Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Mule’s Trailer Finally Drops (sorry…); Hugo Weaving to Attend Promotional Screenings

Only about a month before its official wide-release in the US and Australia (mainly through home release formats… more on that shortly), we’re finally getting a look at The Mule’s official trailer. NineMSN’s Movie Fix got the “exclusive” bragging rights, though nothing is ever exclusive on the internet for more than 30 seconds or so. I’m going to try a straight embed here and hope it works, because the video won’t stream on all browsers at the site of origin…  Google Chrome and Firefox in particular have issues, though it will play via IE and RealPlayer.

I do have to say I’m relieved, and that it’s very hard not making juvenile puns involving the words “release”, “streaming” and “relief” with the content on hand… I doubt many media sites will be able to resist the obvious jokes either. Fortunately the film doesn’t look least-common-denominator at all, and the quease-making plot elements seem to be dealt with in a sly, more subtle manner than might be expected. I have no doubt the film will be more graphic in places, but I’ve always thought any film more effectively ratchets up the tension by showing less and implying more. (Nicely creepy sound effects, by the way.) One can already tell Hugo Weaving’s character will be a lot of fun to watch… I hope he isn’t the sort of cartoon-villain-who’ll-get-a-messy-and/or-humiliating-comeuppance that we’ve seen in The Tender Hook, Reckless Kelly or any of Hugo’s American films. I suspect that’s exactly what we’ll get, but one can still hope. 😉 But the film looks like it balances comedic and tense elements effectively and without being too broad. Not crazy about the cut-and-paste poster or the snarky use of Hugo in it (that’s very least-common-denominator) but marketing is often like that… even some great dramatic films have lousy posters. I’ll embed it below anyhow, so people can decide for themselves, followed by a selection of screencaps I took of Hugo’s best moments in the trailer. Already finding the balloon bit a highlight and expect Tumblr to be awash in animated GIFs of that shortly. 😉


No, this is NOT what it looks like. If  find out anyone has used these to illustrate slashfic… ;P

“I swear, all of these poo jokes are driving me to drink!”

As I mentioned earlier, The Mule’s makers and distributors have elected to focus on an immediate VOD release (including iTunes, not that that’s how I’ll be seeing it) with DVD/Blu-Ray to follow shortly thereafter. The film will likely be available for paid on-demand streaming via US cable a well. There will be cinema screenings in Sydney and Melbourne featuring Hugo Weaving with Leigh Whannell and Angus Samson (the co-writers, co-stars and in Sampson’s case co-director). Hugo has been very enthusiastic about the film (without giving away too much about it) in promoting his other work, and did a prominent photo session in a Mule t-shirt last fall. So it’ll be fun to see him participate in the promotion. No word yet on any US or other international cinema distribution… the filmmakers have been pretty blunt about not wanting to take the risk of a wide opening that loses money, which seems to be the fate of too many promising Australian films lately, even in their home country. US distributors have similarly resigned themselves to releasing most low-budget indie or foreign films direct to DVD/VOD/OnDemand. While this does make the films much more widely available than any arthouse release– and I think simultaneous releases across countries and formats is a great idea– I always want the option of seeing films in a cinema. I know not everyone would want to see someone in intestinal distress– and the attendant consequences of that distress- blown up on an IMAX screen, but this would be a great film to see in a crowded theatre, if only to hear the reactions of one’s fellow patrons. It might be a potential midnight movie option, though I sometimes get annoyed with the “stoner” reputation such films draw. (For the record, I saw 2001, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Big Lebowski and the complete oeuvre of David Lynch without needing any alcohol or other mind-altering substances, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. GOOD movies don’t need chemical assistance. Only bad ones.) 😉

Anyhow… you can read more details about The Mule’s projected distribution at Inside Film, Spotlight Report, Cinema Australia and The Sydney Morning Herald. Of course, the film’s Facebook and Twitter accounts remain your best sources. (They also have an Instagram account, which shared hilariously unrevealing images during the film’s production.) No official website yet, but they’ll probably have one up soon. I sort of like the delayed-gratification of waiting this long for the trailer, and knowing I’ll have the option of seeing the film before every single plot detail has been divulged by reviewers or online in every country that got distribution before mine did. Australians routinely complain about having to wait a month or more for prominent Hollywood films (like The Hobbit)… well, I hated waiting two years to see Last Ride and another year after THAT for it to get minuscule US distribution. Films should be available to anyone willing to pay to see them, anywhere. That’ll cut down on piracy and increase the bottom line. ideally, one should be able to see films in a cinema, but I know in this era where Marvel, Disney and supernatural tween romance films seem to have most American screens locked up, this is a tall order. [Insert shameless plug for supporting one’s local arthouse, college theater, library and whoever the hell else plays films the MallPlexes shun.] The Mule opens/begins explosive streaming (sorry again) 21 November in Australia with those special Q&A’s in Sydney and Melbourne beforehand… I’ll share specifics as soon as I know any. The Australian DVD follows in early December. The US release (probably mostly via streaming) is slated for 30 October.

