Tag Archives: James D’Arcy

First Report from Healing Set, Continued Cloud Atlas Coverage (UK, Beijing), Hugo Weaving Interviews

Note: this is an archived entry. Some links might not still work, but I have tried to ensure scan and video embeds are still in place. If any linked material is unavailable, please let me know and I’ll attempt to find a copy in my personal archives.

We finally have our first report from the Kyneton, Victoria set of Healing. The film, written and directed by Craig Monahan (The Interview, Peaches) stars Hugo Weaving, Don Hany, and Xavier Samuel in lead roles. The plot centers on a prison rehabilitation program matching inmates and injured birds of prey. The new article, published in the Sydney Morning Herald and related papers, features comments from Hany, Samuel and bird-wrangler Andrew Payne. So far Hugo hasn't been interviewed or photographed on set (it's possible he hasn't begun filming yet), but there is a nice new photo of Hany with one of his costars, Bart the eagle:

Actor Don Hany and wedgetail eagle Bart on the Kyneton set of the movie Healing.
Photo: Ben King/Sydney Morning Herald

The rehabilitation program dramatized in the film is fact-based, drawn from articles Monahan read about raptor rehab programs that actually exist in Victoria. Here are some quotes from the SMH piece:

Don Hany: "'I REALLY fell for [a wedge-tailed eagle named] Grace. She was the one I first met. She was probably [injured while] eating carrion on the side of the road, and got a bit cheeky, and a car hit her before she could get clear. She's a bit of a sook, and she did this nuzzle up to my neck, and she just melted me….the parallels between caged animals and caged humans was a great vehicle to tell a story [which underscores] the pain of understanding that you need to leave the cage''.

Bird expert Andrew Payne: "'Don was really good. He handles a bird well, and there's the right balance when the bird's on the glove. Sometimes you'll put a bird on a person's arm and they can look all stiff and uncomfortable. [After the pair are introduced] 'you can get them, with baby steps, to do more and get the bird accustomed to someone different''.

The full article is well worth a read.

Though Hugo hasn't yet been interviewed about Healing, his promotional interviews for Cloud Atlas (conducted in Los Angeles, Berlin, Moscow and Beijing between last October and January) continue appearing in the online press alongside hitherto-unseen photos and video footage. Quite a few of these have accumulated since my last entry, so here they are without further ado.

Perhaps the most intriguing recent posting appeared in Alfred Tsing's blog My Last 365 Days. Tsing attended press events for Cloud Atlas's Beijing premiere, and worked as a translator for interviews conducted for the Chinese press. He also includes his impressions of the film (including a strongly-worded defense of its use of cross-racial casting, which in the final tally seems to have offended white academic types obsessed with political correctness more than most Asians.) You should click on the link and go read the full entry for yourselves: there are wonderful new pics and a thoughtful perspective from someone who's both an "insider" at these events (with access to the directors and actors) and a fan. I'll include his sampling of quotes from Hugo Weaving's interviews and a few pics under the cut, but these are mere highlights and the full piece is fascinating.

L to R: Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Zhou Xun, Hugo Weaving and one of the film's producers at the Beijing press conference 20 January 2013; Photo: Alfred Tsing

Hugo Weaving spent most of January 21 being interviewed by the Chinese press; Tsing served as his translator and offered the following observations and excerpts:

Alfred Tsing: As a bilingual Chinese-American working in Beijing I sometimes use my powers for good over evil. In this case, I translated for Hugo Weaving during his full day of interviews. My main remarks on Hugo’s personality is that despite playing some notable “villains”, his vibe is very gentle and compassionate. By the end of an entire day of translating, since so many interview questions were the same, he joked that I should pretty much just answer the questions before he even responds.

Here are some of the questions he was asked throughout the day.

Q: In “Cloud Atlas” all the actors in the movie play multiple roles, including different genders and different identities, what did it feel like for you playing all those roles?

Hugo Weaving: When we were filming V for Vendetta seven years ago, the Wachowski siblings and I both read the novel Cloud Atlas. [Actress Natalie Portman introduced them to it.] When I got the screenplay, I’d already read the original version twice, so I understood what the basic story was. For me, the most fun thing reading the script was that the story structure was completely new and original. The novel’s narrative style is somewhat like a Russian Doll, each story is half told chronologically, then the second halves in reverse-chronology. The screenplay tells the six stories all in one go as a mosaic. So I was fascinated by the structure of the film.

Q: In real life you’re a gentle man and a good person but in Wachowski movies, you are always cast as the bad guy. How do you feel about that?

Hugo Weaving: The character’s I play do not perceive themselves as pure villains, nor do I portray them deliberately as “the bad guys”; I like to play contradictory roles. For instance Agent Smith or the characters I play in Cloud Atlas. Many are agents against change invested in the maintenance of a system. They are fighting to keep things the way they are. On The Matrix, when I read the script, I found the character of Smith to be very funny; that character always made me laugh. The Wachowskis also thought Smith was very funny. So I guess they knew I could take on these sorts of roles because we’ve always seen things very much on the same level and of course we’re good friends in real life.

Q: Which role did you enjoy the most?

Hugo Weaving: I enjoyed each of them, but my favorite is the role of the old Georgie, who only exists in Tom Hanks’ character Zachry’s imagination. He’s a manifestation of his fear, and I really like to play this aspect of human imagination.

Q: What about Nurse Noakes?

Hugo Weaving: She’s the mean nurse in [the Timothy Cavendish plotline]; she’s simply a monster. I always wanted to laugh when playing her. Her character makeup was the most ambitious and challenging; it took four hours to apply. I had to get used to wearing the heavy costume. It wasn’t easy, but I really enjoyed the process.

Alfred Tsing with Hugo Weaving

L to R: Hugo Weaving, Keanu Reeves, Alfred Tsing, Lana Wachowski

Alfred Tsing: "At the end of the press tour we had a nice dinner and Keanu Reeves came by to support. He was also in town working on post-production for his latest China-US co-production Man of Tai Chi."

Tsing's full blog post includes many additional photos, Tsing's interviews with the film's directors, hints about the Wachowskis next project Jupiter Ascending, a meet-up with Chinese director Stephen Chow and many other goodies, so do check it out!

