Tag Archives: Ivan Sen

Strangerland Trailer Debuts, Endgame’s Final Week, RIP Andrew Lesnie

Apologies for not updating sooner; my schedule has been chaotic for a few weeks now. Here are the major Hugo Weaving News Updates from the pasty couple of weeks. (As always, I update in a more timely manner on my Twitter account, but it’s been hard to grab a chunk of time long enough for the context and nuance that composing a Hugonuts update requires… I still consider this format preferable to the more abbreviated, trendy social networking sites, but Twitter at least allows me to post the raw materials of future entries as they appear.)

But enough delaying…

Strangerland: Official Trailer and Festival Screenings

Strangerland finally has an official trailer, via its American distributor Alchemy. (There was an unofficial, subtler teaser online several months ago, but it was quickly pulled from circulation, apparently considered an unofficial leak. For the record, I liked it as much as the new one, and it gave away less of the film’s plot.) The new trailer is longer and more intense, though Hugo has about the same amount of screentime. There are a few too many spoliers for my taste, but that’s generally true of the format. At least in this case the film’s ambiguous nature prevents the sort of over-sharing that plagues trailers for more conventional thrillers. All three lead actors look to be in solid form. Here’s the trailer plus the officxial poster (which is excellent) a few of my screencaps of Hugo’s scenes.

Alchemy via YouTube

The official film poster

(Above four images) My screencaps from the official trailer

Strangerland is released on 10 July in the US and 11 June in Australia, with the rest of its global distribution TBD. The US marketing hints strongly at a VOD-centric launch plus “select” cinematic screenings (likely a limited arthouse release.) The Australian release strategy will probably be similar, though the film is being treated with more class there, in a series of Sydney Film Festival Presents -themed screenings at the Palace Cinemas chain. (More about that in Inside Film). You can read the intel on the US release at Deadline, IndieWire, I’mWithGeek, The Film Stage and IMDb… all have very similar reports including the synopsis and trailer.

Prior to its international wide release, Strangerland will have screenings at the Sydney Film Festival— its Australian premiere 5 June and three additional screenings 6 June. Unfortunately, Hugo’s London stage role in STC’s Waiting For Godot (alongside Richard Roxburgh) will probably prevent Hugo from attending the film’s Sydney premiere… which is probably fine with him, though he has a longstanding love for the SFF apart from red-carpet duties. 😉 The film will also be showcased at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 17 and June 2. Tickets are still available for both festivals (follow the links above) but the SFF premiere is selling fast.

STC Endgame

Sydney Theatre Co’s production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame completed its final week of performances on Saturday; positive notices kept appearing til the end. In fact, I don’t recall seeing a single negative review for the entire run of the production, which may be a first. Here are review excerpts posted since my prior entry, along with some great fans photos.

Fiona Prior, Henry Thornton: “To experience Andrew Upton and Hugo Weaving’s vision of Endgame as an audience member goes way beyond empathy and imagination into a real-time experiential connection. I frequently felt I was suffering as much from the onstage angst as were the performers who were waiting for the end –  and, like the performers it was only their repetitive dialogue about futility that kept me there for its wickedly funny insights…

Hugo Weaving owns the role of the tyrannical Hamm whose heart is not really into his dictatorial role any more but, confined to his chair, sees little alternative;  Tom Budge as the long-suffering Clov is an adept physical clown and the most down-trodden and sweetest of  victims. Add dust-covered and ashen Nell (Sarah Peirse)  and Nago (Bruce Spence) who live – if that is an appropriate word for their existence –  in old metal barrels on stage and  you have the whole extended family. Nell and Nago exhibit a loving connection in the play through the sharing of a biscuit and of memory. This glimmer of love, however, is treated as routinely as the exchanges of Hamm and Clov and this handling makes it all the more tragic..

I don’t adhere to the existential vision embedded in Endgame but I’m astonished that it can be delivered with such compelling humour. It is also a timely reminder to live creatively and not be a slave to what has come before. ”

Photo: Sharon Johal via Instagram

Frank Barnes, Education/NSWTF: “Along with the full house I sat mesmerised by this production, marvelling at Weaving’s mastery as he uses only his voice and arms, the powerful clowning performance of Tom Budge who has not acted on stage for 10 years, and the rarely-seen Bruce Spence and the extraordinary Sarah Peirse whose appearance is way too brief… Somehow there is always lots of humour to be found in these bleak scenarios of Beckett’s worlds…

The production is engrossing. Let’s hope that Upton, who is leaving for the US with his family, comes back occasionally to team up with Weaving again.”