You can read reviews of The Mule’s recent Fantasy Film Fest screenings (some in German) at, and BFI’s Festival page. The Mule screens at BFI next month, along with Tim Winton’s The Turning… though not at the same time. (Wouldn’t that be a double feature…) Tickets are still available for both films.

In Other Hugo Weaving News:

There’s an interview with Mystery Road‘s production designer Matt Putland at Junsui Films Limited. Yes, there was actually one aspect of that film’s production NOT undertaken by multihyphenate wonder Ivan Sen. 😉

Campaign Brief explores the Sydney Theatre Co’s marketing campaign and promotional brochure for their 2015 season, which will feature Hugo Weaving in Beckett’s Endgame, Roxburgh and Blanchett in Chekhov’s The Present (Platonov) and Geoffrey Rush as King Lear.  STC themselves have added a few new and vintage articles to their Endgame page.

Harry Greenwood adds another impressive credit to his resume by appearing as the Gentleman Caller in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie at Bevoir this month. The production features Hugo Weaving’s frequent costar Pamela Rabe (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Much Ado About Nothing, God of Carnage) as Amanda and Luke Mullins (who’s had a career-breakthrough year on Sydney stage over the past year, including in STC’s Waiting For Godot) as Tom. For more, including Rabe’s impression on meeting Williams as a young actress, go to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Things have been pretty quiet on the Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies front since the release of their promo banner earlier this month. Stephen Fry (The Master of Laketown) noted that VO work/dubbing is ongoing on Twitter last week.

Archive Additions:

I’ve added a promotional brochure for Mystery Road (front/back, centerspread) over at Flickr, and a lovely promo postcard for the Australian release of Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus.

New Photobucket Hugonuts Archive Additions:

Nicholas Harding’s Drawing Godot, May 2014
The Wolfman, 2 February 2010 Moscow Premiere
The Wolfman,  9 February 2010 LA Premiere
The Mule Stills, Caps and Posters

Finally, a selection of new fan photos taken during the run of STC’s Macbeth, complete with original captions:

“#HugoWeaving ” Photo: JakeTGNTEL via Twitter, along with next photo)

“The man himself!!! Wow! #stc #macbeth #hugoweaving” Photo: Daniel Yaxley via Instagram

“I’ve never seen this girl so excited. just gave her the best bridesmaid gift ever. #hugoweaving #starstruck #speechless” Photo: mel_erin via Instagram

“nice to see u again#hugoweaving #macbeth see u next year:)if there is any possibility I will definitely go there to see u and Rox~love #waitingforgodot soooo much~”
Photo: Joyce Ruan via Instagram

“No words could describe my ecstasy right now. Thank you for the confirmation!!! See you next June! #holidaymode #HugoWeaving #Macbeth”
Photo: Our very own Sydney correspondent Yvette, via Instagram

Waiting For Godot to be Reprised in London, Hugo Weaving in Talks To Star In Bird Eclipse

STC’s Waiting for Godot To Be Staged In London At Barbican

Have been meaning to update for awhile, but was waiting for official confirmation on one item; also have the usual Life Complications to juggle. But I have updated the Hugponuts Hugo Weaving Photo Archive and added new scans at Flickr, and will add more shortly.

Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh in the November 2013 Sydney production    Photo: Lisa Tomasetti

Our Sydney correspondent Yvette has been hinting for some time that Sydney Theatre Co’s Waiting For Godot, starring Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh, might tour next year, possibly in multiple locations. She received this intel directly from the actors, and Hugo himself confirmed a London engagement for next year… but Yvette also asked me to keep quiet about this for obvious reasons until STC officially announced it. that engagement at London’s famed Barbican, is now officially confirmed for next June (June 4-13 to be exact.) Rather frustratingly, tickets went on sale to the venue’s members immediately once the announcement was made, and will be exclusive to those members until September 22, when tickets are made available to the general public. This lack of lag time between announcement and ticket sales flustered many fans who live outside London, as travel logistics often take a lot of time and expense. (Kennedy Center and Brooklyn Academy of Music usually leave a generous gap between schedule announcements and sales, though they also engage in annoying elitist “membership” gouging… though I’ve humored them to get good seats.) Given the attention and enthusiasm the announcement has generated online, a membership might not be a bad idea if you’re already thinking of springing for prime seats. Barbican’s ticket prices are actually quite reasonable, so it’s not as much of a hardship as some high-end New York venues.  I’m also impressed that front-row seats– which tend to balance desired proximity with a somewhat obstructed view in many venues– are discounted at the Barbican compared to their highest-priced seats. Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center charge top dollar for these, and KenCen’s stage is high enough that the stage and actors are partly blocked to your side of the stage.