Photo: Alfred Tsing

While Cloud Atlas didn't have a formal Australian premiere, it did open in Australia 28 February. The Sydney Morning Herald has posted/printed a few versions of a Hugo Weaving interview conducted by Caris Bizzaca; it's unknown if this was conducted during earlier press junkets (as most of the UK promo interviews featuring Hugo were) or if he spoke to this reporter from Australia while prepping for Healing… either way it's a brief but interesting discussion of the film and Hugo's most memorable characters. I'll post the text of the online version under the cut; the print version can be read here. Both featured stills of Hugo's Cloud Atlas characters rather than new photos.
An unusual change of face
March 1, 2013
by Caris Bizzaca (Sydney Morning Herald/AAP)
"The many faces of Hugo Weaving in Cloud Atlas.

Hugo Weaving has played the villainous Agent Smith and freedom fighter V, but in just one film – Cloud Atlas – the Aussie actor has taken on more characters than in his entire 14-year collaboration with directors Andy and Lana Wachowski.

Weaving plays a total of six characters in Cloud Atlas, an ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell's novel that tackles big existential ideas such as reincarnation and the repercussions of actions in one life to another.

Like his co-stars – including Halle Berry, Tom Hanks and Susan Sarandon – Weaving plays a variety of characters, who cross genders, social classes and race over a period of about 500 years.

One in particular is Nurse Noakes, a burly, nasty woman working in an aged-care facility. Weaving said he was excited as the prospect of playing this "hysterical monster".

"There are roles you kind of get thrilled about," Weaving says. "When Andy [Wachowski] said we want you to play Nurse Noakes, I was like, 'You want ME to play Nurse Noakes? That is fantastic.'

"And then I thought, 'How the hell and we going to do that?' "

With a lot of prosthetics, it turns out.

While Weaving originally imagined the character to be tall and thin, the Wachowskis and co-director Tom Tykwer envisioned her as a large woman.

Weaving had to don a heavy fat suit and facial prosthetics for the transformation, but unlike other characters he plays in the film, he didn't get much time to get used to the costume.

"That was a challenge just to try and forget about it actually and to inhabit it in a way that wasn't too preposterous," he says.

"But no, the idea of playing a different gender, the idea of playing anything is . . . it's thrilling and daunting."

The way characters such as Nurse Noakes allowed Cloud Atlas to cross social barriers, including gender, spoke personally to director Lana Wachowski.

Formerly known as Larry, (she underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2009) she, likewise, says Cloud Atlas is the kind of movie that refuses to be put into a box by social conventions.

"Yes, you're drawn to art that resonates in your own life and my life has been a struggle against a society, a culture that is pathologically obsessed with binary," she says.

"The culture does not want to contemplate the idea of a spectral range of gender."

Cloud Atlas marks the first film Weaving has worked on with Lana since she had her surgery, but the fifth Wachowski film that he has been in – a long collaboration that began in 1999 with The Matrix, followed by its two sequels in 2003 and V for Vendetta in 2005.

It was actually during filming for V for Vendetta that Weaving first came across the novel Cloud Atlas. His co-star Natalie Portman was reading it, so he followed suit and has previously said it became one of his top 10 books.

Reading the script for the first time, Weaving says he was fascinated by how the writer/directors approached the story.

In the novel, huge chunks are spent on different characters, but in the film, the stories are all cut together.

Weaving says Andy explained the film to him by comparing it to a mosaic, in that all the stories are introduced immediately, as opposed to "this Russian Doll of a structure" that the book had.

The Australian actor said he was glad to have already been familiar with the book and seeing what they wanted to do with it.

"You know the world, you know the characters, you know how they parallel each other and interconnect," he says. "So it was a thrilling kind of read because I love the book so much."

Cloud Atlas is out now."

Australian reporter Alicia Malone spoke to Hugo (and Susan Sarandon) during the LA press junket back in October; I'll include the YouTube clip of that interview under the next cut, along with Metro.co.uk's joint Hugo Weaving/Susan Sarandon interview and a link Yahoo UK's video featuring Hugo and Bae Doona tackling The Reincarnation Question in Berlin last November.

Alicia Malone's Movie Minute:

Some other Hugo Weaving quotes Malone posted at The Brag:
"That’s the thing that interests me… how the actions you take in your life reverberate somehow, and often the things you are doing in your life are as a consequence of the people who may have been connected to you in time, geography or culture. If you extrapolate that idea, we’re all connected in some way. That butterfly effect. Every action you make has an effect on everyone else in the world, to some extent .

“I get on extremely well with both of [the Wachowskis] and I love them very much. I’m always challenged and stimulated by them and their ideas. I never used to get separate notes from them, which would be the main difference. They’re more individuated than before.[T]owards the end [of filming], the cameos grew. All the actors were saying, ‘I want to be in that story too. Can I play… anything?"

Here's the Metro.co.uk interview, with introduction included to demonstrate why some of the interview questions end up being so incorrigibly silly:

Ross McD interviewed the cast and crew of Cloud Atlas at a round table press junket in LA. In part three he meets Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon…

11AM Beverly Hills, Los Angeles – Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon

Uh-oh. Things have taken a sour turn. Hollywood royalty may be about to walk in, but at least one person isn’t preoccupying himself with rolling out the red carpet. No sooner have Whishaw and D’Arcy left the room when the Italian lights up on one of the female South African journos, apparently for cutting across one of his monologue/questions.

‘I’m trying to get one quote, and you start….’

‘What. Is. Cloud. Atlas? Four words,’ she suggests.


‘I don’t give a f**k what you think.’
‘But you took too long.’

‘I don’t give a sh*t.’

‘IF YOU COULD all take you seats,’ a PA announces to the room through a rather intense smile, ‘we are ready for Susan and Hugo.’

‘We should also put down things to tape what you say,’ Susan smiles, wryly eyeing the Dictaphones – and perhaps concerned for her safety, having sniffed the tail end of a potential journo brawl.

Hugo smiles, no stranger to brawls under the Wachowskis, having played the iconic Agent Smith in all three Matrixes. He’s rocking an impressively shaggy beard right now and couldn’t look any further from the impeccable computer program. Unless he were to dress up as a sadistic, hulking blonde female nurse, I suppose….

‘You’ve worked with the Wachowski’s before, in what way was it different this time?’ One of the Japanese journos wanted to know.

‘It was very similar. The first time we met we hit it off very quickly, and it feels like I’ve been laughing and raving with them for years, so…’

‘You know raving means something entirely different in this country?’ Susan advises him in her trademark playful tone. ‘It involves certain drugs, dancing, sweating…’

‘Oh it does? I meant talking a lot,’ Hugo clarifies.

‘It was like a circus,’ said Susan, who worked under the Wachowskis on Speed Racer. ‘The fact that people were playing big parts and little parts and giving up their egos and their iconic status and just jumping in… and Hugh Grant going naked with tattoos was hilarious. It set this feeling like you were kind of at Camp Cloud Atlas.’