Tanydd Jacquet, cheekytaster: “From the moment Hugo Weaving is unveiled onstage, you could hear a pin drop at the Roslyn Packer Theatre..

As the endless drops drip from the stage wall like the agonising infinity of seconds passing through in their world, the audience cannot help but to respond to their helplessness with laughter…

The greatest conflict in the play is the one you find yourself in when you leave the theatre. Both quizzical and inspired – you resolve to leave the room you have been so comfortable in, and take a chance on exploring what could be outside…

Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Endgame is a dark comedy that leaves it’s audience talking more than what happens onstage.”

Photo: aabbeymensforth via Instagram

theatrematters.com.au: “Despite the play being a little challenging to follow, the performances were, unsurprisingly, outstanding. Hugo Weaving was captivating as the tyrannical, unforgiving Hamm. At first I was concerned about not being able to see his eyes, hidden behind clouded glasses. How would I connect with him? But he was so beautifully expressive with his languorous hands (echoes of Gambon) and utilised the entirety of his vocal range to such a great effect that I needn’t have worried. Weaving is an enviably clever actor, and his use of language is utterly inspiring. His voice is like chocolate, and the way he effortlessly squeezes meaning out of each syllable, whether it be from modern or classic text, is a gift. Bugde made the perfect companion, making great comedic and physical choices, and letting Clov’s strength shine through just enough to give us hope for him in the end. Both actors were playing within the confines of the script, and found comedy in very difficult and unexpected places…

Nick Schlieper’s set and lighting design was delightfully bleak and foreboding, and provided the perfect basement home for the unlikely family, doomed to be forever alone until something breaks the monotony – death or departure.”

Photo: bncarynlds via Instagram

The Buzz From Sydney: “At the risk of sounding effusive, a production like the Andrew Upton directed Endgame is the reason why people go to the theatre: spellbinding performances and meticulous direction has made Endgame one of the theatre events of the year, which may sound premature, but trust me, is not…

Tom Budge delivered a virtuoso performance as Clov: he executes his duties in exacting , yet forgetful fashion, with intense concentration on space, as he moves Hamm around the stage. Hugo Weaving as Hamm was absolutely brilliant. His monologues create a landscape that is rich in simple drama, while his unseeing eyes held the audience in their grip. Hamm is after all, trying to stave off the end with a few last minute manipulations that are pointless but for him necessary…

Andrew Upton presents Endgame as a more sophisticated companion piece to Waiting For Godot, and fans of Beckett who are after a detailed and faithful rendering will not be disappointed by this production.”

Photo: millsy_k via Instagram

Alex Rieneck, AE36: “Suffice to say the characters are “Hamm” (Hugo Weaving) who spends the play ensconced in a comfortable armchair (which may be seen as a throne) (or not) and who orders everyone  about. He describes himself as senile, so he may be seen as a king. His especial servant is “Clov” (Tom Budge) who runs hither and yon about the stage at every beck and call and being far more mobile than the rest of the cast, is responsible for the physical comedy. Its a big job, Mr Budge is on the move for the entire play scuttling from one side of the stage to the other. His main prop is a twenty foot ladder and I lost track of the number of times that he climbed it, all the way to the top; after carrying it across the stage from one side to the other. No housepainter works so hard; I pitied him and wondered that at the end of the play he seemed to still be word perfect, even as he glistened with sweat. Actors delight me…

Hamm is a less likeable character; he sprawls backwards in his chair bossing Clov, bellowing when he thinks it will achieve his purpose; bribing Nagg with sugar plums when shouting fails. In short Hamm is every inch a king, but not the phantasy monarch of king William and Kate – he is more the nasty reality of King Rupert (Murdoch) himself the unvarnished face of power itself…

The  performances (particularly Hugo Weaving’s as Hamm and Tom Budge as Clov) are flawless, and Bruce Spence beaming up at the world out of a garbage can is not something I will soon forget – nor will I try to.  Sarah Perse does rather better than can be expected with the little that is available to the character of Nell.”

Fan video(!) by Sharon Johal/Instagram

And here are a couple of treats from STC: a behind the scenes look at the production’s teaser trailer, and a neat animated promo for the souvenir programme. (Yes, I have a copy, and yes, there will be scans when I have more time.) 😉

STC via YouTube

Hugo will have a brief respite from Samuel Beckett before traveling with STC’s production of Waiting For Godot to London’s Barbican in June. Stage Whipers has a preview.