Anyhow, here are more specifics: the full Sydney cast, which also includes Philip Quast and Luke Mullins, will be reprising their roles in London. The production is part of the Barbican’s International Beckett Season. You can buy tickets (and memberships, if you want to hedge your bets and get seats right away) directly from the Barbican.  Alas, there is no word of any additional international tour for the play, and dates in Dublin had to be canceled to the actors’ complicated schedules. Also no word of filming or simulcasting the London production. London is probably out of the cards for me, much as I’d love to go there for any reason… air fares have quadrupled in the past five years. Airfare alone would probably cost close to $1,000 and London hotels have NEVER been cheap. But I don think this venue is deal for the production, and understand why the STC and actors gave it priority, particularly with the unique Becket Fest opportunity. I just hope there’s a US or even Canadian engagement at some point. I’m willing to wait as long as it takes. (Only a last-minute passport and accommodations issues prevented me from seeing Hugo’s films Mystery Road and Cloud Atlas. And STC has never taken a production to Toronto…) As far as US venues go, BAM would be most ideal of the venues STC has gone to previously, as their space is more intimate and they already have the “ancient decayed theatre” thing going already. 😉 But I know Hugo’s London fans have been owed the opportunity to see him onstage for some time (he was replaced by John Hannah in 2008’s reprisal of Riflemind, the only STC play he’d starred in to transfer to London.) There was also early gossip about taking the production to Boston, Washington or even China… absolutely no mention of any additional locations in the current report, and Hugo already has a busy year coming up. He’ll star in Endgame just before taking Godot to London, and will possibly film Bird Eclipse for Anand Gandhi (more on that later) early in the year. Also, there might be promotional responsibilities for Strangerland, and he has another film with Glendyn Ivin penciled in, though not yet green-lighted.

STC posted about the London engagement of Waiting for Godot in their online magazine, where they shared a brand new trailer (which, strangely, never appeared for the Sydney engagement last year.) It’s great, giving you an indication of the feel of the play without too much plot or dialogue explication:

You can also read about Godot’s tour plans (and sample great photos and review quotes from the Sydney production) at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun, The Australian, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Official London Theatre,, and Stage Whispers. You can view a full gallery of Lisa Tomasetti’s Sydney Godot photos over at the Hugonuts Photo Archive.

Bird Eclipse

Though several Indian online papers actually broke this story (and I repeated it here) Screen Daily is claiming an “exclusive” on news that Hugo Weaving is indeed in talks to appear in director Anand Gandhi’s next film. This report did add a few new details, such as that the film’s prospective title is Bird Eclipse, and will costar Ship of Theseus star  Sohum Shah. Here are some plot and character details:

“Spanning three decades post World War II, Bird Eclipse follows the illegitimate son of a feudal family who is searching for treasure hidden under a dilapidated mansion guarded by a fallen god.

Weaving is being lined up to play the role of a dubious poppy-trading South African, who follows his friend to the house and is afflicted by a curse that makes him a sleeping immortal.

Gandhi met Weaving at the Sydney Film Festival in 2013 and the actor later presented the Australian theatrical release of Ship Of Theseus. They discussed working on a project together, which looks likely to be Bird Eclipse.”

Yes, this does sound vaguely similar to Cloud Atlas, but Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus was about a blind photographer… and was absolutely nothing like Hugo’s 1991 film Proof, though both should definitely be seen by Weaving fans and film fans in general. Also hope Gandhi’s able to give more dimension to Hugo’s “dubious” character than the Wachowskis gave his range of essentially one-note (if entertaning) villains in Cloud Atlas.  Bird Eclipse secured some international funding at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (where Hugo’s film Strangerland was also shopped, though not officially screened.) Rediff adds that Bird Eclipse is “expected to roll early next year and could be one of the high profile entries at next year’s TIFF. It may could cost $10 million.” No specifics on where the film will be shot, or in what language, though wouldn’t it be intruguing to see Hugo act in another language?

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

Though we’re still awaiting an official trailer for the final installment in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy (a teaser came out in July, bereft of any new Elrond footage), Warner Bros has released a new promo banner for The Battle of Five Armies, including confirmation that The White Council do indeed figure in the rescue of Gandalf from Dol Guldur.