And like a circus, the fun and frivolity of the surface are firmly rooted in meticulous choreography: the casting was not just an aimlessly assembled ensemble.

The joy of being an actor is that you have this opportunity to be many different people in one lifetime, that’s kind of the point,’ Susan explained. ‘My characters all have a kind of spirituality and are a little bit more enlightened, whatever; [Hugo's] are a little bit more controlled and maybe somewhat more evil. They had done that when they cast, it wasn’t just a haphazard kind of filling in. And then people were begging to be in stories they weren’t in and wanted to play little parts…’

Hugo added: ‘But that character had to, in some way, have an acceptable link or time link to the other characters they might have played.’

‘I think the idea of changing genders and colours, having the opportunity for a Korean actress to play a Mexican and everyone to play another gender, somehow underneath it all, the film subliminally breaks down and makes this fluidity the point of the film. No matter how the wrapping is underneath, the spirit and the humanity is consistent,’ Susan went on. ‘Even though they don’t hit you over the head with it, it was something that affected us – not just popping contact lenses in and chins and noses and stuff, but the idea of actually getting a chance of walking in someone else’s moccasins and be a man for a day.’

Of all the worlds we’ve visited today so far, this pairing appear to be most confident that the film will be a success. Are they?

I think it is a success,’ Susan claims. ‘Are you talking about commercial success? I think it is extraordinary this film was made, and it signals to the industry an opportunity to break a mould.’

From early reviews, one of the fears surrounding whether or not the film will indeed be a commercial success overall is that it’s trying to be too clever, and that audiences just might not get it.

But, according to Susan, there is a hunger among cinemagoers for something different: ‘I think that the public is much smarter than anybody thinks and they don’t need to see the same movie six times, they don’t need to have everything be derivative.

‘I’m sure there will be some people who will go in and say “Oh my God, what is this?” in the first five minutes.

‘I have a sister, you take her to France and she orders a pizza, and she’s disappointed that it’s not like in New York. She’s just not a good traveller. You need people who are good travellers who can surrender and say “Okay, this is something new” and be excited and not threatened.’

‘And we all did that, and really had the most extraordinary time,’ Hugo adds. ‘And that’s enough, that’s reward in itself for us, regardless of whether its financially successful or not. Of course you hope that it is because that means a lot of people have seen it and hopefully were moved in the same way we were. But, beyond that, it’s not really a concern.’

As one of the Japanese journalists correctly points out, Susan is one of a handful of actors who seems to get work consistently – is it down to the roles she chooses, luck, or something else?

‘Well I’m playing supporting parts – a lot of men won’t do that,’ she replies, matter-of-factly. ‘I see myself as a character actor, and if a project is exciting and the other people I’m working with are good…I do a lot of first time directors, so I’m the go to person for that.

‘I’ve always been kind of outside of the system, so if somebody sends me something and I haven’t done it before and I think it’ll be fun – and I don’t have to be there for five months for a smaller part – as long as I’m still having fun, then I’ll keep doing it.’

CJ: As a lifelong American, I'd have to say that, apart from a brief period in the 1990s, Hugo's definition of "rave" is most common here. But maybe Sarandon has spent too much time in LA. 😉

Yahoo UK asked several actors The Reincarnation Question again; Hugo gave a slightly different response this time around (the interview was taped in Berlin) than when the same question came up in LA. I'll try to embed, but since non-YouTube embeds typically fail here lately (grrrrr!) click here if no video appears. Very interesting to note the falcon/falcon handler answers from D'Arcy and Whishaw given Hugo's casting in Healing. 😉

Cloud Atlas Press Articles:

  • Interviews with the actors who attended the UK premiere (Hugh Grant, James D'Arcy, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent) at FilmBeat
  • Alicia Malone's cast interviews with Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess and Jim Broadbent are excerpted at The Brag (Beat Magazine reposts the same piece)
  • BBC News coverage and cast interviews of the Cloud Atlas UK premiere
  • James D'Arcy's Glasgow Film Fest interview promoting Cloud Atlas
  • The Guardian's assessment of how Warner Bros marketing might have hurt its US box office take (the film is now close to recouping its $100 million budget, thanks to more enlightened overseas audiences)
  • An uproarious Jim Sturgess/James D'Arcy interview using fan questions at Total Film
  • There are in-depth interviews with the visual effects artists and production photos showing how key scenes evolved at Flickering Myth
  • Tom Tykwer radio interview on BBC4's The Film Programme
  • Great Jim Broadbent Radio Times interview in which the actor excoriates Hollywood award shows that snubbed the film
  • Empire Online Q&A/Behind the Scenes feature with Jim Stugess and James D'Arcy  (Who discuss how that their death scenes at the hands of Hugh Grant and Hugo, respectively, were "fun")
  • Cloud Atlas's Scotland locations are detailed in The Scotsman (including the Glasgow street– pretending to be San Francisco– where Bill Smoke tries to run down Luisa Rey, and the Scott Monument, where Frobisher watches his lover Sixsmith search for him)
  • James D'Arcy interviews at TheView.co.uk, The Belissimo Files, Spin 1038
  • Filmosphere's interview with conceptual artist Adam Cuczsek (French)
  • Parkes Champion Post Tom Tykwer interview/Cloud Atlas preview
  • Making-of featurette in The Age (featuring interviews with the directors).
Also, if you are a fan of James D'Arcy or Jim Sturgess, do check out JamesD'ArcyForum.net and/or Jim Stugess Online for many, many more pics and articles covering the UK premiere of Cloud Atlas. These communities and their mods have provided critical assistance and boundless enthusiasm during these giddy months of Cloud Atlas coverage.