RIP Andrew Lesnie, Cinematographer

Many of us were shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of Andrew Lesnie, who won an Oscar for his cinematography for Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings and lent his considerable skills to several other notable Hugo Weaving films and TV projects, including The Hobbit Trilogy, Babe and its sequel, Bodyline, Melba and Healing. Lesnie also worked on King Kong and The Lovely Bones for Jackson, the recent Planet of the Apes reboot ; his final film was The Water Diviner starring Russell Crowe. Here is director Craig Monahan’s tribute to his collaborator and friend, via Healing’s Facebook page:

Healing director Craig Monahan, with Andrew Lesnie (2013)

“I am devastated at the loss of my friend of 35 years. I first met Andrew at film school : he was finishing and I was starting.

Our initial connection believe it or not was our love of Groucho Marx. I can still see him walking around saying ‘I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got in my pyjamas I’ll never know.’

There was no-one like Andrew. He was very intelligent, very funny and full of energy. As a cinematographer he was brilliant…”Lighting schmiting”, he would say. ‘What’s it about? What is this scene about? Everything came from that.

Much love to Marcie and to his boys Sam,Jack and Alex. R.I.P. my friend” – Craig

Lesnie (center) with his wife Marcie on the set of Healing (2013)  Photos: Healing Facebook

Hugo Weaving and Lesnie during the filming of Healing (2013)

You can read tributes and more about Lesnie’s career at Variety, The Guardian, The New York Times, TheOneRing.net and (of course) Peter Jackson’s Facebook page, which includes an extended tribute and photos from the sets of their many collaborations.

“Dearest Andrew, you never sought nor wanted praise – you never needed to hear how good you were, you only ever cared about doing great work and respecting the work of others. But on behalf of all those who were lucky enough to collaborate with you, love you and in turn, respect your mastery of story, of light and of cinema magic – you are one of the great cinematographers of our time.” — Peter Jackson, via Facebook

With Ian McKellen on The Hobbit set  (Photo: Screen Rant)

In Other Hugo Weaving News

Ivan Sen and his Mystery Road leading man Aaron Pedersen are filming the much-anticipated sequel/follow-up to their 2013 masterpiece. Alas, for obvious resons (to anyone who’s seen Mystery Road) Hugo Weaving and Ryan Kwanten won’t be able to participate this time around. The new film, entitled Goldstone, sees Pedersen’s Jay Swan investigating a new case in another town; though none of the Mystery Road supporting cast is on hand, the new film looks unmissable with the additions of Jacki Weaver, David Gulpilil and David Wenham to the cast. You can follow the film via the Mystery Road Facebook page (now officially named for BOTH films), and read more at Inside Film, Variety, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and SBS.  Filming is now underway in the Winton, QLD area.

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.


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.


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.

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. 😉

The Mule Debuts On VOD/PPV Services in One Week, First Contact Features Hugo Weaving Narration

The Mule

Several new promo videos, pics and interviews promoting The Mule have appeared since my last entry. These include FilmInk piece featuring a new Hugo Weaving interview (mostly his comments on the Australian film industry, which– no surpriose– he defends vigorously amid the usual, cynical media reports of its demise.) I’ll post the full text of Hugo’s comments below, but first, the latest batch of promo videos for The Mule. (I have to say this film’s online marketing team is doing a splendid job, keeping the new promos coming (yet not-too-spoilery) and actually keeping in touch with interested fans, something I’ve yet to see from, say, Warner Bros despite by decade-plus of promoting various films of theirs. 😉 A lot of indie distributors could learn from this model too. Too many of Hugo’s smaller Australian indies haven’t gotten the audiences they deserved, and scattershot marketing has sometimes been part of the problem. (I should add here that Mystery Road is another film that got this aspect right,  though they released to cinemas and didn’t have the “cult appeal” that The Mule already has in its favor.)

Anyhow, the videos: the first, which was debuted by Inside Film, is another behind-the-scenes preview featuring comments from Hugo Weaving and an overview of the film itself (oh, and Leigh Whannell getting grabbed by the nads):

eOneANZ via YouTube

Here’s the second trailer for the film, which is really a re-edited, PG-rated shorter version of the first, from the film’s US distributor XLRator:

Festivals and Indie Films via YouTube

Angus Sampson has handled the bulk of international promo interviews for TheMule thusfar, including several radio and podcast interviews he spoke with Charles  for over an hour on Center Stage With Mark Gordon on KXLU. Here’s the Soundcloud embed:

He also sat down for interviews with Crave Online and Schmoes Know Movies for extended chats which touched on both The Mule and his more Hollywood-friendly projects (the Insidious films, the forthcoming Mad Max sequel.)