WordPress readers: right-click, then click “open in a new tab” for full-sized version

IMO this gives away a few too many plot points, and [spoiler] character demise hints away, but it is beautifully rendered. Some fans are reading wayyyy too much into Gandalf and Galdriel’s positioning. There are no other new images of Elrond, but there have been some film stills released featuring Lee Pace (Thranduil), Luke Evans (Bard), Richard Armitage (Thorin) and others; you can view these at Moviepilot, The Heirs of Durin ( a comprehensive Thorin Oaknshield/Richard Armitage fansite), and, of course, The Expanded Edition DVD/Blu-Ray for The Desolation nof Smaug will be released November 4, with 25 extra minutes of footage… I’m waiting for theatrical releases of the first two films in advance of the third’s opening. They did that for Lord of the Rings. 😉 Battle of Five Armies will be released December 17.

Also, for those not spoiler-averse, there’s an amusing tidbit at TORN (quoting, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicle, Cloak & Daggers in the Cartography, a TDOS tie-in volume) includng hints over which Dwarves might survive– or not survive– the titular battle.  Spoiler alert: Bombur DOES eventually get too fat to walk. 😉 And Anna Maskrey has concept drawings for her Hobbit costume designs at her website. Even a few from BOFA, though no Elrond yet.

In Other Hugo Weaving News

The Facebook page for Hugo’s film Healing recently featured some photos of the real-life prison rehab sites that inspired the film. Healing continues to screen at international festivals and second-run venues in Australia. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for updates as they come in.

Manny Gets Censored– featuring Hugo’s narration– recently screened at the DC Shorts film festival (ongoing through September 21). You can watch the full selection of DC Shorts films online for $35 ($15 in DC area) but since they have an archive where you can stream all past years’ selections FREE, you might feel inclined to be patient. The online reviews of Many Gets Censored are mixed; Washington City Paper suggested it never gets past its one-joke premise, though BrightestYoungThings calls it “A highlight… A clever idea that gets sappy but not heavy handed. The editing is what makes this 8 minute romantic comedy stand out. I want to see more from these actors, the writer, editor and director. It kicks off Show 4 and you’ll remember it 7 shorts later.” I do want to see for myself (and would listen to Hugo read the phone book) but $35 for a 14-minute film seems steep.

Strangerland, costarring Nicole Kidman and Joseph fiennes, appears in Screen Australia’s TIFF brochure as a film in post-production, to rouse interest in international distribution.

The Mule has its next showcase at the BFI London Film Festival October 9, 12 and 18. It received largely positive notices during its recent run at Berlin’s Fantasy Film Fest, including these positive review from Film Futter and MellowDramatix. Healing and The Mule (how’s that for range?) are both eligible for Best Picture at the 2015 ACTAA Awards, according to Inside Film.

The most recent previews for the US release of Mystery Road ( encouragingly suggest that the film’s running time is the full 121 minutes rather than the severely-edited “95 minutes” noted in other early reports. The film is out on DVD/streaming in the US October 14; no word yet on where/whether any theatrical release will happen. The UK theatrical release continues to receive positive notices, including well-written reviews at Magic Rat, Global Film Studies.

Macbeth continues to draw sell-out crowds and positive reviews. The latest: A Tennessee Girl In Oz. Alice Babidge, who designed Macbeth’s costumes and production, gets the loving retrospective treatment from STC’s Magazine. (She also designed The Maids, starring Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert, which was reprised in New York this summer.)

Archive Updates

New galleries at Hugonuts Photo Archive:

The Turning MIFF Premiere
The Turning Stills, Caps & Promos
The Turning Behind The Scenes
The Turning Sydney Premiere
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Wellington Premiere
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Stills and Caps
The Hobbit Behind The Scenes
Cloud Atlas Beijing Premiere
STC 2015 Season Announcement (including full set of James Croucher pics, see below)
Healing Stills Caps & Promos
Healing Behind The Scenes
2013 Waiting For Godot Production Photos
Waiting For Godot Fan Photos
Hugo Attends Performance of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (2013)
Endgame Promotional Images

L to R: Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Andrew Upton, Susie Porter, Jacqueline Mackenzie, 4 September  Photo: James Croucher/The Australian/Newspix

Our Sydney correspondent Yvette has sent in some lovely newspaper clippings detailing the STC 2015 Season Announcement, which I’ve scaned for the Flickr Archive:

Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum (Geoffrey Rush cover, page 1, page 2) Includes a promo photo of Hugo’s Endgame
Sydney Morning Herald STC Preview
The Australian STC Preview

More on the 2015 STC Season, The Mule Gets Festival Screenings, The Key Man Finally Gets US Release

New articles and images continue to appear in the wake of Sydney Theatre Company’s announcement of what might be its most ambitious season yet for 2 Possibly the most appealing is a new set of photos by James Croucher for The Australian, one of which was posted/published with an article about the announcement. STC artistic director Andrew Upton posed with Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Susie Porter ans Jacqueline Mckenzie for a series of delightful images. You can see the full set at Newspix (and I’ll share cleaned version to the Hugonuts PhotoBucket Archive and on Twitter as I find time). The print version of the Australian piece follows the first couple.

