Monthly Archives: January 2015

Sundance Videos Interviews Feat. Hugo Weaving (Including ‘Missing Bits’ from The Wrap Interview), New Pics

Before I update I want to apologise for the recent technical difficulties experienced by the Hugonuts blog at both locations, but particularly LiveJournal. Some recent photos have failed to load or erroneously displayed “This photo has been moved or deleted” graphics. I have NOT moved any photos, and am not such an idiot I can’t figure out that moving photos severs the links to blog posts. But I’ve had a host of problems with both LJ and PhotoBucket with this error. I’ve used PB for ten years with no issues until this past couple of weeks, but it’s now a recurring headache. I have fixed all the links (though again, no pics were EVER moved; PB just had errors connecting to the correct photos). And none of my pre-January entries seem affected, though please notify me if this changes. I have experimented with disabling AdBlock, which can disrupt PhotoBucket, though it’s otherwise essential for computer use without being driven insane by an ad-barrage. (In the future I may have to disable it when using PB, but re-enable it afterward… if this fails to correct the problem, I may have to consider moving my photo collection elsewhere.) Support requests to PB have thusfar been ignored. So far as I can tell, all photos are now displaying correctly after several days or painstakingly re-inserting each link and other trouble-shooting, but please notify me if the problem recurs. Obviously there’s no point doing this if I can’t share photos reliably. 😉

Strangerland at Sundance: New Videos

In my last entry I mentioned that Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes gave video entries to three different entertainment media sites: IMDb/Amazon Instant Video (which I posted in the prior entry and features the deploying Hugo’s inimitable “Donald Duck voice” to dodge the inevitable “movie trivia” questions.) 😉 A few days later, possibly after pestering by myself and other fans, The Wrap posted their interview… well.. MOST of it. The full segment on Strangerland remains, but several minutes at the end were edited out, so I’ll transcribe that from the audio I recorded live.


The Wrap

Somewhat irritatingly, only Joseph Fiennes was noted in the headline and tags for the clip, so some Hugo fans might not’ve spotted it on cursory searches. I was monitoring The Wrap’s full Sundance feed and it eventually appeared there several days after the live airing. I am thrilled they finally shared the high-quality video, been in truncated form.  I suspect the edits were due to Hugo’s usual reluctance to play along with Hollywood trivia questions, which now seem de rigeur even at festivals allegedly about independent films. 😉 They might also have been trying to avoid divulging some slight plot spoilers, thorough it’s now an open secret that the film isn’t “about” the solution of its central mystery. So, those warnings in mind…

Here’s my transcript of the rest of the interview (immediately following end of video’s final question/answer) :

The Wrap: Did you do a lot of takes or did you get it right away?

Joseph Fiennes: No, it was one or two takes and pretty straightforward and quick… but then on ALL the scenes it was one or two takes and pretty straightforward and quick. (laughs.)

TW: What were the biggest challenges for both of you on this [film]? Hugo, you said there was limited time? Was it that [limitation] or was it psychological… what was the toughest part of this movie?

HW:  Um… yeah. I don’t know. That’s a good question. I mean, the time constraints are always there so I wouldn’t include that, or hoping that you get certain scenes. Probably for me, on this one, trying to increasingly find a breathing space for a human being that you’re putting onto film, trying to embody someone who’s as complex and dimensional as he can possibly be, even when the framework within which you’re working is relatively minor.  This man has a past, has troubles, has secrets, but he presents as a kind of sensitive, calm, capable cop most of the time, and for me that was kind of an interesting framework for me to exist within, and occasionally reveal something about the deeper side of his nature. so.. finding that right tone, I suppose.

TW: Joseph, for you what was the toughest part?

JF: I echo Hugo. On any independent movie, it’s a miracle we’re even there filming, but then there are enormous constraints. I think we had quite a few scenes that we just couldn’t complete, because we didn’t have the money or the time, and that’s hugely disappointing. But, that aside, which is just part of what we have to handle, I think the hardest for me just doing enough work [on] the backstory… It takes place over a very short period of time. as well. I kind of felt that… at the end it’s got to.. not necessarily have to be redemptive from his point of view, but some tiny, tiny [glimmer] of hope that there may be, ironically, within the horror of the disappearance.  a glimmer of potential light that this relationship might just survive… and going and taking it to the real max of the breakdown and with Nicole, and seeing that and his restraint and needing to control because of his inertia and shame. He’s a man that has a public persona and finds it very difficult to sort of let that fall, so it’s taking that to the max and then trying to find his humanity again, and the potential of that relationship, which just could pull through.

TW: Your characters are very much at odds for most of the movie. I mean, did you stay away from each other on the set, or were you palling around… ?

[Joseph Fiennes hugs Hugo]

HW: (laughs) We did lots of stuff together! We went ballooning…

JF: (overlapping) Ballooning was the highlight!

HW: We had a great balloon trip one morning. We got up before the dawn, and  went, met in town, jumped in a car and drove out to this field… We practically blew up the balloon ourselves…

LF: Well, we DID!

HW… And we sailed away for about an hour and a half and then had breakfast. So we did. Yeah, we did lots of good things.

JF:  And we drove out to the Blue Mountains together…

HW: Big drive…

JF: Big tour

HW: A few trips

TW: Well now we’re going to do our rapid-fire round here, [in which] we’re asking all [our interviewees] these same questions… Pick one film from your body of work that best represents you. I know this is a very tough question for you guys, but let’s…

HW: (interrupting, immediately) Little Fish.

TW: Pardon me?

HW: Little Fish.