Crave Online via YouTube.

SK Podcast via YouTube; Sampson interview begins at 30.20

Sampson also explained the genesis of Hugo’s infamous “ballooon scene” (in the film and trailer) in a Reddit exchange earlier today:

“[In researching real-life incidents while writing the script] we interviewed customs officials. We interviewed lawyers and police officers. All on the condition of anonymity. We would ask the police we interviewed questions like: If you had to pressure someone you have in custody without physically bruising them or hitting them with a telephone book, The reply ‘I would let the air out of a balloon slowly and repeatedly’ was 100 per cent fact. And you’ll see in the trailer it made the final cut!”

Here are the latest character posters (and a behind the scenes shot) featuring Hugo Weaving’s Tom Croft:

Croft character poster #2. Photo: Moviehole

L to R: Angus Sampson, Hugo Weaving, Ewen Leslie and two others on the set. Photo: The Mule Movie Twitter feed

Promo still of Hugo as Tom Croft being tom Croft 😉  Photo: The Mule Movie Twitter feed

Passport-style poster  Photo: The Mule Movie official website

Most of the above video/radio interviews don’t feature an overabundance of Hugo content, though the Schmoes Know podcast reveals Hugo took a while to get back to the production team about signing on, probably because his infrequent contact with “the business side” of the industry, ie his agents, delayed him receiving the script. (Hugo’s enthusiasm in all interviews about the film, including those before shooting began, suggest he was always interested in the project; costar John Noble was leery of the subject matter until Sampson and Whannell persuaded him in person to give them a shot.) Hugo’s 2005 AFI acceptance sppech comes to mind here. 😉 Hugo Weaving will appear with Sampson and Whannell (and probably some other special guests) at the Melbourne (Nov 18) and Sydney (Nov 19) preview screenings next week, so we’ll probably see his role in promoting the film expand very soon.  The Melbourne preview is sold out, but free tickets are up for grabs for both venues if one tweets #TheMuleMovie then a description of one’s own most embarrassing predicament. (That contest closes soon– 16 Sept at 9pm AEDT–  so act quickly)

(Melbourne promo identical but venue)

Sorry to kep you in suspense about that Hugo Weaving interview; it’s part of a larger FilmInk piece highlighting the current pessimism in the media about the local film industry, and how The Mule is trying to reverse the trend of dismal box-office for homegrown Australian films by bypassing cinemas screenings and releasing direct to PPV/VOD/DVD-Blu-Ray. Here’s what Hugo had to say:

“There are much, much better films being made now than back in the heyday of Australian filmmaking,” Hugo Weaving – the star of recent Aussie crackers like Mystery Road, The Turning, Healing, and this month’s The Mule – tells FilmInk. “There really are, but the perceived wisdom is that that’s not the case. Well, I beg to differ. There are good films being made in this country, and the apparent fact that people are turning away from Australian film is something that I don’t necessarily buy. They’re turning away from films all over the world, apart from the biggest blockbusters. There are lots of arguments. But in terms of the quality of the films being made, there are finer films being made than there were back in the seventies. There were great films made back then, but the landscape is shifting enormously and rapidly, and everything – the way in which we view films, the marketing of films, the distribution – has changed…

“There are so many good films,” Weaving continues, “but it’s almost like they’re disappearing into this great big swamp, and no one can see what to do with them once they’re there. It’s very hard, and it doesn’t mean that those films are bad because they’re not seen. I see those films, and some of them are fantastic. Success at the box office isn’t the marker of a quality film. It’s a shame that they can’t coincide, and it’s a shame that we can’t find better ways of doing it. I still feel very engaged when I read a great script and have the opportunity to work with terrific directors. It’s the script and the people that you work with that keep you going. There are great people on the landscape, so I’m hopeful about where that all goes.”

Hugo’s position on this subject has remained remarkably consistent over the years… and the Australian media’s premature death knell for their film industry has been sounding at least since vthe late 90s, so he’s had plenty of opportunities to state his opinion. 😉 It’s sort of ridiculousd to hold up one unusual year (most often 1994) as a standard every other year needs to meet; it is deeply frustrating that so few Australian films are properly distributed overseas, which certainly wasn’t the case in the 90s, when Proof, Priscilla and other notable Australian films (Muriel’s Wedding, The Castle, Chopper) got decent arthouse releases abroad. These days, as Hugo notes, most indie films don’t get cinema screenings at all, anywhere in the world apart from a few cosmopolitain hubs (New York, London, LA, Paris, etc) unless they attract substantial awards buzz or feature major Hollywood stars. At least in the US films can be released to cinemas and PPV/VOD simultaneously, so patrons outside the arthouse market can at least see them. This apparently isn’t the case in Australia, where there’s a mandatory months-long wait between any substantial cinema release and the option of home-screening of any kind. If The Mule is successful, this may change, but not all films will have The Mule’s unique combination of wit, “midnight movie”/cult appeal and adroit mix of serious tension with potentially-dicey subject matter.

