition, the piece features several of Michelle Aboud’s striking promotional images for STC’s Macbeth, including one I hadn’t seen before.
NOTE: To view full-size scans, right click images, then click “open in a new tab/window”, then magnify as desired
Off-Topic Asides (aka Friends Of Hugo News)
Congratulations to Cate Blanchett on her well-deserved Oscar win, which followed every other major Best Actress prize on the Hollywood awards circuit this year. Blanchett’s acceptance speech emphasized the importance of the Sydney Theatre Company in her career.
Also, I recently was lucky enough to see Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in No Man’s Land, after having seen their take on Waiting For Godot last fall. This time around I was lucky enough to get autographs from the full cast after the show… the four actors (including Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley) were kind enough to sign for dozens of fans who waited outside the stage door after the matinee on March 1. If they do this after every performance, I’d worry about them getting carpal tunnel (also, it was bitterly cold that afternoon.) You can see my boyfriend John’s pictures of the signing here. Ideally US fans will be able to compare this Godot to STC’s sometime next year… our Sydney Correspondent Yvette asked Richard Roxburgh (during an online Rake-promotional Twitter feed) if a 2015 US or international tour was still possible, and he replied that there were “Some mutterings about various foreign ports currently.”… which means, roughly, that he can’t say anything definitive, but it might happen. 😉