L to R: Cate Blanchette, Hugo Weaving, Andrew Upton, Susie Porter and Jacqueline Mckenzie  Photo: James Croucher/The Australian/Newspix.

Photo: James Croucher/The Australian/Newspix

(WordPress viewers: To see enlarged images/scans, right-click, then click on “view in a new tab” )

The most attention-getting play in a chock-full forthcoming season has so far been Geoffrey Rush’s return to STC after a 2-decade absence to play King Lear. (He’s been more active at Belvoir– and gone to NYC twice with their productions.) His nude cover story in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum hasn’t hurt either. (Online version of the interview here.) 😉  Cate Blanchett’s reteaming with Richard Roxburgh for another go-round of Chekhov in The Present has also naturally drawn its share of enthusiasm and curiosity, though a few pretensions whingers have opined that the play is “inferior Chekhov”.  Honestly, after the spectacular results this creative team got with Uncle Vanya– possibly the finest night of theatre I’ve experienced, which is saying one helluva lot– I’d be up for watching them interpret Chekhov’s accounting notebooks. 😉

There have also been complaints to the effect that STC is repeating itself with successive productions of Beckett, Chekhov and Shakespeare– which seems small-minded to me. Endgame is rarely mounted– at least in the US, over the past 20 years– and Andrew Upton is radically reworking the Chekhov play to create The Present, so in a way it should be a wholly new experience. While I’d understand the complaints if they repeated tired productions of the SAME play year after year– the way the Met has with operas in fallow years– I love the notion of a single actor exploring the great playwrights bodies of work, both connecting one play to another and finding the contrasts.  This is usually accepted with Shakespeare’s work (some actors and theatre groups have focused exclusively on the Bard, to great effect) so why not explore the concept elsewhere. Why should plays be mounted JUST because they’re obscure, Australian or popular with a specific audience demographic (to note three of the most common complaints)?  The STC isn’t perfect, and can be guilty of elitism in that they seem to be offended when people ask them to film plays (or have more captioned performances), but they mount a broad spectrum of works every year, including many I’m not personally familiar with, many that are Australian, and that are work by up and coming playwrights. I can’t name a local American company that’s producing a season that combines artistic vigor with populism to the success STC has in its current line-up: most companies are too fixated on pleasing either a tiny, pointy-headed critical elite (especially in New York) or what they perceive to be “The Masses” (typically demonstrated by programming multiple door-slamming farces and jukebox musicals). The most infuriating criticism has been over the casting of “famous actors”, as if appearing in Hollywood productions or winning Oscars has somehow sullied the purity of Blanchett, Weaving and Rush. All three started out as theatre actors and all three have continually returned to the theatre throughout their careers because they believe doing so improves their acting in a general sense. This isn’t a case of casting has-been soap actors in the latest revival of Grease to boost ticket sales– this is the forum where these actors became great in the first place, and often still achieve their most breathtaking results.

I bring this up to greater explain some comments on Twitter, which were misinterpreted. I was in a rush yesterday morning and made a poorly-worded joke which could have been implied to support the very kind of elitism I’m railing against here, and I regret that. I’d read a bunch of annoying elitist pieces by Australia’s equivalent of New Yorker critics (ie effete snobs) on the one hand, and a FilmInk piece suggesting Australian movies AND plays should be more local and box- office driven. I’m heartily grateful STC is ignoring BOTH kinds of thinking. I do think theatre should be challenging, intelligent and adventurous, but I don’t think it should be exclusive. Filming and simulcasting would be one way of making productions less exclusive, and could raise revenue and give STC (and theatre in general) a more populist image. Yes, the ephemerality of sitting in a crowded theatre on a given night and experiencing a distinct performance is thrilling, and I will continue to patronize any production STC elects to tour if it’s financially possible. But I can’t fly to Australia for each of Hugo or Cate’s plays– I wish I could, but most people simply can’t afford to. Even in Australia, many can’t afford tickets or get tickets to sold-out plays. I know I sound like a broken record on this subject, but I won’t quit until something is done. It gets on my nerve to see Hugo Weaving lead exactly the sort of career I’ve wanted him to lead but have to deal with the existential despair of knowing that I may never see some of his greatest work. I have always said I’d rather he star in productions I CAN’T see than in productions I WON’T see… and that’s still true. But the thought of missing his Macbeth, Valmont or Hamm does bring on a certain existential despair.