Anyhow, reviews for The Mule continue to be very positive. You can sample the latest at Dark Matter, Adrian Edwards, AltMedia.net and Movie Nation.  Additional promotion and info about the film and its unque release strategy at InDaily, The Daily Review and The Otto Empire. The film can boast of having the 3rd-most-viewed trailer at Apple and (currently) a 100% Fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating. And an extra who worked on the film tells her story at The Daily Telegraph.

The Mule will have a free preview screening in New York on 24 November courtesy the folks at Fangoria; you can read up on how to apply for tickets here. Supposedly they’ll RSVP confirmation before the screening date. (I’m still waiting to hear from them… this would be my best chance for seeing the film in a proper cinema, so I hope it works out.) An LA preview screening featuring Sampson and Whannell was already held last night at Cinefamily, but  there will be additional LA-area screenings through the end of the month at Arena Cinema.

Finally, whether you’e lucky enough to make it to one of the Australian or US preview screenings or whether you stream/download/order it on On Demand, you’ll want to tune in for the 7 Dec Live Tweeting event which will feature Sampson and Whannell, Georgina Haig and more. Unknown if Hugo Weaving will participate, as he doesn’t have a Twitter account, but I’ve seen actors participate by proxy on more than one occasion. John Noble DOES tweet, but it’s unknow if he’ll be available given his demanding schedule, which includes a recurring role on US TV’s Sleepy Hollow.

Streaming options for the film will include iTunes, which is featured heavily in most promotion, but the latest version of iTunes is incompatible with many non-Apple computers (including mine), so I feel obliged to post other streaming options, which will include: “AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, Time Warner and Verizon as well as various digital platforms” yet TBA, I’ll keep you posted.

Finally, the DVD of the film will be available 3 Dec in Australia and 20 Jan in the US. Amazon is taking pre-orders for the latter.

First Contact

A surprise addition to Hugo Weaving’s audio resue popped up about a week ago, as promotion for the SBS documentary series First Contact debuted online. Hugo narrates this three-episode series about a group of six white Australians who hold very jaundiced views of the indigenous population who spent a month immersed in a culture they’d never been exposed to before, and how this changes their perspective. Hugo is heard briefly in the extended trailer below. The series begins airing on 18 November in Australia with the remaining episodes following immediately on the 19th and 20th. You can read more about it at SBS, The Sydney Morning Herald, TV Tonight, and Yahoo News.

There will be a DVD available later this year, in case international viewers are curious; Australian viewers will be able to stream current episodes at SBS once the episodes have aired.

The Dressmaker

Things have been fairly quiet from The Dressmaker’s “Dungatar set” in Victoria, apart from a few intriguing behin the scenes images shared via the film’s Facebook page. Presumably Hugo is currently at work on this particular project, though he’ll obviously be taking a few days off to promote The Mule.

“Our camera operator David ‘Daisy’ Williamson films Tilly’s train arriving in Dungatar (in Muckleford, VIC)”  Photo: The Dressmaker Facebook page

“Production Designer, Roger Ford, shows our director around the interior of the Pettyman’s house.” The Dressmaker Facebook page

Mystery Road

The film continues to receive positive notices in its US and UK home-format releases. The latest reviews may be read at Blu-Ray.com, Rock!Shock!Pop!, VODZilla, EveryFilmBlog.

The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies

First, apologies for inadvertently leaving the second “the” out of the film’s new(ish) subtitle in previous entries. Since fans have universally used the shorthand BOFA, I hadn’t actually noticed it was there until recently. (Frankly, I still think There And Back Again was better. So freakin’ sue me.) 😉 Still no info on whether Hugo Weaving will be on hand in London when the film premieres.

But several new goodies have nonetheless recently debuted, including a growing cache of TV ads. I’ll embed the most impressive (a collection of several international spots back-to-back) followed by the first official two US TV ads.

CBM Trailers via YouTube (Elrond’s sword-brandishing cameo from this month’s full-length trailer appears i the first 30 seconds).