TW: (surprised) Little Fish? (Hugo nods) Joseph?

JF: BIG Fish! Oh, sorry. I thought this was word association. Um… I don’t know… As Montaigne once said, a wonderful French Philosopher, that the serious in art is of no avail, that joy is the only guide… so apart from working with Hugo, which was immensely joyous, on this–which was a gnarly piece– but the most joy I’ve had is Shakespeare in Love. So I pick that one.

TW:  If North Korea hacked your computer, who would your first call be to apologise?

HW: I’m such a computer idiot that I probably wouldn’t even know that they’d hacked my computer. (laughs)

TW: Joseph?

JF: I’m sorry, Hugo (mock melodrama) I’m so sorry!  (laughs)

TW: I don’t know how closely you follow the Oscars, but do you have a “biggest snub” for this year’s Oscars, and who are you rooting for the most?

HW:  I honestly do not follow the Oscars. I have absolutely no idea who is  up for any Oscar at all, what film, what actors, anything. Know nothing about it, so I apologise.

TW: You’re no help at all!

JF: I wouldn’t snub, but, because it was Sundance, Boyhood. I would love to see that succeed.

TW: The producer of Boyhood was sitting in front of me when I saw your movie.

JF: Oh, okay

TW: I know this is an impossible question, but name an actor, director or producer– just one– that you haven’t worked with yet that you want to work with.

HW: (Long pause)… Werner Herzog… Oh no!  Nuri Bilge Ceylan, a Turkish film director. Definitely. Him. I don’t speak Turkish, but please, Nuri, put me in one of your films.

TW: Joseph?

JF: Um…God, there’s a whole host… I’m gonna leave here going, ‘Why didn’t i say THAT person?’, Um… right now I’m blanking, but I think I would have to go for a foreign director where I could be subtitled. And look immensely intelligent. (Laughs)

TW: OK, last question: If you could crowd-fund one passion project, what would it be?

HW: Um… Maybe something to do with reforestation.

TW: Joseph?

JF: God, I want to talk about projects that I HAVE… but (Hugo whispers in his ear)…Yeah! Okay, yes yes yes. Thank you. He didn’t help me on this one! (Laughs) Um… Bees. A project on bees. We need more bees. And we’re into bees and honey, so that’s what we spend a lot of time talking about, organic cold-pressing olive oil, honey and bees. So bees, yeah. Fundraising for bees.

TW: Well, thank you both for coming, and congratulations on the film.

HW, JF: (Simultaneously) Thank you.

*****

Here’s the IMDb “Duck” interview again, for anyone who missed it. (And coz I wanted to watch it again) 😉


IMDb/Amazon Instant Video

THIS JUST IN: Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes discuss the theme of “walkabout” and their favorite walks in this brief but GREAT new AP interview, which also includes footage from the film premiere 23 January:


AP via YouTube

AP also has a longer clip of the premiere with interviews of Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes, though none of Hugo. (It’s possible he didn’t speak to reporters on the red carpet, as absolutely no interview footage of him from that night has surfaced, and he seems to step into cast photos only at the last minute.) The Daily Mail posted an abbreviated version of this footage with their coverage of the premiere. I’d love to see any additional footage AP recorded of the “walkabout” interview, as they clearly asked more creative questions than some others. I will on the whole give all the Sundance interviewers credit for going into depth about Strangerland and staying on topic. I’m still looking for HuffPost Live’s ten-minute interview of Weaving and Fiennes. Transcribing that would be a bear (and not as pleasing as watching the video), so I hope they humor us and post their footage SOON.

Photos

I’m fairly certain Hugo Weaving has gone home, due to the lack of recent photos (though he could just be lying low and enjoying films as a viewer). He was definitely there through 25 January and several new photos have surfaced of both the premiere and other events, including some great new fan photos. A lot of these events included convoluted names citing corporate sponsorship… since no one is paying ME, and I’m pretty sure Hugo wasn’t there for that reason, I’m not going to use those names.


Photo: MastaCord via Twitter, 25 Jan


The Strangerland cast (minus Nicole Kidman) 23 January
L to R top: Meyne Wyatt, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving; bottom: Lisa Flanagan, Sean Keenan, Maddison Brown


Both above photos: Victoria Will/Invision/AP


Photo: adeline_sky via Instagram


Hugo Weaving out & about in Park City, 25 Jan


All four above photos:  Ray Tamarra/GC Images/Getty Images


Hugo Weaving with onscreen paramour Lisa Flanagan at a dinner event at Sundance Film Festival, 25 Jan


Letting the paparazzi know they’re services will no longer be required 😉 Both photos: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images


Photo: Kyungmin Rachel Lee via Instagram


Hugo Weaving at a Sundance event, 25 Jan 2015. Photo: Todd Williamson/Invision for TAO Group/AP Images


The Strangerland cast at the Grey Goose Lounge pre-screening party 23 Jan


Hugo Weaving with talent manager Paul Clifford Escoll
Both above photos: Liz Kelly via Examiner.com


Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes and Hugo Weaving onstage at the film’s 23 Jan Sundance premiere.  Photo: clotureclub.com


Fan photo: Lisa Herrera, via  St Louis Post-Dispatch


The cast at the 23 Jan Sundane premiere. L to R: Kim Farrant, Hugo Weaving, Joseph Fiennes, Maddison Brown, Meyne Wyatt, Nicole Kidman, Lisa Flanagan, Sean Keenan


Both above photos: Carla Boecklin/Salt Lake Magazine


True privilege meeting #HugoWeaving at #Sundance after the #PartisanMovie premiere. What else do we have in common? He was born in #Nigeria. #Livinglegend #Matrix #AgentSmith #LordoftheRings #Hobbit #Sundance2015 #Strangerland #SeedlessMovie” temiojo via Instagram

And EW Online posted a huge enlarged version of the now-notorious Weaving-Fiennes smooch in their coverage of the premiere.