Anyhow, back to the News Content… and again, I’m sorry if my poorly-thought-out tweets upset anyone.

You can read more about the 2015 STC season (and differing opinions about what their most “highly-anticipated” production will be) at Manuscript Daily, Limelight, The Age, ABC Arts,  and Time Out Sydney. Sydney Theatre Company also posted a retrospective of Geoffrey Rush’s work for them; the piece doesn’t mention his teaming with Hugo Weaving in The Alchemist (which was for Belvoir–then known as Nimrod) but demonstrates how they’ve both played several of the same classic roles over the years… and it mentions Rush’s tenure as Hugo Weaving’s clowning instructor at NIDA, which Hugo humorously discussed in this 2009 radio interview. (“It was terrifying… I vaguely remember bursting into the room [for my improv exercise] and no one laughed. I remember crawling around on my hands and knees being a tortoise or something, and I remember seeing Geoffrey shaking his head and throwing a phone book at me…”) And STC posted a selection of 2015 Announcement Event pics to their Facebook page. While Hugo did pose for the publicity images I mentioned at the beginning of the post, he wasn’t at the live event, either because he was busy with Macbeth, or because he wanted to share attention with the other actors on hand– Rush and Blanchett were there, and are included in the photo set.   But you can see him in the photo below:

Andrew Upton discusses the 2015 production of Endgame, starring Hugo Weaving  Photo: STC Facebook

The Mule Festival Screenings

Hugo’s next film to be released– the crime comedy The Mule– is currently being showcased (and receiving a generally positive response, though no full-length reviews yet) at Fantasy Film Fest in Berlin and other German cities. Its next major showcase will be the BFI London Film Festival on October 9, 12 and 18. To buy tickets (and view a new gallery of stills, including the ones below) go here.

The film is scheduled for general release (no pun intended) in Australia on 30 October and in the US sometime this fall, with other countries’ opening dates TBD. It has already had successful engagements at SXSW and The New Zealand International Film Festival.

The Key Man To Finally Be Released On DVD

Jokingly referred to as Hugo Weaving’s “lost film” by Hugo’s longterm fans (who read about its 2006 filming in North Carolina, handful of SXSW screenings in 2011 and subsequent disappearance without a trace (except for a brief release–mostly via streaming– to a handful of obscure markets, mostly in Eastern Europe and North Africa), The Key Man has finally secured DVD rights in the US. Deadline and Screen Daily shared the news that Screen Media recently acquired the US distribution rights to the black comedy (costarring Jack Davenport, Judy Greer and Brian Cox) and  “…will distribute the film on iTunes and across all VOD platforms and DVD in the first quarter of 2015.” So while I don’t begrudge those lucky audiences who’ve been able to see the film up to this point, I am mightily relieved it’s finally going to be legally available to a wide audience, and on a permanent home-viewing format. For the record, I was often tempted to view bootleg copies advertised online, but in the end never gave in, fearing viruses and wanting to see the film as it was meant to be seen, at proper resolution. (I also think independent films face enough challenges without the threat of piracy cutting into their often-already-limited revenues.)  So it’s nice to see good behavior rewarded. 😉 I’m not expecting brilliance from this film, but hope it features some wry comic turns and appealing nastiness from character actors who cvan have fun with it. Plus, honestly, how can any film with THIS scene be entirely bad? 😉

Hugo Weaving and Brian Cox in The Key Man  Screencap: Zakharvlad1 via Flickr

Mystery Road UK Release

Hugo’s 2013 film (and festival favorite) is slated to appear on US and British DVD in weeks to come (via Well Go USA and Axiom Film, respectively) but Axiom have given the film a decent arthouse release in Britain first, and critical response has been very positive. I’ll share a selection of brief quotes below:

Mark Kermode, The Guardian: “[A] stylish Aussie thriller that rises above pulpy cliche… Hugo Weaving is quietly threatening as Johnno, a line-crossing cop whose “good boy, Jay-boy” mantra drips with significantly canine-inflected racism, but whose true motivations remain unclear… In the end, though, this is Pedersen’s movie, and he excels as the archetypally conflicted antihero, a latterday embodiment of the historical turncoat whose troubled brow seems creased by the weight of both personal and national history.”