New Cloud Atlas Reviews: DianaBabe.com, Best For Film, Colourless Opinions, MoveMeez, Blogomatic 3000, Comic Buzz, MovieMail.com, Bring The Noise, BanterFlix, The Establishing Shot, ViewLondon.co.uk, Popcorn Addict, Express.co.uk, Mild Concern, PreviewFiilms.com.au, Get-Reel.net, The Film Cricket, London, Hollywood, Tim The Film Guy, Den of Geek (middling review including some amusing errors, demonstrating that a lot of people dissing certain elements of the film failed to really pay attention), Movie Ramblings, TheArtsDesk.com, Flickering Myth, Ed's Electronics Review, Impact Online, The Australian, SFX.co.uk, Empire Online, Marked Movies, Triptothepictures, Lisa Thatcher, FMV Magazine, Female First, The Bioscopist, The Celluloid Sage, The Movie Bit, TV and Film Review, Film 4, Monday Movie Show, The Irish Examiner, The Film Pie, Platform Online, Alienationmentale, Implied Subjectivity, DUSA Media, Mac Robinson, TheMusic.com.au, The 500 Club, Raybeard, Fanatical Film, Quickflix, Pieces of Reece, The Digital Fix, LeftLion.co.uk, Insights.uca.org, Cambridge Tab, The Statesman, The Sydney Morning Herald, At The Movies, M/C Reviews, Expand Your Canvas, 3aw.com.au, West Sussex County Times, Mustache Magazine, Inside 7th Art, Shadowplay, Social Intercourse, Cinema with Sarah O'Connor, The Big Brown Chair, Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop, Rip It Up and The Blend. [Takes a deep breath!…] 😉  It should be noted that the vast majority of these are positive and thoughtfully written, and that Cloud Atlas has quickly become one of Hugo's most-reviewed and internationally celebrated projects. Not bad for a film misleadingly labelled a "failure" in the shallower corners of the US media.

Finally, as far as Cloud Atlas is concerned, the US DVD/BluRay finally has a firm release date (May 14) and can now be preordered at Amazon and other retailers (I encourage fans to shop around, as always). The BluRay package will include the DVD and download versions, seven new featurettes  and cast interviews, but– as we've become accustomed to from the Wachowskis– no deleted scenes. For additional details and the frustratingly pedestrian (IMO) box art, check out HighDefDiscNews, Home Theater Forum, We Got This Covered, JoBlo.com

My friend Abigail wants Hugo Weaving fans to know that if you simply want a new, random Hugo photo or film still every day without so much text to get through, she's started a new community here called Daily Hugo Weaving Photo.

Waiting For Godot News: Though Sydney Theatre Company's new production of the Samuel Beckett classic (costarring Richard Roxburgh) is still several months away, tickets are already scarce, thanks to record box-office sales. More details at Aussie Theatre. And finally, in NIDA/STC News, a young actor named Harry Greenwood, who recently graduated from NIDA, has been cast in his first Sydney Theatre Company production, The Fury. Any similarities to another young NIDA alum who first made a splash at STC in the early 1980s are purely coincidental, no doubt. 😉

Cloud Atlas UK Premieres and Reviews; Healing Begins Filming; Hugo Weaving Interviews (Beijing, LA)

Note: this is an archived entry. Some links might not still work, but I have tried to ensure scan and video embeds are still in place. If any linked material is unavailable, please let me know and I’ll attempt to find a copy in my personal archives.

Hugo Weaving is probably hard at work on the set of Healing, his latest Australian film, which begins shooting in Victoria today. Alas, there are no images of him on set yet; Pointblank Pictures' latest updates include a copy of the film's press release and a note about the casting of actor Tony Briggs as another prison warden.  Many websites have passed along news of the project, including a heartening number of mainstream movie sites– we'll have to see how many actually cover or promote the film properly when it's actually released about this time in 2014. 😉 None of these internet reports includes any additional data, and most just repeat Pointblank's synopsis or director Craig Monahan's brief comments excerpted here last week. But they're worth a look for the different Hugo photos, I guess… FilmInk deserves praise for actually posting a recent one (see below). 😉 Anyhow, you can read these reports at Movies.ie, Marquee Management (Robert Taylor casting announcement), The Hollywood Reporter, JoBlo.com, Dark Horizons, Actucine (French), Braindamaged (French), Cine Maldito (Spanish), Primer Plano News (Spanish), Music News Australia, Dream Movie Cast, The Sydney Morning Herald, Snarkerati and Ain't It Cool News. The Chillin' With Geek Soul Brother podcast throws the project a mention 24 minutes in. (And if you're a genre geek, you'll want to give the whole thing a listen.)

Hugo Weaving, 2012, Cloud Atlas LA Press Conference Photo: Vera Andreson/WireImage

Cloud Atlas continued its gradual global roll-out with premieres at the Jameson's Dublin International Film Festival on February 16 and Glasgow International Film Festival on the 17th; there was also a London premiere earlier today. James D'Arcy covered promotional duties at the two festivals while Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant joined him at the London event.

L to R: Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, James D'Arcy, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess at the Cloud Atlas London premiere at The Curzon Mayfair, 18 February 2013.  Photo: David J Hogan/Getty Images.

For a selection of additional London premiere photos, go here; Jim Sturgess Online also has a nice batch.

Of course, Hugo couldn't be in two places at once, so he was unable to attend; the multiple premieres have given all of the cast members their chance to shine (or their turn at promotional chores, depending on how you want to look at it.) 😉 While Hugo's never been a fan of red carpet events per se, he's done more to promote Cloud Atlas than just about any other film he's done, attending premieres as far-flung as Toronto, Berlin, Moscow and Beijing. (He also did a few days of interviews in Los Angeles last fall, but skipped the official premiere there.)

Several UK and international papers and websites have run Hugo's promotional interviews with Susan Sarandon for Cloud Atlas; all were recorded last October in Los Angeles; some are re-edited versions of previously-seen material, but all are worth a look if you missed them the first time. The Huffington Post UK shared this video interview. [Note: Apparently, despite several format redesigns, LJ is still not very accommodating about embedding from non-YouTube sources. But go ahead and click here for a look.] Note: this isn't "exclusive" or even "new", but a re-edited version of the longer "Generic Interview" of Weaving and Sarandon posted to many sites last fall; that said, it's very entertaining and worth a look. Or another look. 😉

And TOM Magazine posted the complete transcript of Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon's AP Roundtable interview from last October in LA. I'll add the text under the cut:

Susan Sarandon and Hugo Weaving: Cloud Atlas

QUESTION:  When you look in the mirror and see yourself in all that make-up, do you ever recognize yourself?

SUSAN SARANDON:  The only time in my life, and I’ve had lots of prosthetics in my life, that I have not recognized myself was when I had the Indian man make-up on.  And I think it was because of the contacts, really.  Because even in Enchanted, when I had the hag makeup, which hopefully didn’t look too much like myself, I had my own eyes.  In this, I wore contacts, which was the first time I’ve ever surrendered to the contact thing.  And, in fact, there were two teams of contact supervisors who just put the contacts in and took them out, there were so many flying around.

QUESTION:  Were each of your segments done in complete, or were there ever times when you were overlapping with other segments?

SUSAN SARANDON:  Are you kidding.  Take it, Hugo.

HUGO WEAVING:  No, unless you had a character that was just sort of there for a couple of scenes, and you did that on the one day, that was the only time that happened.  But, with a continuing character, absolutely not.  I think I started and ended the film with the same character.