Reviews

We finally do have some positive or leaning-positive reviews of Strangerland, which I’ll excerpt below (do check out the original sites for full reviews.) I’ll start off with CineFix’s video review because it includes some good quality footage from the film itself, and delves into why the glib hipsters at Sundance didn’t get into the movie:


Cinefix via YouTube

Bears Fonte, AMFM Magazine: “STRANGERLAND works because all the parts seem selected to have the greatest impact. The depth of the relationship between Fiennes and Kidman gives then plenty of great moments, and when Weaving makes it a triangle, the film soars. It is a true honor to watch such phenomenal actors work their craft and the film is filled with more buried drama than a Sam Shepard play…

If that wasn’t enough, the setting provides a landscape of despair to torture the characters… It is so effective then to see it in a contemporary piece, where it can represent the apocalypse of all hope.The town plays as a border town, one last stop before entering the unknown, as the children disappear into the empty beyond… The cinematography is great, but always in service of telling the story, even when the vistas get overwhelming.

Each performance shines, and it especially nice to see a film that could have just been a simple end of a marriage kitchen sink drama layered with a mystery and some great action moments. In fact, it is the most complete film I’ve seen at Sundance so far.”

Culture Collide: “Set in the dusty outback (way outback) of Australia, the story follows a family whose two teenage children disappear into the desert. But rather than concentrate the drama on the unfolding missing-persons’ investigation, Farrant pays special attention to her characters and how they act out in times of crisis, and their primal compulsions both sexual and violent. Strangerland pushes its boundaries and its actors: Kidman’s character bares more (way more) than her soul, and the entire cast stays committed throughout. Though the film itself never ends up being as committed as its actors are, it absolutely opens a glimpse into the suffocating heartache of a grieving parent.”

Heath Jones, The Film Stage: “Kidman gives one of her best performances in recent years. Displaying a vulnerability and depth that has not been seen since her appearance in The Paperboy, Kidman’s Catherine is engaging and heartbreaking as she begins to unravel at the loss of her children. Fiennes’ Matthew is just as broken as his wife, displaying equal parts of affection and cruelty… Weaving does an expert job at playing one of the few truly honorable men in Strangerland’s fictional town of Nathgari. Rae simply wishes to follow the leads and get the children back home safe…

While the plot can feel over-extended at points, often suffering from melodrama that seems to go from zero to one hundred in a second, it is Kidman and Fiennes’ expert balance of their characters’ noble and deplorable acts that keep the viewer wanting more. Strangerland is made complete by an eerie score from Keefus Ciancia (True Detective) and cinematography from P.J. Dillon (Game of Thrones, Vikings), making suitable use out of its vast landscape. While many moments of Strangerland can be hard to watch, one certainly does not want to look away.”

Other Strangerland Press

Liz quoted several cast members in her summary of the Strangerland premiere for The Examiner, which included the two photos embedded in the Photos section.

AJPlus posted a brief Joseph Fiennes tutorial (taped at the premiere) on how to master the Australian accent.

Inside Film and Variety reported on Strangerland’s now-confirmed distribution deal with Alchemy. Alas, no release date has yet been announced.

In Other Hugo Weaving News

Mystery Road received a sold-out showcase at a film festival in Pyongyang, North Korea, of all places. Director Ivan Sen attended the screening and gives his thoughts about the experience and describes the audience’s hunger for a variety of films in SBS.

Positive reviews for the Blu-Ray release of The Mule keep appearing; you can read the latest in Nuke the Fridge.

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Hugo Weaving Promotes Strangerland At Sundance: New Pics & Video, Film Secures Distribution

There was a deluge of new material as Hugo Weaving attended Strangerland’s premiere at Sundance Friday (Jan 23), then participated in interviews and photo ops for much of Saturday. So far there hasn’t been any breaking news today, but a few more photos of yesterday’s press events continue to appear online.

There have been at least three video interviews presented by various entertainment websites: Hugo and Joseph Fiennes sat for 10-minute interviews with HuffPost Live and The Wrap yesterday afternoon. I was lucky enough to catch the live feed but could only record audio. (My video recording software is primitive and chokes on HD; I did try to record video but was unable to.) When Hugo has attended press junkets at festivals before, the websites obtaining the interviews were usually good enough to post the complete segments afterward so viewers who might not have been available for the live feed can see them. After all, that’s why the actors participate– to promote their films to as wide an audience as possible. But so far neither The Wrap nor HuffPost Live has deigned to share their interviews, even more than 24 hours after they were held. This is obnoxious, frankly, and I hope the interviews are eventually shared in complete form, as both were thoughtful and informative. I WILL share the audio if the websites don’t cooperate, but I’m still hoping they’ll hold up their end and do the right thing by us fans.

Meanwhile, here are the two videos from sites that did share their interviews. The first is Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes’ IMDb/Amazon Instant Video chat, which is short but hilarious. the second a far more in-depth interview with Nicole Kidman posted to IndieWire. Unfortunately, Kidman didn’t participate in any of the Jan 24 press sessions, which might be one reason why the sites in question aren’t sharing the material immediately. (Another might be they’re sitting on the interviews until the film is released, which would be infuriating.)