TV Spot 1 (Warner Bros via YouTube)

TV Spot 2 (Warner Bros via YouTube)

Tickets are now on sale for marathon screenings of all three Hobbit films (shown in order) December 15 at various IMAX locations. The official site only seems to have times for The Battle of the Five Armies, so check local listings.

And you can hear Billy Boyd’s ending theme “The Last Goodbye in its entirety over at Billboard.com. And there are amusing reactions to the recently released trailer at GQ and Entertainment Tonight Online, including the rather obvious statement: “Hugo Weaving is amazing.”


In advance of the film’s Australian television debut (November 23) ABC TV shared Hugo Weaving’s behind the scenes interview clip. Some of you may remember seeing this back when the film had its theatrical release in May, but it’s definitely worth multiple viewings.

ABC, via YouTube

Also, Healing has two cinema screenings left in its Fort Lauderdale International Film Fest schedule in Florida this week.

New Mule Featurette & Promo Interviews, The Dressmaker Begins Filming in Victoria

I know updates have been too-infrequent of late… I’ve had to take on extra work hours due to recent medical expenses involving my cat (you can read about her progress here, but I’ll otherwise keep personal news separate from Hugonuts).Also, backing up all my older entries and photos (at Hugonuts Photo Archive) has taken more time than expected, though it desperately needs doing. Then there’s my ongoing posting of Hugo Weaving pics to Twitter, most of which require extensive “cleaning” of some sort. 😉 Photo sites might be less obstinate on this issue if fans made a habit of properly crediting source sites and photographers when reposting, something I always take pains to do .. I was as lax in this department as any “newbie” fan for the first few years, and in consequence my earliest archived photos are in a shambles and I’m spending hours tracking down credit info I should have been including all along.

Anyhow, though Hugo hasn’t made many public appearances of late, he has been busy working on The Dressmaker (in and around Melbourne– the Victoria set is in a “secret location” to deter fan disruption, though most Hugo fans I know would never be so gauche as to crash one of his film sets.) 😉 He has been spotted at Sydney-area events (and photographed at least once) so his presence hasn’t been constantly required on the set– after those strenuous months of performing Macbeth every night, he is owed a more relaxed schedule. He’s also scheduled to attend at least two promotional screenings and Q&A events for The Mule, which is released 21 November in both the US and Australia, mostly via streaming platforms, though a DVD should follow soon.

The Mule

The film’s social media outlets on Twitter and Facebook have kept up a steady output of new info and links to new stills and articles as the release date draws nearer. The most fun of these is the newly-released 1983 promotional clip (featuring some amusing comments from Hugo on the set) which was “unlocked” for fans via Twitter a couple of nights ago:

Via eOne ANZ YouTube

One can also have a great deal of perverse fun with the “Sweary Supercut” promo, neatly demonstrating why the film secured an R/MA rating (well, ONE reason…)

IGN, via YouTube

I’ll post the film’s trailer again, because it’s well worth repeat viewings, and because eOne ANZ has a peculiar, annoying habit of removing content then reposting it in different locations, ie breaking embed links.  They already took down the 1983 clip from its original YouTube location after I went through the trouble of cross-posting it (and links to it) in several locations, which I THOUGHT was the point. If fans are just trying to help promote the film via social media and blogs, it helps to have promotional content consistently in place. Just sayin’.

Movieclips Trailers via YouTube

Twitch Film debuted a nice batch of new stills and caps from the film, including a large portrait of Hugo Weaving’s Tom Croft, and the new (and, in my view, improved) US poster for the film, which I’ll add below. I’ll warn you the site also includes a closeup of Angus Sampson’s character having to… erm… reingest some escaped cargo, which I’ll spare you here. 😉

(Larger version here— click on the magnifying lens.)

Hugo Weaving confronts Georgina Haig

Screencap of Hugo Weaving and Georgina Haig

The new poster

And here are some of my screencaps from the two most recent video promos; apologies for some being lo-res; the 1983 promo clip is so far only available in grainy standard def. I hope the film’s marketers will share an HD version as the film nears release.

(more caps from the 1983 promo here)

More film stills, posters and screencaps from The Mule here.)

