A lot of great new material. has surfaced in the hours since my previous post and I’m scrambling a bit to catch up. Included is that ABC News Breakfast interview featuring Angus Sampson and Hugo Weaving. Hugo has been letting his director/costar dominate most of these conversations, something fans are used to seeing whenever Hugo does any sort of group interview. Some of his comments about piracy have already been wildly misconstrued by internet trolls, so let me clarify here: Hugo is not saying that he doesn’t care about piracy or that he has a laissez-faire attitude about it, just that he personally doesn’t know what the solution might be.
He’s always expressed disinterest in the commercial side of filmmaking, and in fact has taken a lot of flack in certain quarters for NOT wanting to spend his career playing Hollywood franchise villains, so the notion he doesn’t care if the indie filmmakers he refers to work with get ripped off is nonsensical. But this is a long-term problem in the industry with no ideal solutions. Sampson and co are trying the direct-to-VOD approach to democratize distribution, but certain people have become used to movies, music and even books now being “free”… I do hope The Mule is successful and provides a new platform for viable, widespread release of Australian films to international audiences, but I don’t think it’s going to end piracy, because people who habitually steal this sort of material without any thought for the cost to filmmakers and artists– especially those working with minimal resources in the first place– will probably not grow a conscience over one film.
I do find it interesting that Hugo isn’t really saying much about the final Hobbit film in these interviews, though interviewers– particularly ABC’s– are clearly prodding him in that direction. Of course, most of Hugo’s work on The Hobbit was done in 2011, so he has every right to interpret the question to mean things he’s working on NOW. I as actually hoping for more intel on Bird Eclipse (Anand Gandhi’s next project) or even One Foot Wrong (his possible next film with Last Ride director Glendyn Ivin)… but those probably haven’t gotten a formal green-lighting yet, so he might not be allowed to talk about them. Or might not know much about them.
Anyhow, enough from me… I’ll try to embed both interviews below:
[Unfortunately, there is no embed code attached to the ABC News Breakfast video, which is about ten minutes long. Please do head over to ABC to watch it; there are no broadcast restrictions to Australia or anything. I’ll embed it if they post it to their YouTube channel. I’ve also had no luck finding the Hugo Weaving/Angus Sampson interview that aired on Triple R Radio this morning at Triple R’s website; they also have programs archived through Nov 17 at present, but this suggests the interview should be up at this page soon. Again, once they post it I’ll try to embed it here if possible. I was lucky enough to catch and, yes, tape the whole thing live… I would prefer to use an embed or link the station has provided, but if none appears, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. The interview was about 15 minutes long (starting at 8.45 AEDT) and Angus Sampson did most of the talking. I’ll also work up a transcript of Hugo’s comments when I have more time.]
And here are two brief scene clips from the film that debuted today. The first features our first look at John Noble’s drug lord Pat, seen shaking down Geoff Morrell, who play’s Ray’s hapless father. The second features Georgina Haig and Ray (Angus Sampson) discussing their defense strategy. (And demonstrates her willingness to go cuss-for-cuss with the guys.) 😉
Badass Digest via YouTube
MoviesDotCom via YouTube
You can hear Haig promoting the film, along with Sampson and Leigh Whannell on the Another Aussie In LA Podcast. There are additional new Angus Sampson interviews up at Icons of Fright and In My Community as well.
Here are some more pics from last night’s preview screening in Melbourne, along with photographer/sharers’ captions:
Angus Sampson and Hugo Weaving at Cinema Nova: “Good times at last night’s #TheMuleMovie Melbourne screening and Q&A with Hugo, Noni & @AngusSampson”
Above two photos: The Mule Movie via Twitter
“Hugo Weaving and Angus Sampson dropped past last night for a special event screening of THE MULE. Our favourite part was when Hugo called his movie snack of choice (Malteasers) “Muleteasers” Cinema Nova’s Facebook page
“Starry starry night yesterday @CinemaNova with Angus Sampson, Noni Hazelhurst and Hugo Weaving. #themulemovie” Film Victoria via Twitter
Also, don’t forget the December 7 “hashtag event”/Live Tweet-a-than #TheMuleLive. Inside Film has a new article featuring Angus Sampson’s plans for the virtual meet-up, which gives international viewers a couple of weeks to see the film via their venue/streaming outlet of choice. (Well, my local arthouse won’t cooperate… and I’m still waiting to hear if I’m in at the NYC Fangoria event. But I WILL have seen the film by Dec 7, mark my words.) 😉 I am veering a bit from the proscribed notion in the press releases that one should tweet WHILE watching the film… that’s fine, but IMO one should have already seen the film and actually paid attention to it rather than one’s computer screen/portable device/etc. People who tweet or text through something they’re watching for the first time aren’t really paying attention to the film (concert/etc). And I’ve been tempted to pour soda on them in cinemas, frankly. Especially that dude at the Mystery Road screening at the Hampton’s Film Festival who said he was a film critic but kept his miserable little device on through the whole damn movie.