IMDb

Proof Hugo is as invaluable when being silly as when being thoughtful and serious. Sundance desperately needed that Donald Duck voice. 😉

(Note: I can’t embed the Nicole Kidman interview directly to WordPress due to their infernal “whitelisting” restrictions, but it’s definitely worth following the link)
IndieWire

Rather perversely, we have abundant photo documentation of both “missing” interviews in addition to a wealth of new pics of the premiere and other Sundance events. I’m going to try to post these in a coherent, vaguely chronological manner (not promising anything!)… As a general rule, anything featuring Hugo in a blue shirt is from Friday, anything with him in a brown shirt is from Saturday. All are photos posted online posted since my prior entry, which included the first bunch.

Friday, January 23 Strangerland pre-premiere party, Grey Goose Lounge

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The cast and crew of Strangerland (including Joseph Fiennes, Fiona Seres, Nicole Kidman, Maddison Brown, Lisa Flanagan, Hugo Weaving, Meyne Wyatt, Kim Farrant, Sean Keenan and Michael Kinirons

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Both above photos: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

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Above two photos: Ray Tamarra/GC Images/Getty

Cast Portraits, 23 January

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L to R: Lisa Flanagan, Meyne Wyatt, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving, Kim Farrant, Sean Keenan and Maddison Brown

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Above four photos: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Hugo Weaving Out & About At Sundance January 23 (Including some great fan photos)

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“Hanging with Hugo. You never know who you will bump into at Sundance.”   Alec Pedersen via Instagram

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Above eight photos: Splash News/Corbis

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“Hugo Weaving is a cool aussie. #Sundance” shawnqk via Instagram

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“Lots of #Aussies here at #SundanceFilmFestival With #HugoWeaving at #Strangerland party” Katherine Tulich visa Instagram

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Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

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“#hugoweaving #sundance15 #strangerland” Lucia Cornejo via Instagram

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What a fantastic day at work this was! emoji #HugoWeaving” Tinara Braham via Instagram

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Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes

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Above four photos: Mat Hayward/GC/Getty Images

Strangerland Red Carpet and Premiere, 23 January

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Above three photos: Chris Pizzello / AP


Above five photos: Michael Hurcomb/Corbis

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“After the world premiere screening of Kim Farrant’s Strangerland, Kim, cast and writers take the stage for the Q&A. #sundance” Trevor Groth via Instagram

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“Great screening tonight #strangerland” Macdara Kelleher via Twitter

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“#Sundance2015: #NicoleKidman #JosephFiennes #HugoWeaving #LisaFlanagan #KimFarrant at tonight’s premiere of #Strangerland” Ed Gibbs via Twitter

January 24 Interview Sessions With Joseph Fiennes

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Hugo Weaving at IMDb/Amazon Instant Video interview session

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With IMDb interviewer Keith Simanton

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Guess which five seconds of Hugo Weaving’s Sudance Film Festival experience got the most press? 😉 Joseph Fiennes tries to outdo James Nesbitt’s valiant 2012 Hobbit red carpet efforts

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Above six photos: Jerod Harris/Getty Images

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Another angle on the smooch, from IMDB’s twitter feed

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Weaving and Fiennes discuss Strangerland with The Wrap‘s interviewer

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Both above pics: The Wrap’s Twitter feed

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Photo: Tyler Straight via Instagram

A few things I remember offhand from The Wrap’s interview: Both actors were asked what they felt their “most representative” role was; Hugo said Little Fish, Joseph Shakespeare in Love. Both were also asked about the Oscars; Hugo said he doesn’t follow or pay much heed to such events. Fans often are perplexed why Hugo’s never been nominated for Oscars, but to me, the reason is simple: Hugo doesn’t kiss up to the entertainment industry or buy ads selling himself as a contender. Nor does he schmooze at industry events which aren’t explicitly about promoting a specific film. These are all things one has to do to be under consideration. Since Oscars only occasionally recognize what’s really the best work in any given yer, I’d rather Hugo be exactly as he is than ever win Oscars. He’s a breath of fresh air in an industry where actual quality is well down the list of important qualifiers for recognition.

Also: Both actors discussed Strangerland’s themes and most potent scenes at length. Both actors know the drill on working under the time and budget constraints of independent film, but both say they thrive amid the challenge. Some scenes in Strangerland had to be changed or eliminated due to financial issues and the conditions on the set. Both actors also praised Nicole Kidman’s work ethic and willingness to do whatever a role requires of her. Hugo’s character, a policeman who investigates the teenaged children of Fiennes and Kidman’s characters, wasn’t discussed at length but Hugo noted that he accepts roles on the basis of the script, without trying to imagine how he’d tackle a given role on the first read-through.

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Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes arrive for an inteview with HuffPost Live, January 24

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The HuffPostLive interview: Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving, moderator Ricky Camilleri

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Eight above photos: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images

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“Talk about #Sundance chic… #JosephFiennes & #HugoWeaving dressed the part for today’s interview about their new film #Strangerland.”   Photo: HuffPost Live via Instagram

Ths was the longest of the three joint interviews, and I’m most eager to see it again. The interviewer was enthusiastic about the film and stayed on-topic in discussing it.  Hugo at first seemed slightly distracted, picking lint off his clothes, but really engaged and spoke eloquently once the interview was properly underway. I’ll reiterate that both The Wrap and HuffPost Live really need to post these clips unedited, as they’re a far better indicator of what this film is really like than all of the snarky reviews (I’m already thinking this festival, rife with posturing young hipsters who’d rather pretend to discover the latest thing than recognize industry vets like this cast, might have been the wrong forum to launch this particular project.)