You can also watch Kermode discuss the film in this video review:

Kermode and Mayo via YouTube

Geoffrey MacNab, The Independent:  “Ivan Sen’s slow-burning but very powerful Aussie western is one of those films in which the main character walks as if he has a ball and chain attached to his feet… [W]here Mystery Road registers most strongly is in its brooding and oppressive mood… Shooting in widescreen, Sen makes excellent use of his remote locations and slowly cranks up the tension before throwing in a strangely ritualised final reel shootout.”

George Byrne, The Irish Independent: “[A] complex thriller that offers several interesting takes on contemporary Australia… the closing shot is worth the price of admission alone… Aaron Pendersen is thoroughly believable as the conflicted Jay and the blasted landscape is photographed so well you’ll be sweating and swatting the flies away from your own face after 10 mins.”

Anton Bitel, Little White Lies: “This sand-blasted Aussie murder mystery tinkers with genre convention while managing to remain sincere and thrilling… This does not just show off to good effect the wide open spaces of Australia’s dusty outback, but also gives visual form to the immense, perhaps unbridgeable divide that exists between the rock and the hard place of Australia’s ongoing culture wars… Yet while it may look like a genre film, and feel like a genre film, Mystery Road is also entirely of a piece with Sen’s earlier Beneath Clouds and Toomelah in its thematic preoccupation with indigenous issues, colonial injustice and uprooted identity.”

Alexa Dalby, Dog and Wolf: ” Huge skies, low horizons, glowing orange sunsets and a depiction of a culture and environment we rarely see in genre mystery movies make Mystery Road an unusual and thought-provoking film.”

Film Reviews and News: “Aaron Pendersen gives a superb lead performance as Jay Swan and the movie’s graced with some impressive characters that make it complete – Jack Charles, the community elder with a knowing wink and a nod, veteran Jack Thompson as Mr Charlie Murray holding a clue to Mystery Road, Sergeant Tony Barry, Jay’s commanding officer and Hugo Weaving who plays Johnno, a fellow cop who maybe on the wrong side in this web of lies and deceit… A powerful, intelligent and masterful modern-day take on the Western genre, with strong social and political commentary. A great watch.”

lgileskeddie: “The film’s slow-burn pace brilliantly mirrors then reflects the building frustrations of its protagonist in trying to get leads, a tedious process but one that does not deter Swan. Hence, there are some exciting dynamics at play because of Swan’s exclusion from his own community – who don’t fully trust him, especially after his absence – and the White folk who dominate the local landscape and surrounding farms. The film speaks volumes about the plight of Aborigine deprivation and the widening gap between the haves and have-nots…  5 Stars”

Tara Bradley, Irish Times: “Writer-director Ivan Sen’s compelling, award-winning police procedural is characterised by dark secrets and the relentless glare of the sun. At first glance, it’s Walkabout reworked as noir. On closer inspection Aaron Petersen’s subtle commanding performance signals that we are, in fact, watching a displaced western, replete with a wild frontier, dangerous hicks, an air of lawlessness and a charismatic hero in a hat… Hugo Weaving’s turn as a problematic copper is equally accomplished: the actor twitches with menace and charm in a way that recalls his Elrond and Agent Smith in equal measures. You’ll never guess until the final reel.”

According to Tongil Tours‘ Twiiter account, Mystery Road will screen at the Pyongyang International Film Festival later this months (dates not announced) with director Ivan Sen in attendance. Yes, THAT Pyongyang. I’d be very interested to hear how it’s received.

Archive Updates

I’ve slowly begun organizing my decades’ worth of Hugo Weaving photos at the Hugonuts Photo Archive over at Photobucket; it’s a lengthy process because I won’t public-share any photos without proper annotation (ie photographer credit, context, etc) and have often stored photos under haphazard titles at best over the years, though I’ve usually posted pics with proper contextual info here. (In the early days, I was as guilty as any hormonal newbie fan of explosive outbursts of photo reposting absent ANY context, so some of my earliest finds I’m having to track down the details for via extensive websearches.) Anyhow I’ll share links to new galleries (and Flickr Archive updates) here, and plan on storing new photos properly to begn with.  Here are the galleries ready so far:

The Key Man Stills and Caps (2006)
Peter Brew-Bevan Photo Shoot (2005) Whence cometh The Tongue Pic 😉
Mystery Road Behind The Scenes (2013)
Mystery Road Stills and Caps (2013)
STC 2014 Season Launch (2013)
Waiting For Godot Publicity Photos (2013)
Dan Himbrechts Promotional Portraits for The Turning (2013)
Daniel Boud Hugo Weaving Macbeth Portraits (2014)
Healing Promotional Pics (2014)
Rene Nowytarger Macbeth Promotional Portraits (2014)
STC 2015 Season Announcement (2014)
STC Endgame Promotional Portraits (2014)
STC Macbeth Production Photos (2014)
STC Macbeth Promotional Images (2014)
STC Macbeth Reherarsals (2014)
The Mule Stills and Caps (2014)
Tim Winton’s The Turning at Berlinale (2014)

Remember that this is very much a work in progress, and that some galleries are incomplete. I appreciate your patience.