SUSAN SARANDON:  But, you had one week where you did five or six characters.

HUGO WEAVING:  Yeah.  In one week sometimes you might be jumping from one to the other, from one day to the next.  But, in a funny way.  I mean, I’ve remarked on that, because I thought, ‘Oh, this is unusual.’  But, actually, when you’re doing it, on the day, you just focused on that one particular character and life and storyline.

SUSAN SARANDON:  It was more of a problem for the people who had to serve us up.  The scheduling and the makeup department was just moving.

HUGO WEAVING:  Imagine six totally different storylines, with all the actors playing in all of those stories, and then trying to schedule that.  It was an absolute nightmare and, of course, they said this schedule is set in stone; it can’t change.  And then Halle went and broke her ankle after two weeks and so the whole schedule changed quite regularly after that. But, it was pretty phenomenal the way they organized it.

QUESTION:  Did you use the multiple storylines as back stories to what you were playing, or were they all separate?

SUSAN SARANDON:  When you’re doing it, you’re not thinking outside of it, that metaphysical thing.  But, I think when you watch it, it’s quite clear that that’s what’s happening.  But, as Hugo said, you’re focusing completely on what you have to do that day and what that character knows and what that character wants.  It’s their job to leave it together.  Wouldn’t you say?

HUGO WEAVING:  Yeah, absolutely, you just focused on one thing on the day.  You can’t think about all the other characters.  But, having said that bit, prior to shooting, there was a sense with my six characters that there was definitely a journey, if you like, and a link between them.  They all seemed to have a similar sort of thrust, if you like.

So, there’s definitely a link between all of them, and a lot of them serve a similar sort of functional purpose within each story.

QUESTION:  Was there ever a moment where you were playing two characters in the same scene?

HUGO WEAVING:  No.  The editing definitely does that.  So, you might leave one room and enter another as another character.  That’s certainly happened.  Or, there might be a line that you say that then obviously reverberates over something else that is pertinent to another one of your characters in another story.

SUSAN SARANDON:  And when they were assigning the characters to different actors, like Hugo’s all have one thrust.  And Tom starts out as this evil person and works his way through to redemption. Mine were all kind of spiritual, or more enlightened.

HUGO WEAVING:  So, in that way, the doing of it wasn’t radically different from day to day, because you’re just focusing on staying with it.

SUSAN SARANDON:  What was radically different was the ensemble spirit, the repertory spirit that you just don’t find in films, this kind of horizontal organization of power.  So, even the people that had big parts were playing little parts.  Everyone’s together in the trailer, and there’s this festive kind of Cirque du Soleil spirit.  Tattoos coming on and all the noses.

HUGO WEAVING:  It was very infectious.

SUSAN SARANDON:  And the bravery.  I got there mid-shoot and I was scared because I didn’t know what was happening.  And it was a different tone.  It was so festive and so brave and people just jumping from one thing to the next.  So all the egos were left outside and that’s very rare in a film.  You get it in theater, but you don’t have an opportunity, really, to experience that in a film.  That was such a gift, really.

HUGO WEAVING:  And when you have multiple characters, there’s less preciousness about one of them, because there are many. That’s kind of bright.

QUESTION:  Did you feel that even though you were playing such diverse characters that there was a through line and you were playing the soul of a person for over 500 years?

HUGO WEAVING:  I think intellectually I understood that that was certainly a theme and a concept.  And I certainly made a thread between all those souls, if you like, or that one soul.  But then, as we were saying, once that’s there, the experience of playing each one had to be separate.

They’re in their own lifetimes, not aware of their link to someone else, unless they were perhaps an enlightened character.

SUSAN SARANDON:  Who gets to say what the theme of the film is.


SUSAN SARANDON:  But, I think the audience is the one that makes the connection.


SUSAN SARANDON:  We had a special little screening in Chicago for the cast and some of the crew, and we could see it.  We were laughing at certain things.  But then we hit Toronto and having an audience made such a huge difference.  Hearing them laugh so hard and ooh and boo.  That was my opportunity to actually hear a lot of the phrases that are very subtly repeated.  And things that happen visually, I hadn’t caught a lot of it and I was glad that I saw it a second time, because I liked it even more, actually.

I appreciated their skill in dovetailing all the stories much more.  Because they could have just done them in blocks.  But this whole idea of a door closing, another one opening, literally, and watching how the music works and everything, I was able to appreciate a lot of it much more the second time.

QUESTION:  Do you have any personal feelings about the theme of the regeneration of the soul through different lifetimes and all of that?

HUGO WEAVING:  I wouldn’t necessarily believe in reincarnation, but I certainly believe that all the actions that you take in your life stem from a belief, even if that belief is not conscious, even if it’s an instinctive sort of belief.  And those actions have an effect on other people around you, of course.  And then, those actions have reverberations into the future and can change people’s lives in the future.  So, I certainly believe in that sense of the cyclical nature of human life.

SUSAN SARANDON:  And I feel that how you spend your energy is how you create yourself.  Every day you have to be awake and aware and understand the ramifications and the reverberations.  And, at the same time, the people come into your life and jobs come into your life and children come into your life, that seems somehow to take you in a new direction that you maybe were longing for, but didn’t expect.  So, what you have to do is be flexible and awake, because certainly my life and the serendipity in my life is far more imaginative than I could have been if I had a plan.

I’m actually here because all my plans failed, so I celebrate that in this film.  It excites me, the serendipity of life.  It excites me the adventure that you don’t know what’s coming, from where it is, that will be handed up.  That’s up to you, then, to use.  That’s where the free will comes into it.

But if you’ve lost someone and you see their body when they’re dead, it’s clear that they’re not there.  So, whatever that essence is, energy, who knows what happens to that or where that goes.  So, maybe not, as Hugo says, the packaging, but there is some fabulous mystery and the cause and effect that happens in your life that you’re not aware of even how you affect people.

QUESTION:  What were the challenges of working with three directors, Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer?

HUGO WEAVING:  In this instance, really, there was no challenge about working with Lana and Andy and Tom.  Lana and Andy are very sort of in-tune anyway.  And they had met Tom some time before they came up with this project, and they loved his films and admired him and met him, and they all got on so well they kept wanting to see each other.  And then they decided that they should probably one day do a film together, whatever that might be.

And then it was over another period of time talking about what that project would be.  Cloud Atlas came up and they read that and talked about that and got excited about that.  So, once the script had been written and they’d worked on that together and finally managed to raise all the money, they got the team together.

I’d worked with Lana and Andy before, but when I met Tom, I was on Skype and he sort of bounded into this frame and Lana and Andy were there and Tom bounded into the background.  The three of them are going, ‘Hi, Hugo,’  And I thought, these three are so in-tune and so well suited to being together.  And that was after a lengthy pre-production period.

They just seem to be extraordinarily, all incredibly well-prepared, highly intelligent, very open to each other, and great lovers of actors and film.  And they share very similar ideas about life.  So, it was really not a challenge working with any of them at all.

QUESTION:  What was it like working with their different directing styles?

HUGO WEAVING:  As an actor, you work with different directors all the time, and we were never on the same set.  There was only one day that I saw them on the same set, because Tom had a shutdown period for one day.  But they never had to direct altogether anyway.  They sorted it beforehand.

SUSAN SARANDON:  They wrote it together.  So, they were literally on the same page and they spent that time, I think, battling everything out ahead of time, and trying to understand exactly how to make that happen.  And they delight in each other.

HUGO WEAVING:  Yeah, they do.

SUSAN SARANDON:  And, actually, they celebrate each other.  There’s no sense of competition.  It’s really fantastic.

HUGO WEAVING:  It’s very joyous seeing them all together.  It’s great.  What I find remarkable is that they not only manage to make this one, but then, all were all together in the editing process.  Now, that’s more interesting.

I mean, I have talked to them about it and they said, ‘Look, to be honest, it was difficult and we had to lose some of the things we loved most,’ but I think they said they had maybe one day where it was problematic and they had to think.  But, it wasn’t to do with a clash of personalities; it was just a difficult decision that they had to make.  They’re very well suited to each other.  And they’re very giving, generous people.  But they’re no dummies.

SUSAN SARANDON:  And Tom did the music.  So, that contribution wouldn’t have been there if he hadn’t been there.

And the Wachowskis are in such an interesting place right now, and the difference between how things were directed during Speed Racer, which was a completely different kind of cartoon, very exacting kind of thing, I think that this was much looser and much more funny than that.

QUESTION:  The Wachowskis seem to have become more open to press with this film.  Do you have the sense that they’ve changed over the years that you’ve known them?

HUGO WEAVING:  I have always found them wonderfully easy and joyous to be with.  From the moment I met them, we clicked and have laughed from that day on.  So, they’re very warm, smart, lovely people.

They’re just very shy and very protective of their privacy.  Some people find it very hard to be in this situation.  Talking to a vast audience or to a small group can be difficult.

SUSAN SARANDON:  Also, I think that what happens in this film subliminally, with the actors playing many different parts and with the stories being edited in a certain way and everything else, is that even though they don’t talk about it in the movie, subliminally what happens is this fluidity of gender and race and age and period.  Part of what happens is that you understand that this is everyone, no matter what the wrapping is, that that spirit of that person, the humanity, is what we all have in common.

I think it’s a gift to journalists that now is the time when they’re doing this, that they have something that is even bigger that has encouraged them to step out.  I mean, you’d have to talk to them about it, but it’s a very different kind of film with what they’ve asked the actors to do and what they’ve done, and the collaboration.  I think it’s just a very special moment in time where the work and the artists, they’re in a different place, and it’s a very brave thing for them to do it.

HUGO WEAVING:  Lots of changes have gone on.  But, fundamentally, these two people are of very much the same spirits that I first met the first day I met them years ago.  And they’re truly wonderful.

* * *

Note: If you missed the delectable audio version of this interview last fall, you can grab a copy here through February 25. Thanks again to Liz at Jim Sturgess Online for making this available. 🙂

… And here's a hitherto unseen photo from the 8 September 2012 premiere of Cloud Atlas in Toronto:

Hugo Weaving and Katrina Greenwood at TIFF   Photo: Tyler Ledger via Facebook

New Cloud Atlas reviews continue to appear worldwide; the latest positive (or mixed but well-written) ones can be read at South China Morning Post, Kitten of Discord, IZ Reloaded, The Daily Record, The Sun Daily, The Wild Bore, The Hollywood News, The Upcoming, Hayes At The Movies, Box Office Buzz and Failed Critics. There's also an interesting article about Lana Wachowski, the film's depiction of fluid identities, and how this is challenging the media (and hopefully, those so stuck in old political-correctness tropes that they misconstrue the film's makeup and intentions) at F News Magazine.

In other Hugo Weaving News, Sydney Theatre Company's box office began selling single tickets for Beckett's Waiting For Godot, which will reteam Hugo with Richard Roxburgh, on February 11. Sydney Morning Herald reported the next day that STC's website and phonelines promtly crashed due to demand, prompting apologies on Twitter. According to STC's website, tickets for Godot (and The Maids, costarring Cate Blanchett and Isabel Huppert, another mega-draw) remain available, but if you want to go and haven't bought tickets yet, ACT FAST. 😉 Tickets will probably be sold on eBay and via various ticket-brokers at extortionate prices… and STC often hold blocks of tickets to select shows back to make available closer to a play's engagement. The play runs November 12-December 14 this year; the play's webpage can direct you to best ticket availability; several nights are already sold out. No word yet on international tours, but with demand like this, you gotta have hope. (A rival production of Godot starring Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will play on Broadway later this year.) The Irish Echo also reported on the booming ticket sales for this production, so there is worldwide interest.

Finally, thanks to Elisa at Random Scribblings for uploading Hugo's recent Chinese media interviews to YouTube so I can finally embed them here. I'll include links back to the original pages as well:

from Ent.163.com

from TV.Sohu.com

from v.qq.com (interview with Hugo, The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer)

from Sina.com.cn

from ent.ifeng.com

compilation of m.1905.com videos of the premiere

All are well worth a look if you didn't check them out when I posted the links around the time of the Beijing premiere; Hugo gave some of his most in-depth videos in recent memory to Sina, iFeng and particularly Ent.163.

I hope we'll have some news or photos from the Healing set soon!   

Hugo Weaving Flickr Archive Update, New Articles, Interviews and Reviews Since Jan. 1

Note: this is an archived entry. Some links might not still work, but I have tried to ensure scan and video embeds are still in place. If any linked material is unavailable, please let me know and I’ll attempt to find a copy in my personal archives.

There hasn't been any earthshattering breaking news since the first of the year (or the last update), but many new articles and reviews of Hugo's films Cloud Atlas (which has still not debuted in Australia and the UK, where it's due next month) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey continue to appear. I'll also share links to a bunch of new scans I uploaded to Flickr about these films and a few others, and some video embeds that are either newly available in higher-res formats, or are newly available on YouTube.

Hugo began filming his role in the compendium project The Turning in early December. This was probably the reason he opted out of most of the post-Wellington Hobbit premieres, though I wouldn't say it pained him to skip a few more red carpets. Hugo referenced the film in an 3AW Radio interview conducted at the Wellington premiere (and shared in the previous Hugonuts entry), and The Turning's Twitter feed confirmed that filming on Hugo's segment (entitled "The Commission", directed by none other than David Wenham) commenced on December 10. Given the brisk pace of filming on most independent films, and the fact that this is in effect a short film that will appear in a themed compilation rather than an individual feature-length project, it's entirely possible Hugo's work on this project has been completed. The Turning will premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival this coming July, and some international distribution rights are already lined up, though no formal release dates have been announced.

Hugo was also spotted in attendance at the premiere of Sydney Theatre Company's well-regarded new production of The Secret River, according to The Australian (and many Twitter fans). Alas, he eluded photographers– not that he should really be expected to pose for paparazzi when he's simply an audience member. 😉 Hugo's former costars Anita Hegh (Last Ride), Jeremy Sims (Riflemind) and Bruce Spence (The Matrix Revolutions, Wendy Cracked A Walnut) are in the cast, and the production was directed by his old friend/former stage director Neil Armfield.

There have been a pair of bona fide new interviews… sort of. 😉

News.com.au posted what was billed as a new Hugo Weaving interview back on 2 January, but in fact it was recycled brief  comments from other Wellington Hobbit red carpet interviews. 😉 The print version features an obvious transcription error in addition to the same great Hobbit set photo (with Ian McKellen) :

The scandalously missing/misplaced #2 is as follows: 2. PARTY ON, BILBO:"Maybe they should have it as a national day every year," Weaving said at the premiere – well, with two more Hobbit movies to come this year and next, they probably will! "It feels like a country celebrating its own culture. The film presents New Zealand culture so beautifully, that's why people here love it so much."

Of more interest is a longer interview featured in the Mexican newspaper El Universal (and its online edition.) Hugo's promoting Cloud Atlas in this one, but it never mentions if it was conducted recently or back in the fall when Hugo was involved in press junkets for the film in Toronto, Los Angeles, Moscow and Berlin. I'll include the original print version below, along with an approximate translation of Hugo's comments; you'll notice a certain consistency in his remarks on this film and his career goals, but he finds an interesting way to put things each time.

On his favorite Cloud Atlas role: ""I like them all for different reasons, but the part I enjoyed most was Old Georgie, he isn't really a living person, but a figure representing the fear in the mind of the character of Tom Hanks plays in the [postapocalyptic Zachry storyline]. That was a thrill, an interesting challenge for everyone involved in the way it was filmed and because fear is not typically described visually, it is, rather, something you feel, [so] probably was the most interesting to me. "

On his preferred environment and causes: "I'm not very passionate about Los Angeles…Unlike my characters in Cloud Atlas, who want to control reality and try to limit the imagination, selfishly, I just started using a cellphone last year; I plant trees, read books and I can not drive a car. I'm interested in reality. I try to spend time with people and not objects, I am in favor of the organic and animals…We have a limited ability to change the life of the world, but that does not mean you should stop trying to do it, [It's like] one of the scenes in the movie that speaks of the evolutionists, about [how much we should be willing to personally risk to effect incremental change], but at any rate you do what is correct for you and do the movies you believe in and that speak of themes you believe in and do what you can through generating dialogue with people"

On working with the Wachowskis, and his career goals: ""I think they are extraordinary and take risks in achieving their purposes, but they are great human beings, essentially involving talented people in their projects and allowing them to grow with them and inject their own complexities in something that is already complex from inception; I like their movies and be with them, they're inspiring… One of the reasons I wanted to do this project (Cloud Atlas) is the risk posed, to start with, the original book is a bold work of imagination; author David Mitchell structured the story in a peculiar way [The] story had to be presented differently in a cinematic language, and Andy and Lana Wachowski are directors who like to take risks, trying to break the rules. They imagine doing something differently and seek [new means of] expression. Sometimes the results are not successful, but the interesting thing is that they [aren't hindered] and find an extraordinary way to tell a story with each new film proposal …I remember with V for Vendetta I encouraged the Wachowski to give me the character because my face is never on screen and I'm proud of that particular character. I do not care if I appear in a film hiding my face, because what interest me are the characters…I work a lot in theater and cutting-edge independent films, where I have many roles. [Most people probably] identify me as the villain from Matrix, but if I had to do that sort of character every time or play characters with no depth, that would not interest me. I like to play characters that are fully human, with all sorts of complexities and individual personalities, but I've been typecast playing the villain in Hollywood films. "

As I mentioned earlier, I was finally able to take some time to scan a batch of print articles that had been collecting since summer… none have a ton of Hugo content and none are exclusive interviews (the Oklahoman piece features an interview with Hugo and Susan Sarandon which previously appeared online) , or I'd have gotten around to it earlier. However, they're worth a look for fans of Cloud Atlas and The Hobbit (there are also pieces on Oranges and Sunshine, Mystery Road and a curio on 1986's For Love Alone.)

New York Daily News Hobbit Preview Part One, Part Two (Includes interviews with Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett; a companion piece to this Hugo Weaving interview which appeared only online.)

New Zealand Dominion Post Hobbit Premiere Preview (features cast photos taken at other events, including one of Hugo at the Berlin Cloud Atlas premiere)

Oklahoman Cloud Atlas interview with Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon

STC's Les Liaisons Dangereuses included in Sydney Morning Herald's list of Best Australian Theatre 2012

A brief update on Ivan Sen's Mystery Road (and a reprint of the astonishingly lovely photo of Hugo and Aaron Pedersen) from The Brisbane Courier-Mail

Aaron Pedersen and Hugo Weaving in the forthcoming Mystery Road

USA Today Weekend Hobbit preview/Martin Freeman interview

TIME Ian McKellen interview

Tribune Media Tom Hanks interview/Cloud Atlas preview

Tribune Media Cate Blanchett interview/Uncle Vanya preview (the New York City Center run)

STC's 2013 Season brochure: Waiting For Godot, starring Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh. Page One, Page Two

Curzon magazine advertisements for Oranges and Sunshine: Poster ad, Blurb

David Mitchell's charming NY Times Magazine essay on the process of adapting his novel Cloud Atlas for the screen; also, a thoroughly charming interview from the New York Times Book Review.