Hugo Weaving Out and About At Sundance, 24 January

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Above two photos: Fame/Flynet Pictures

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Above two photos: Alo Cebalos/Getty Images

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“Hugo Weaving. 2:02pm #sundance” andyundo via Instagram

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“Hugo Weaving just left Park City Live in Main Street. #Sundance2015” SLC Ink via Twitter

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Above two lovely portraits: John Parra via Getty Images

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Above two pics: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

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“Taking a selfie with Hugo Weaving was like taking a selfie with Lord Elrond, Agent Smith, and Red Skull all at once.” Brenna Empey via Twitter

Press Coverage

As I noted earlier, the formal review posted thusfar have ranged from middling to poisonously jaded, often sounding suspiciously like the critics either decided what they thought of the film before actually seeing it, or thought it would be more formulaic (or “message-heavy”) and derided it for being more ambiguous than they’d anticipated. Though I’d be the first to concede Hugo has been in some less-than-brilliant projects over his career (most of his post-Matrix cartoon-villain roles would top that list, but a few indies such as The Tender Hook have also sold him short) I find it very hard to believe some of these critics. This is Kim Farrant’s first feature length dramatic film, but she’s made documentaries and short films for many years, and what I’ve seen of her work has been superlative.

I also distrust reviewers who need a thunderingly obvious “message” about female sexuality, aboriginal rights or whatever else they thought the film needed… I always enjoyed ambiguity and plot threads that don’t necessarily tie so neatly into the main strand that the whole thing resembles a CBS procedural (in which every line of dialogue and seemingly-random visual actually provides a clue to the outcome). I’m rather surprised critics in a festival audience would be so averse to ambiguity, but then I read about the films they enjoyed or indie darlings they fawn over… and “obvious” seems to be the trend this year. Also, there’s been an undeserved piling-on of Nicole Kidman by many critics over the “failure” of several of her recent projects, though some of those films were actually good. (Box office disappointment has nothing to do with quality… another thing I thought the hipster crowd got.)  So none of the reviews so far are getting links from me. Sorry. If the film indeed turns out to be disappointing, I’ll be honest about that… I actually get more guff from other Hugo fans about NOT liking certain films than about being too uncritical.  But the tone of these reviews has been so snide I find it hard to take them seriously.

Also, I’m one of a handful of fans who’s been aware of this project for a long time as the director has labored to secure backing and a cast. Hugo Weaving signed on as early as 2006, Farrant says she’s worked on the film for a dozen years. There were several cast changes (with Anthony LaPaglia and Guy Pearce up for the Joseph Fiennes role at various times) but Hugo stayed attached. that a group of jaded critics think they can smother this film at birth after such a long, hard-fought gestation does get on my nerves just a bit, especially when some of these critics have praised films or series involving family drama of various sorts which was handled in a more more generic or gimmick driven manner. (If only Farrant had filmed one scene per yar over that twelve year period, or made her characters more politically trendy…) 😉 I should note that public reception of the film (by people not paid for their opinions) has been much more even handed, and positive comments have far outweighed negative. And that the negative comments have read like bad insult comedy.

As far as objective or positive press coverage goes: The Sunday Morning Herald accentuated the positive response, including comments from Farrant and Kidman. The Sundance website gave a summary of the film’s premiere, though their social media sites have paid the film almost no attention.  Nicole Kidman spoke vabout the film with Golden Globes online in addition to IndieWire.

One of the more charming festiovalgoer accounts can be read at The Film Experience, where writer Nathaniel R describes barely getting in to the Strangerland pre-screening party, and chatting with Hugo:

“Nicole was late to her own party (and stayed only briefly). I was somehow roped into taking a photo of her with a fan. Sadly that fan was not me. Awkward. She did a friendly little wave to me as she disappeared. Hugo Weaving, who plays the detective investigating the case, was chattier. He was visibly surprised to hear that Proof (1991) was my entry point into his career – that fine Australian film is way too underseen. He says the Hollywood stuff is the anomaly – what he mostly does is ‘these little Australian films that no one sees.’ He says that Nicole is a joy to work with and fearless. That she’ll basically come right out and say things like ‘I’ll do anything for the camera’ but off camera she’s a ‘dag’. He could tell I didn’t know what the word meant, so he started with the literal meaning which, much to my horror, is basically a sheep’s dingleberries! Thankfully it has a much more affectionately teasing figurative meaning, basically a ‘nerd,’and he promised that cast and crew loves her.”


“Nioole, Joseph, and Hugo. Joseph’s boots were gigantic!” Photo: Nathaniel R, The Film Experience

Proof was also the first Hugo Weaving film I saw… one reason I find the post-Matrix typecasting so irritating. I’ve known all along there was so much more to his range.  Also, bringing up Hugo’s indie films (or simply asking him to sign a DVD/Blu-Ray cover for one) is a sure way to get a great conversation with him. I know that from experience. 😉

Kim Farrant described the long process of bringing Strangerland to the screen in Filmmaker Magazine.