Also, a new addition to the Flickr Article Archive: a 2002 SundayHerald Sun Hugo Weaving cover story/interview and accompanying piece on The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers from December 2002. I’ve long craved this piece for my collection (having read some scans on the now-defunct Web Weaving fansite) and am thrilled to finally be able to share this definitive interview.

Hugo Weaving To Costar With Bruce Spence in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame For STC

Sydney Theatre Company just announced their 2015 schedule, and in typical form they’ve outdone themselves, casting Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh and Geoffrey Rush in new productions of Shakespeare and Chekhov… but of particular interest to US is Hugo Weaving re-upping on Samuel Beckett (post-Waiting For Godot) in the darker quasi-sequel Endgame. This time he’ll costar with Bruce Spence rather than Roxburgh, who’ll be busy in a production of Chekhov’s The Present with Blanchett later in the season. (Exhausted yet? The only frustration is being on the wrong damn continent again, with no announcements of ANY plans to tour any of Hugo’s productions.) You can read more about Endgame on STC’s new page for the play. For the first time, Hugo will serve as associate director (and Andrew Upton will direct) in addition to starring. Sarah Peirse will also costar; the production is slated to run next 31 March through 9 May.  A lot of the same creative team from Macbeth and other STC past highlights will be returning to work behind the scenes.

At any rate, here’s new brand new 2015 season trailer, and some new publicity images of Hugo in Endgame.

Photos by James Green

Andrew Upton discussed all of the 2015 season plays with The Daily Review; here are his comments on Endgame:

“The Beckett experience is kind of unforgettable. It’s so profound, simple and difficult. Endgame has this terrible, inverse relationship to Godot. Godot is essentially a very warm human picture, but this is the darker underbelly of that. But it’s still funny.”

The new season is also covered on

Here’s the new Virtual Brochure; I’m hoping this year’s is easier to embed than last year’s. 😉

Here’s STC’s description of the play, from the website and brochure:

Just noticed that garbage can in the corner… it does play a role in the play, if I remember correctly (haven’t read it since college…) 😉

Tickets will initially be available only in season packages for existing subscribers, then for new subscribers (starting in October), with individual tickets going on sale December 1. Again, check out their 2015 Season Brochure and page for the play for more ticketing info.

Andrew Upton also spoke on his general duties as STC Artistic Director with ABC Radio.

STC live-tweeted the season announcement last night (this morning at 5.30am for me) and posted a series of photos featuring Andrew Upton… so far no indication Hugo Weaving was on hand as he has been in seasons past, but since he’s already ensconced in Macbeth at Sydney Theatre, it’s possible he did his bit for next season too… if any photos surface, I’ll of course post them. I’m sure this is just the first wave of press and publicity for what’s possibly STC’s most engrossing season yet. (Geoffrey Rush will star in King Lear on top of everything else… I’m begging you, STC, PLEASE SIMULCAST OR FILM THESE. I WOULD SEE THE WHOLE SEASON THAT WAY IF I COULD.) 😉 Again, so far the big disappointment in the lack of any international tour. there had been rumors Hugo and Richard Roxburgh might tour Godot early next year, and I suppose that’s not entirely precluded, but Endgame is relatively early in the season. A really canny tour could double up Endgame and Godot, the way Two Plays in Rep (starring Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen) so effectively teamed Godot with Pinter’s No Man’s Land on Broadway. Just a thought.  😉

Andrew Upton at the 4 Septeber 2015 Season announcement  Photo: STC Twitter/Instagram

I’ll update soon with any new press articles or photos about STC 2015, in addition to a more general update.

UPDATE: A new preview in The Age adds a few details: “Weaving plays the monstrous Hamm, who mercilessly bullies his son, Clov, while his old parents, Nagg and Nell, are kept in rubbish bins.

‘[Hugo] and I cooked this up,’ Upton said. ‘He’s actually acting as the associate director on this as well just to sort of talk through the design, casting . . .’

Upton said the play was a companion piece to Waiting for Godot, which Weaving performed with Roxburgh in 2013: ‘I feel like it’s the underbelly of Godot in a funny kind of way. It’s another relationship that’s both hilarious and tragic.'”

So I remembered correctly about the trashcan.  😉 Here are a few screencaps of Hugo from the trailer: