Strangerland Begins Filming (Set Pics); Hedda Gabler Programme Scans; Happy Birthday Hugo!

I had a couple of little surprises I intended to post here in honor of Hugo Weaving’s birthday… unfortunately, one has been slightly delayed in shipping and will have to wait for the next entry, but fortunately one did arrive in the nick of time. (It’s a long-sought copy of the programme for the original 2004 Sydney production of STC’s Hedda Gabler; scans will be embedded below). Fortunately there’s also a big bunch of new pics from the Strangerland set to make up the difference.

Strangerland Begins Filming In Sydney

Due to the celebrity wattage of costar Nicole Kidman, Hugo’s current project has attracted more attention than most of his Australian indie films tend to. This is a bit of mixed blessing, however, as most of the attention seems to be fixated on Kidman dyeing her hair brown for the role rather than on the content of the film. (A lot of celebrity-spotting sites seem laughably unaware that actors do tend to change their appearances for roles. and that this isn’t motivated to win fan approval or “try out a new look”. Kidman is portraying an ordinary housewife whose children have just disappeared, not walking the red carpet or primping in shoe ads.) Fortunately none of the set photos include any plot spoilers, and the actors seem to have charmed the locals with periodic posing for fan photos. (Kidman in particular has posed for several fan photos; several of these were posted in The Daily Telegraph.)

Some of these photos do fall into a grey area in that they were taken surreptitiously, and without explicit permission. It’s hard to tell if Hugo is glating disapprovingly in some of these, or was simply caught in mid-speech to someone off camera. Most of the photos of Hugo do seem to have been taken in quick succession. I always feel conflicted about sharing such photos, so I’ll again note my apologies if anyone finds them inappropriate. I hope that once the novelty of having famous actors in the area wears off, people will only take pictures with permission.   The best of the Hugo photos was taken by a fan rather than a paparazzo. I’ll share that one above the cut, the rest below.

Photo: Jessicalea17 via Instagram

Photo: (plus next 11) INF Photo/JustJared

Nicole Kidman with Hugo Weaving

Yes, I realize some of these photos are nearly identical, but decided to err on the side of completeness. 😉 Also, I initially suspected Hugo was recycling his “wardrobe” from Healing… but this uniform is slightly different. Very slightly.

You can read more about the start of Strangerland filming at FilmInk, The Daily Telegraph, Cowra Guardian, (There’s a second article from this paper here, about local extras… and a third here), Studio System News, WA Today, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Sydney Morning Herald, Yahoo Movies, Radio Times, The Australian, ABC and SBS. Most of these reports simply repeat a press release from the production company (Transmission Films) and none contain spoilers. Nicole Kidman is briefly quoted on what drew her to the project: “”I am always looking for the right script to bring me home to Australia.  The moment I read Strangerland I knew this was a film I couldn’t say no to. I’m looking forward to working on a film in Australia and I’m very excited to be working with Joseph Fiennes and Hugo Weaving.”

As the set pics demonstrate, Hugo Weaving is in fact playing “the cop who leads the investigation” as most reports have suggested from the beginning (sorry, Moviehole) while Joseph Fiennes plays Kidman’s husband. Inside Films provides the detail that Hugo’s character has a romance plot (or, perhaps, sordid-entanglement plot) with “an Indigenous woman” portrayed by Lisa Flanagan. Screen Daily has some intel on the film’s international financing, which involves US and Irish backers as well as Australian.

Hedda Gabler Programme Scans

As some of you know, I’ve been collecting theatre programmes/Playbills from Hugo Weaving’s theatrical career for over ten years now; the full lot has been scanned as posted in chronological order at my Flickr Archive. This week I added a new set of scans from a new acquisition, the programme from the original 2004 Wharf Theatre production of Hedda Gabler, which also starred Cate Blanchett, Aden Young and Justine Clarke. I’ll post the new scans here under a cut. I also have the 2006 Brooklyn Academy of Music program, which is different and, alas, represents the only time STC sold programs for a US touring production. (The Sydney productions continue to inspire some of the most magnificent theatre programmes I’ve seen; Sydney Correspondent Yvette was kind enough to send me a copy of the most recent one, for the Hugo Weaving/Richard Roxburgh Waiting For Godot, last Christmas.)



The next Sydney Theatre Company production to cross the pond will be Jean Genet’s The Maids, starring Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert. I do have tickets for that… no word yet on whether the rumored international tour of the Weaving/Roxburgh Godot will happen, but obviously I’ll post news as soon as I know anything.

In Other Hugo Weaving News

Margaret Pomeranz wrote a flattering review of Healing for The Medical Observer. (I did add that to the previous entry, but here’s the link in case anyone missed it.) The film opens 8 May in Australia with a preview screening in Melbourne on 30 April.

The latest DVD/Blu-Ray review for Tim Winton’s The Turning is available at Film Freak Reviews…  Madman Films posted a tease of the lavish extras in this “Directors on Locations” featurette, featuring a few of the directors and Hugo discussing location filming.

The latest competitions to win copies of the film are open at Madman NZ and The Turning’s Facebook page (the latter including a Hugo Weaving-autographed copy of the DVD along with Tim Winton’s book). Some national restrictions may apply.

The Hobbit: There And Back Again was briefly previewed for the crowds at CinemaCon in Las Vegas last week; alas, Peter Jackson’s video hasn’t appeared online in any form, but you can read breathless descriptions of its content (including ” gold-clad Elrond (Hugo Weaving) drawing his sword and charging”) at HitFix,, and The New York Daily News recently re-posted their 2012 interview with Hugo about playing Elrond. And I recently found five great pics of Hugo at the 2012 Wellington premiere of An Unexpected Journey in Bernard Golder’s Flickr account.

Another mostly-positive review for The Mule’s SXSW screening (noting Hugo weaving’s “devilishly delightful turn as a corrupt cop “) can be read at Next Projection.

And, in case anyone missed it or wants to see it again, here’s the link to Cambodian Childrens’ Trust’s charity appeal video, featuring Hugo Weaving’s narration.

Hope everyone out there has a happy Hugo Weaving’s Birthday… though it’s likely the man himself will be more focused on his current film than on showy celebration. 😉


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