The best industry news concerning Strangerland a Sundance has been the acquisition of a US distributor, Alchemy Pictures. Deadline broke the story, but The Wrap has a few more details, and LJ doesn’t barf when I try to link to them. (No idea what LJ has against Deadline in particular… If they started blocking all hype-based sites they should at least include The Hollywood Reporter.) 😉  The deal includes “a multi-platform release as well as a theatrical commitment in 15 U.S. markets” meaning I stand a fair chance of seeing it in a cinema… and even an outside chance of not having to pay New York parking fares (or public transport fees if I took the train.) The original Deadline piece adds  “[Strangerland] got a strong response particularly for a  powerful performance by Kidman. Worldview financed and Wild Bunch is selling foreign.” So the film might gain worldwide cinema distribution despite the best efforts of those critics. 😉

The Australian covers the full contingent of Australian movies at the festival. And… you can read intel on the Grey Goose pre-premiere party (and its libations) at Tipsy Diaries. Frankly I;m gonna need some Grey Goose of my own if I read any more hipster snark about this movie. 😉

I’ll keep looking for those video interviews from HuffPostLive and The Wrap; if I’m not updating Twitter tomorrow it’ll be because we’re expecting a blizzard tomorrow and could lose power. But feel free to keep checking their links (and asking where the interviews are at their social media sites, etc.) I hope they’ll be up soon.

Hugo Weaving Arrives in Park City for Sundance; Strangerland World Premiere

I’ll be composing this entry as new material pours in, so apologies if it seems a bit scattershot. Hugo Weaving arrived in Park City, Utah to promote his film Strangerland. He was apparently kind to fans both on the plane over and at the airport, though I’m never sympathetic to professional autograph sellers who ambush him, as their hounding makes it less likely Hugo will sign for ordinary fans, some of whom have waited a lifetime for the opportunity. (There’s always a marked change in Hugo’s demeanor when the “professionals” show up with stacks of Agent Smith glossies; he’s usually more than generous when approached by individual fans and will stop and talk, but when the autograph hawkers show up. This was a common pattern during the NYC run of Uncle Vanya, meaning a lot of fans who turned up to see the play and waited at the stage door were denied their chance to meet him.)

Sorry, had to get my two cents in on that front. 😉 Hugo wasn’t at a lot of events or parties the first day of Sundance– I imagine he was probably just going to movies. But he did pose for a photo with the cast of Strangerland (minus Nicole Kidman, who arrived later in the day) and there’s also a nice “out & about” photo”


Hugo Weaving out & about at Sundance, 23 January 2015. Photo: George Pimentel/Getty Images


The Strangerland cast, minus Nicole Kidman: L to R Meyne Wyatt, Hugo Weaving, Lisa Flanagan (seated), Maddison Brown, Kim Farrant(seated), Sean Keenan, and Joseph Fiennes
Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage

More pics are sure to appear during Strangerland’s premiere, starting 6.15 (MST) PM. As always, I’ll keep looking for high-res versions and swap those into the entry when they become available.

Hugo’s young costar Meyne Wyatt was able to coax Hugo into reprising a familar character:

My sister wanted some Agent Smith. Here it is @zaaron_wyatt #hugoweaving #thematrix

A post shared by Meyne Wyatt (@meyneg) on

“My sister wanted some Agent Smith. Here it is @zaaron_wyatt #hugoweaving #thematrix” Meyne Wyatt via Instagram

More to come soon!

OK, here we go: the full cast is now participating in a Strangerland photo op at the “Grey Goose Lounge” in advance of the film screening:


Nicole Kidman, Maddison Brown, Lisa Flanagan & Hugo Weaving  Photo: Just Jared via Twitter

Here’s another photo from the Grey Goose Lounge:

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L to R: Hugo Weaving, Alicia Ni Ghrainne, Camille McCurry and Michael Kinirons. Photo:  Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Here are eight photos from the red carpet for Strangerland:

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L to R: Director Kim Farrant, Hugo Weaving, Joseph Fiennes, Maddison Brown, Meyne Wyatt, Nicole Kidman, Lisa Flanagan and Sean Keenan  Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images (plus next 3)

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(Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming Trevor Groth to far left)

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“Red carpet photo shoots don’t make me feel like a deer in the headlights! No, really!” 😉

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Three pics of Hugo solo, all taken by George Pimentel/Getty:

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Hugo Weaving at Sundance. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Here are a few fan photos from inside the Egyptian theatre for Strangerland’s premiere (quotes from original tweets):

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“World premiere of #Strangerland at #Sundance” Camille McCurry via Twitter

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Wow. #strangerland was powerful. The acting was amazing. Amazing. #Sundance2015 @sundancefest @sundancefestnow” Coreen K via Twitter

And here’s a lovely festival portrait of Hugo by Jeff Vespa:

“Hugo Weaving in the studio for Strangerland.” Jeff Vespa via Twitter/Instagram

So far no video or interview footage has surfaced, but that’s sure to change as we get further into the festival. One hopes, anyhow. I’m a bit disappointed in how little coverage Strangerland has gotten in contrast with a lot of substantially less interesting films, but Strangerland isn’t really courting the hipster crowd. 😉 That said, it’s early yet, so watch this space for more updates as they come in. For additional Strangerland cast pics are reviews as they come in, check my Twitter feed.

Long-Overdue Update, Hugo Weaving 2015 Calendar, Strangerland To Debut At Sundance 23 Jan

I know this blog is long overdue for an update… So I’ll start off with profuse apologies and hopes that everyone enjoyed their holidays, and that they’ve had good fortune thusfar in 2015. I’ve been sidelined with various illnesses (mine and my cat Carmelita, whom many of you know from my Twitter feed– she’s still being treated for lymphoma, but has successfully fought off a pair of opportunistic bugs) and seasonal maintenance as well as work commitments.