Where was I? Sorry… Not saying you shouldn’t have the film rolling so you can chat along with Sampson and “cast, crew, friends and audience members” the IF article hints will be along for the ride. Just watch it once– or, hell, a few times– before then. 😉 There’ll probably be spoilers if my previous experience with these sorts of things is any guide. (Loved Glendyn Ivin and Rob Connolly’s TV-airing related live tweets, but I’m awfully glad I saw the films in question first, because endings were described in great detail.) No specifics on whether or not Hugo will be along for the ride. Obviously, he’s not a Twitter regular, which is probably just as well. But he might guest on someone else’s account. I’ll participate regardless unless I have an unbreakable work commitment. No specific time has been announced… and trying to find an ideal time for both US and Australian audiences won’t be easy. 😉
A staff member at MX Melbourne kindly sent me PDFs of the Mule preview article, which features two versions of Andrew Tauber’s photo of Hugo and Angus Sampson, as well as a brief interview with Sampson. I’m trying not to get too excited about the nudity comment, as I’m pretty sure Sampson is just kidding (re Hugo’s bum being onscreen) though that’d be one more incentive to see the film. And it’s not like we haven’t seen both of their bums quite a lot already. 😉
THIS JUST IN: A lovely solo Hugo Weaving interview courtesy Film Ink, touching on The Mule, Hugo’s interesting, diverse run of cop roles in his recent projects, and his longstanding preference to work close to home. Here’s the full text. As usual, Hugo drops a few spoilery hints about his character’s complexity… I love his lack of coy misleading in this department, but some viewers who hate knowing anything at all about a film’s twists in advance might want to read the paragraph AFTER seeing the film. (Only two days to go!).
Cop It Sweet
In the darkly humorous and wholly original THE MULE, Aussie legend, HUGO WEAVING, delivers a brilliant, slyly comic performance as a slightly bent cop sweating on a drug mule to expel the pricey cargo in his guts.
Tom Croft seems like a lot of fun to play. He’s a bad guy who could be a good guy; he’s got a moustache; he’s a cop…
“It was enormously fun. It was a very laidback shoot. The great script really appealed to me. All the characters are pretty grey, and they all harbour secrets…they’re all full of bullshit! They’re all posturing in their own way. That’s what I liked about it: it’s a film about bullshit! But in the end, Tom Croft is one of those old school cops in the sense that he’ll draw a line in the sand and he won’t cross it. So he actually ends up having a greater sense of morality than most of the other characters, which is what I liked about him. He embodies both the larrikin, selfish side of the Australian male ego, but on the other hand, when it comes down to it, he won’t cross that line, and he won’t end up doing someone a disservice.”
You get nearly all of the film’s best lines…
“The script is very funny, but it retains its tension, and there are twists and turns. Narratively, everyone needs something desperately, and the reason why those lines work is because they’re juxtaposed against that tension. They’re a release valve. But what I really liked was the balance between dark threat and humour which is essential to the character.”
Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell are old friends and regular collaborators who have known each other for years. Does that give the set a different kind of feel?
“Leigh was there, but he was off set watching things on the monitor. He was really sweet and quiet. [Co-director] Tony Mahony is very much the director on the set; he’s the quietest director that I’ve ever been on set with, and I loved that. He’s thoughtful, and has a great eye. Angus – as co-producer, co-writer, co-director, and star – was very much on the day concentrating on what he was doing, and on his character and on his acting. They negotiated their way through a potentially hazardous shoot. It felt calm. There were a lot of experienced actors, a great script, and a strong sense of what the tone was, even though it’s highly complex.”
You’ve had a nice run of Aussie films lately, with Mystery Road, The Turning, Healing and now The Mule. Has that been a plus?
“The weird thing is that they’re all cops. I just played another cop in Strangerland, and I’m playing a cop at the moment too. I’m in Melbourne doing The Dressmaker with Jocelyn Moorhouse, who directed me in Proof many, many years ago. This one in The Dressmaker is a cross dressing cop from the fifties! They’re totally different films, and totally different cops too. I have enjoyed working here, it’s been great. I’ve been mixing that up with a lot of theatre too with The Sydney Theatre Company, where I’ve done Uncle Vanya, Waiting For Godot and Macbeth. It’s been great working with young, innovative, creative filmmakers, and I’ve enjoyed working on all of those films. I’ve always preferred to work here, and I see my trips overseas to do films as being something to broaden my horizons. I like to mix it up, but my heart is really with making films in this country, and working with interesting filmmakers here.”
The Mule is available digitally from November 21 [worldwide], and is then out on DVD and Blu-ray from December 4 [January 20 in the US].
You can read the latest reviews of The Mule (still 100% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, astonishingly) at Film Mafia, Graffiti With Punctuation, JB Spins, Concrete Playground, Pop Insomniacs and Flavorpill.
In Other Hugo Weaving News:
Healing will air on Australian TV (ABC One, to be precise) at 9.20p on 23 November. You can read a preview at The Age. The film will also be screened at the Australian Film Festival Delft on the same day.
There’s a new review of Mystery Road at Sex, Leins & Videotape.
Still waiting for the first pics from tonight’s Sydney/Dendy Cinemas screening of The Mule, which will feature Geoff Morrell in addition to Hugo Weaving and Angus Sampson. I’ll probably begin the NEXT entry with those, as this one’s already getting long. 😉
Finally, I’m not sure what I think of Hugo’s pencil-thin John Waters mustache, though it certainly goes with the not-unfamiliar-to-John-Waters themes of scatology and cross-dressing Hugo’s dealt with in his current films. 😉 But I’m always fine with him changing up his look periodically– this change is almost certainly for The Dressmaker. Less happy that he’s apparently shaved his chest for the same role. 😉