Angus Sampson and the film’s creative team have already done a batch of recent press interviews to promote the film’s general release, as well as attending festival screenings at the Philadelphia Film Festival on Oct 21 and 25. (I would definitely have gone if not in such dire straits financially, though people lucky enough to attend have been very generous with info about the Mule’s screenings and the rest of the PFF, which featured a lot of my favorite directors and actors.) At any rate most interviews are very encouraging, suggesting the film is much smarter than the average bodily function comedy or shocker. Perhaps the best (apart from the 1983 clip) can be read at Vice UK, featuring Sampson’s comments about the film’s less bathroom-oriented cultural and class themes. The fact that Hugo seems more enthusiastic-bordering-on-gleeful than I’ve seen him in behind the scenes interviews on any project should also give fans confidence that there’s more going on here than Adam Sandler-level poo jokes highlighting the distinct difference between being genuinely subversive and merely a crass gross-out.  Sampson was also interviewed–over lunch!– about the film by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Angus Sampson gave a video interview at another recent screening, this time for the Australian Film Institue’s AACTA Awards screenings in Sydney. You can also stream their interview with Noni Hazelhurst.

Australian Film Institute, via YouTube

Another brilliant quote/illustration via the film’s Twitter feed… keep ’em coming!

The Guardian included The Mule and its cinema-skirting, direct-to-consumer release strategy amid an otherwise-grim assessment of the Australian film industry. (An unfortunate, bordering on cliched treatise echoing perhaps EVERY assssment of said film industry SINCE the much vaunted Priscilla-and-Muriel heyday of 1994. Never mind that Australian films remain excellent and frequently deserve cinema screens more often than the juvenile US trash replacing them.

The Dendy Cinemas Newtown/Sydney screening and Q&A is scheduled for 19 November at 6.30. Tickets are available here.  The Melbourne Cinema Nova screening and Q&A is scheduled for 18 November at 6.30, and you can buy tickets here. Hugo Weaving and Angus Sampson will be present at both events along with other guests to be announced.

So far only iTunes is taking pre-orders for The Mule, which one may purchase in both HD and standard versions. Both the US and Australian versions of iTunes are accepting orders, but they won’t let you order outside of your own country (why, exactly, if we’re paying?) So be sure you have the correct link. I’ll update with additional streaming/purchase options as soon as they’re announced. Most of Hugo’s recent Australian films have played cable On Demand in the US, so I’d guess The Mule will to, with both rental and purchase options. Australian fans should try to mak,e one of the cinema screenings, though, especially since Hugo will be there with Whannell and Sampson, and other to-be-named cast members.

You can read recent reviews for The Mule at The Digital Fix and filmgarmott.

The Dressmaker

The filmmakers released their first newsletter from the set (written by producer Sue Maslin) on 16 October as production kicked off. (you can sign up via the official website or just follow them on Twitter for online links). You can read the full entry here, but here are some highlights: “The past few weeks have been filled with cast rehearsals, costume fittings, makeup trials, and camera tests. Twenty-five gowns and outfits have been designed by Marion Boyce for Tilly alone and have all been hand-sewn by her exceptional team….

We spent years in search of the mythical town familiar to those of you who have read Rosalie Ham’s book – a town in the shadow of a hill – Molly’s Hill – on the edge of a vast wheat plain. Having travelled to towns all over Australia, I can assure you that there is NO town like Dungatar!… For that reason, we will build the main street of Dungatar at Mt. Rothwell on the edge of the You Yangs about an hour out of Melbourne. It looks west over the plains and is the perfect place to build the main street of Dungatar in the shadow of Molly’s house on the hill…

Rehearsals with our cast began last week and it is wonderful having Kate (Tilly), Judy (Molly) and Hugo (Sgt. Farrat) now bringing their characters alive together with a stellar ensemble of supporting cast…Jocelyn and I really appreciate all of you who have already joined us on this journey. Our production team are looking forward to sharing it with you. ”

Several images on/from the set have appeared on the film’s Facebook page, though none feature cast members. You can read variations on the press release announcing the start of filming (and recasting of two roles– Isla Fisher and Elizabeth Debicki were replaced by Sacha Horler and Sarah Snook, respectively) at Screen Daily, Inside Film, FilmInk, OzEmag, Urban Cinefile, The Australian, The Herald Sun and SBS. David Hirschfelder was announced as the film’s composer.

Director Jocelyn Moorhouse and Cinematographer Don McAlpine on The Dressmaker’s set. Via the film’s Facebook page

Since then things have been fairly quiet (as I assume they’re busy filming), with only a few unauthorized paparazzi shots of Kate Winslet and Judy Davis emerging.   The official website and Facebook banner have updated to include Hugo, though, so I’m not complaining. I sort of prefer NOT knowing too much about a film this early, and have somehow held off on ordering Rosalie Ham’s novel… mostly because international shipping prices are exorbitant and it seems to be out of print in the US. I know I won’t be able to resist the book forever, but maybe… just maybe… this’ll be the Hugo film with a literary tie-in I  haven’t read before seeing the film.

Hugo Weaving has been photographed by fans twice since filming began (note he’s shaved for the role– not unexpected given its twists and turns). Once was in Melbourne, more recently in Sydney at a concert:

“I’m pretty stoked with my celebrity sighting tonight! #hugoweaving #matrix” The Commitment Company via Instagram

“In the Green Room waiting for Elbow. Hugo Weaving is here. Just an average Sat night #operahouse #elbow” Melissa Gardner via Twitter/Instagram

In Other Hugo Weaving News

Tim Winton’s The Turning will have a month of screenings at the Danske Filminstituten through November. It was politely received at the BFI London Film Fest earlier this month, though it didn’t get the attention The Mule did.

Mystery Road has been generally well-reviewed in its US/UK DVD/Blu-Ray/Streamin/On Demand release. You can read recent reviews at High Def Standard, Buddies In The Saddle, Cine-Vue, Rob Smith/Letterbox DVD, BoxOfficeBuz,  The film continues to receive arthouse screenings throughout the UK, which I’ll repost to my Twitter account (sidebar if you’re reading WP) as they’re announced. Unfortunately, the film’s US distributor has been a real let-down on offering any cinema distribution even to arthouses and second run/indie/college venues. This is a film that really deserves a big-screen presentation, and not all of us can afford 80″ surround-sound HD set-ups. Also… I’m old fashioned in that I actually enjoy chatting about and sitting there in the dark with other film fans. 😉 Also: Film3Sixty’s interview with director Ivan Sen has been re-posted and remains worth a read if you missed it earlier.

The Guardian interviewed the much-in-demand Luke Mullins in advance of his reprisal of Lucky in Sydney Theatre Co’s acclaimed production of Waiting For Godot, which will be restaged at London’s Barbican next year. (Another of Hugo and Richard’s costars in Godot, Philip Quast, recently appeared in a Lincoln Center revival of Stephen Sodheim’s Sweeney Todd, which was nationally broadcast in the US on PBS. He portrayed the lecherous Judge Turpin).

I’ll also embed Axiom Film’s wonderful little promo short released in conjunction with the UK release (and subsequent DVD issue) which I know I’ve shared before, but c’mon. Can you say no to this smile?

(more interview screencaps here)

via Axiom Films/Vimeo

The Hollywood Reporter recently re-posted their original 1999 review of The Matrix, featuring the following comments about a then-unsung Australian character:  “[T]he big scene stealer is [Hugo] Weaving as the relentless opponent and embodiment of the Matrix’s creators. His deadpan delivery and ultra-serious demeanor is chipped away with growing frustration, and the Australian contributes much of the film’s nervous humor.”

We finally have a few stills/illustrations of Hugo Weaving’s Elrond in The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, though they aren’t official promotional images. (In at least one case, Warmer Bros threatened TheOneRing.net (!) over scanned images from a forthcoming book on the film.) They are very similar; the first is taken from a 2015 calendar, the second is a film still first seen in Brian Sibley’s book The Battle of the Five Armies Visual Companion and Official Movie Guide, but which has been disseminated all over the internet in various versions, which makes me feel a little less nervous about posting it. Frankly, the way Warner’s has repeatedly snubbed Hugo fans (even freakin’ Azog The Defiler got a promo poster) they owe us one.

From the 2015 Hobbit calendar, apparently cropped from this larger illustration:

via Danilo, selling the UK version of the calendar.

via TheOneRing.Net Twitter, As seen in Brian Sibley’s forthcoming book The Battle of the Five Armies Visual Companion and Official Movie Guide

In non-Hugo (but welcome) news, it’s been announced that LOTR favorite Bily Boyd (whose character Pippin isn’t born yet in The Hobbit) will compose and sing the end-credits song for the film. More about that in Paste. Flicks and Bits shared some conceptual images and one of Peter Jackson’s sketches of the titular battle, taken from the current issue of Entertainment Weekly.  No word yet on an official trailer or any additional Production Diary videos with only a couple of months to go before the film’s release.

Healing will have its first US screenings in awhile at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Fest on November 14, 15 and 19, tickets are available at the festival’s website. Another festival I’ll have to miss, alas.

And that rarest of rare items, “a watch worn by Hugo Weaving” was said to be among them items up for sale at the Garage Sale Trail, an Oct 25 auction of Sydney theatre props and costumes organized by Finoa Reilly, NIDA’s head costume designer. Details in The Australian. Given Hugo’s repeated professed loathing of wearing watches, that would be a colector’s item indeed, even if it’s a play prop. 😉