Strangerland At Sundance

Fortunately I haven’t missed a ton of new material because Hugo Weaving has also been on an extended break since The Dressmaker wrapped filming in mid-December. He hasn’t made a public appearance since, but might pop up later this week at the Sundance Film Festival if we’re lucky, as his new film Strangerland (also starring Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes) is scheduled to premiere this Friday, Jan 23 at 6.15 pm (MST, one presumes, ie 8.15pm EST, 11.15 GMT). Oddly, tickets aren’t yet available via the film’s Sundance website page, though one assumes most tickets for the premiere have already been snapped up by industry insiders. 😉 (It’s also common practice for festival ticket package-holders to have a lengthy period to buy their allotment of tickets before single per-screening tickets are made available.)

There has been no official announcement as as to whether Hugo or his costars are scheduled to attend, though this website hints they might be expected. Hugo has no announced work conflicts and is usually on hand for world premieres on independent films, but he’s also unpredictable. It’s hard to guess whether Sundance’s mix of independent film tradition and increasing celebrity/commercial focus will attract or repel him… but my guess is he’ll be there if he has no prior commitments.  Strangerland will screen a total of six times over the course of the festival, with post-premiere screenings at different venues in Park City on January 24, 25, 26, 28 and 31. (again, check Sundance’s website for specific time and ticketing info.) There is still no official trailer or teaser for the film, though the ‘unofficial’ teaser keeps popping up and as quickly being taken down; my guess is that it will be the eventual teaser, as it’s nearly perfect as-is. A longer trailer will probably follow once the film’s distribution is announced and its wide release is approaching. So far there’s no news on that front, and no official website or social media presence for the film (Facebook, Twitter, etc) though that’s sure to change. At the moment, there’ds merely a sub-page on the film’s distributor’s website, Worldview Entertainment.   The film has scored decent programming slots at one of the most prestigious early festivals of the year, so let’s hope this translates into generous worldwide distribution.

The Dressmaker

In my last entry I mentioned that Hugo’s other major film to open this year, The Dressmaker, wrapped production in early December. The film’s Facebook page noted that Jocelyn Moorhouse and editor Jill Bilcock began working on post-production about a week ago.  With an announced official release date– for Australia, at least– of 1 October 2015 it should be an eventful year of updates via the film’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages. You can also subscribe to their occasional newsletter via the website if you haven’t already.

Then there was this fan photo posted to Instagram by a crew member shortly after production wrapped. In some ways I think this is spoiler content, and wish Sgt Farrat’s off-duty look had been kept in the bag until the film is released, but it’s an irresistible photo. Also, that particular plot “secret” was disclosed when Hugo signed on, and I can’t imagine it won’t be all over the trailers and pre-release stills, given how reluctant marketers are to leave any plot twists undisclosed in promotion. 😉


Here is me with Kate winslet and Hugo Weaving on the wrap day. Again an amazing cast, were extremely nice and talented people. #katewinslet #hugoweaving #setlife #livingthedream #lookingcreepy #namedrophooper”  Tom Hooper, via Instagram

A few fans have commented to the effect that Hugo’s costume seems a bit… er… dowdy for the former Mitzi del Bra. 😉 But this is a film set in the 1950s and Kate Winslet has been photographed in some striking outfits on set, so I’m optimistic.  Also optimistic that the high star-wattage of this cast will guarantee global distribution. Jocelyn Moorhouse is more than overdue for a comeback in cinemas.

Hugo Weaving 2015 Calendar

Yes, I know this is late… to be fair, I have posted the link several times on Twitter, and did have it up before the new year began. But I’ve been remiss not posting the pages here. Since there are no high-res stills yet available showing Hugo’s characters in either Strangerland or The Dressmaker, I elected showcase Hugo’s expansive 30+ year theatrical career in this year’s calendar. (This will a theatre-heavy year for Hugo, who will star in Endgame for the STC in March before reprising Waiting for Godot with Richard Roxburgh at London’s Barbican in June.) Here is each monthly page plus info on the productions the stills capture. I do print these out every year. I’ll post the largest-sized photos here: they’ll be under the cut at LJ and available via right-click-Open Image In A New Tab via WordPress.

With Robyn Nevin in David Williamson’s The Perfectionist at Sydney Theatre Co, 1982


With Geoffrey Rush in Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist at Belvoir Theatre, 1996


With Angie Milliken in John Webster’s The White Devil at Sydney Theatre Co, 2000


With Angie Milliken in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing at STC, 2003


With Cate Blanchett in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler at STC (2004) and New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music (2006)


With playwright Andrew Upton, costars Jeremy Sims and Ewen Leslie and director Philip Seymour Hoffman in Riflemind at STC, 2007


With Natasha Herbert in Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage at Melbourne Theatre Co, 2009


With Hayley McElhinney in Checkhov’s Uncle Vanya at STC (2010) Washington DC’s Kennedy Center (2011) and NYC’s Lincoln Center (2012)


With Geraldine Hakewell in Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses, at STC 2012

With Richard Roxburgh in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot at STC, 2013

As Shakespeare’s Macbeth at STC 2014


Promo artwork for STC’s Engame, to begin performances this March 31. Hugo will portray Hamm in Samuel Beckett’s play

Sorry I couldn’t finfd high-res images for some productions, but all pages print crisply to standard letter-sized paper. You can see the full set at the Hugonuts Photobucket Archive too.

Tim Winton’s The Turning To Open In UK

More than a year after its Australian theatrical release, Tim Winton’s The Turning will finally be be distributed in the UK, with a 6 February opening date. The British distributer debuted a recut trailer earlier this week emphasizing the compilation’s overarching theme. While the footage seen is similar to what was in prior trailers, this version is particularly lovely:


SodaPictures via YouTube

Yes, I do own the Aussie DVD, but I haven’t watched it yet because I cling to the masochistic hope that this film might still be PROPERLY released– ie to cinemas– in the US, though there are no plans for that as of yet. (The film does have a US distributor, Main Street Films; they have a nice page for the film with photos and descriptions of all 18 segments, but only list a tentative “coming in 2015” release date.)   More on the UK release at Film School Rejects, Digital Spy and IndieWire.

And there are many lovely high-res photos from The Turning available on producer Robert Connolly’s Flickr account, including these three of Hugo:


Hugo Weaving and Josh McConville in “Commission”, directed by David Wenham

Larger versions of these images, plus high-res pics of the directors and stills from all the the short films in The Turning, can be viewed here.

The Mule Out on Blu-Ray in US

One piece of good news for Hugo’s US fans, though… The Mule is released on Blu-Ray this week. If you ordered the bargain-priced Amazon pre-order, they should be informing you it’s en route shortly if they haven’t already. You can read detailed reviews of the US home release at WhySoBlu?, Alien Bee, Keep It Classic, and The Examiner. The Examiner also reposted their excellent Hugo Weaving interview promoting the film.

In Other Hugo Weaving News

Healing had its British TV debut on Sky Movies January 16; screenings will continue for a month or so; the film is also available for on-demand viewing to their subscribers.

STC has announced the Pre-Season Briefing dates for their full 2015 slate, including Engame on March 23. Seats are available for ticket-holders, but STC suggests you RSVP them quickly, as they’ll go fast.

Ivan Sen has announced that Aaron Pedersen will reprise his already-iconic Jay Swan character for a sequel/spin-off to Mystery Road. Unfortunately, plot developments in the original film make it unlikely we’ll see Hugo Weaving reprise his Johnno character, unless it’s a flashback/ghost-mentor thing along the lines of what Matt Frewer did on the Cinemax series The Knick. 😉 The Age has more info. The new project will find Swan taking on a new case in a different town.

And this very strange bit of Hugo Weaving Early Career Ephemera popped up on YouTube via Craig Anderson on YouTube last month. It’s Hugo’s four-minute role as a very clumsy but enthusiastc scientist studying mangrove forests. This segment was part of a one-hour 1987 film called Fish ‘N Tips, apparently a comedic take on fishing, though I couldn’t dig up much other info. The project is so obscure it’s not listed on IMDb or any film database or website covering Hugo’s career; it took me and many other long-term fans by surprise. Apparently the only home video release was an Australian VHS in the late 1980s; the film was directed by Michael Horrocks. It’s always exciting when hitherto unknown bits of Hugo’s back catalog pop up like this, but I’m afraid this is very much at the Sky Pirates end of the quality spectrum rather than, say, the Everything Goes end.  At best it’s slightly reminiscent of John Lurie’s often-hilarious parody fishing show Fishing With John from the early 1990s, though much less sophisticated. Still, Hugo wasn’t phoning anything in even then, and some fans might find the mud-striptease angle titillating. 😉

Classic Hugo Weaving interview Clips At SBS

Note: This is an archived entry that’s several years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material. Some entries may not be up to my current standards as far as photo source and other credits are concerned; if you are a photographer or writer of a piece that lacks appropriate acknowledgement, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add source info.

While I was searching for something unrelated on the Australian network SBS‘s website, I found a treasure trove of old movie interview clips featuring Hugo (and his creative collaborators) discussing films from Priscilla to Little Fish, with possibly the only Hugo-centrix Matrix promotion ever somewhere in the middle. 😉  These are wonderful and I’d never seen them before– SBS doesn’t allow embedding but you can stream the videos directly from the site.

Anyhow, the links are:

Priscilla at Cannes 1994 (in which Hugo divulges an embarrassing old nickname, and the mixed blessing of looking fabulous in fishnets)

Craig Monahan discusses The Interview 1998 (Hugo isn’t directly interviewed but seen in a lot of film footage, and of course is mentioned.)

Matrix Cast and Crew 1999 (Hugo discusses the pandora’s box he opened with this film, its challenges, and handles the obligatory Keanu question with humor and graciousness)

Little Fish Red Carpet (corrected link–sorry!!) (Hugo is charmingly awkward as he usually is in a red carpet situation)

Also, here’s a great pic of Hugo with Geoffrey Rush from 1996, costarring in The Alchemist at Belvoir St Theatre.

I found that while researching ticket info for Rush’s current production of Gogol’s Diary of a Madman at BAM (they had plenty of links about Belvoir St. Theatre). And yes, I was trying to worm some news out of BAM about their possibly booking STC’s Uncle Vanya in the future, but they’re still playing coy about that. 😉

Also: if you’re in the London area, there will be a sneak-preview screening of Hugo’s forthcoming film Oranges & Sunshine on March 30– followed by a chat with director Jim Loach– at the Barbican. The film officially opens April 1 in the UK and April 2 in Australia, with additional international release dates TBA.

BREAKING NEWS: A lot of you have already heard the news, but I’d be remiss not to pass it along: Hugo has indeed won the Best Supporting Actor at the Sydney Theatre Awards. (<<break for rapturous applause>>)  I’d create a new entry just for that, but there are no pics…

According to Sydney Theatre Awards’ Twitter page, “Sadly [Hugo is] not present. Andrew Upton accepts the award and thanks himself. “. ;P I think they’re pulling our leg, and that there was not a ceremony, per se, as no news sources have images from one. For more detailed coverage, go to Sydney Morning Herald, (plus, their list of winners),  The Australian, Stage Whispers or Sydney Theatre awards home page.