New York Times Cloud Atlas preview, featuring interviews with the directors and Tom Hanks: Page One, Page Two

Ben Brantley (New York Times theater critic) includes STC's New York run of Uncle Vanya among his Best of 2012 picks

A vintage review of For Love Alone (a 1986 period piece in which Hugo Weaving and Sam Neill competed for Helen Buday's affections) from TV Scene

Entertainment Weekly's Fall Movie issue previews of The Hobbit and Cloud Atlas; also, their sneak peak of the first two film still from August and their positive (if slightly obnoxious and elitist review (Page One, Page Two.) And a brief interview with Halle Berry about her various guises in the film.

Ben Brantley's analysis of recent Chekhov productions in New York theaters, including more raves for the STC production of Uncle Vanya (Part One, Part Two)

Tom Hanks as Zachry gets some suspect advice from Old Georgie (Hugo Weaving) in Cloud Atlas

Online Cloud Atlas Articles: Cloud Atlas Among Art Directors' Guild Nominees (HitFix), The Independent predicted (correctly, as it tuens out) that "[Cloud Atlas's] huge ambition is likely prove too much for Academy voters [but] ignoring it will undoubtedly leave a very large elephant in the room", Movieline debunks Mary Pols' idiocy (as have many others), Lubbock Online includes Cloud Atlas in its Best of 2012 list, Unsolicited Criticism notes Jim Broadbent's performances among 2012's best, Slate justly excoriates the Academy (and it's overwhelmingly old, risk-averse membership) for snubbing Cloud Atlas, Den of Geek chimes in eloquently on the same subject, Awards Daily names the "all boundaries are conventions" sequence in CA one of the year's best (and I agree– I never got through it in four screenings without weeping). Though CA was snubbed for most major American movie awards, it was nominated by The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association’s (GALECA) for their Dorian Awards and for the German Film Awards (aka the "Lolas") in several categories.

Online Hobbit Articles: Peter Jackson Mourns Loss of Hobbit Sound Editor Mike Hopkins (Big Pond News), A detailed, lovingly written exposition of why The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is in fact true to Tolkien's intentions (Huffington Post), A thorough debunking of the asinine notion The Hobbit is a "box office disappointment" at TORN, The Tolkien Nerd's Guide to The Hobbit at Smithsonian Online, Flicks and Bits showcased a Desolation of Smaug fan-made poster that's as good as any of the official Hobbit posters. Headless Hollow described the experience of seeing The Hobbit: AUJ in the Wellington cinema where it premiered… on an ordinary screening night. (Nice pics too. And you can sit in seats commemorating various cast members.)

New Cloud Atlas Reviews: RubikunsReviews, The Society For Film, The Roosevelt News, Scene Contemporanee (Italian), Il Referendum (Italian), Cinemio (Italian), Seoul Sisters, Reel Drama Queen, Die Filmkritikerin (German), MyWorld (Italian), Spettacolo (Italian) and DiddlesMovies.

New Hobbit: AUJ Reviews: The Examiner, The Film Connoisseur, The Highlander, Pop Culture Guy, Into The Sunset, and Filumreviews.

And Alan Waldman included Oranges and Sunshine among his favorite 2012 films (despite the fact it opened in 2011 in most of the world)… proving great films are always new to someone, and that many need time to find their audiences. Oranges and Sunshine recently screened on BBC2 and is now featured on the US Starz/Encore cable channels.

New/Newly Enhanced Videos:

This "13 Minute TV Special" shared by ComingSoon.net on YouTube featured a combination of cast interviews and behind the scenes footage, including some that was new to me.

And the previously-seen B-Roll videos (some of which Warner's has taken down at their original locations, rather inexplicably) are now available in HD versions, courtesy JimiBWatson. I'll re-post all five; Hugo Weaving is seen in #3 and #5.

I was going to add an HD version of the Polish TV Cloud Atlas interview featuring Hugo Weaving and James D'Arcy jokingly taking the piss out of each other… but it's already been removed (again). Will add that one if it appears again… or I might have to take matters into my own hands. (Hugo's full interview from the Hobbit Wellington premiere live event STILL hasn't appeared online in any official form. Inexcusable.)  

With Cloud Atlas due to debut in several more key markets early next month, there should be an uptick in news soon, though no official, additional premieres have been announced. (I think Hugo might be "premiered out" for the time being anyhow.) 😉 I'll also get back to work on adding additional vintage web articles (2005 onwards) to the digital Flickr archive as time permits.

Hobbit Premiere Previews & News, Misc Cloud Atlas

Note: this is an archived entry. Some links might not still work, but I have tried to ensure scan and video embeds are still in place. If any linked material is unavailable, please let me know and I’ll attempt to find a copy in my personal archives.

It's been a quiet couple of weeks as far as new Hugo Weaving news is concerned, though videos, reviews and other articles from the Cloud Atlas premieres and press junkets continue to belatedly appear just as Hobbit hype is building to a fever pitch. I'll post the eclectic batch of new material that has appeared since my last entry, some of which is great enough that I wonder why it was held back for so long. (And I apologise for my lack of free time in recent days; though all of this previously appeared on my Twitter feed, I haven't had more than an hour or so on any given day to check my various alerts and sources for new material and tweet it forward… getting everything organized takes a bit longer.)

I'll start off with Hobbit news, as the various premiere dates have now been posted (by Ian McKellen, among others), and some of you might want to make plans. Everything gets underway on November 28 at 3pm in Wellington, NZ at The Embassy Theatre at Courtenay Place, where the official world premiere will be held. (Some hardy souls are supposedly already lined up for the event.)  Hugo Weaving is scheduled to attend, along with Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Peter Jackson, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage, Elijah Wood and all of the actors playing the company of Dwarves. Sir Ian McKellen has sent along his regrets that he'll be unable to make it, but he will be available for the New York and London premieres– more on those shortly. More details are available at TVNZ.co.nz (plus more here), The Dominion Post, Darren's World of Entertainment, and Canberra Journal. MeMyWorldMyStyle features some great pics of all the crazy promotional displays in Welllington, including a giant statue of Gandalf at the premiere venue and a very scary Gollum looming to greet visitors at the airport. 😉

Hugo is also slated to appear at the Japanese premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Tokyo at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills on 1 December along with Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage and Elijah Wood, according to MyMiddleEarthNews. This will be a private event, unlike the Wellington premiere, but since there will be a red carpet, I figure there should be some media coverage. Subsequent premieres will be held in New York on December 6 and in London (the Royal Premiere) on December 12 before the public opening on December 14. Ian McKellen has already RSVPed for the latter two events via his blog, but no additional actor confirmations have yet appeared. Hugo has tended to appear at some but not all of the major premieres for his major films, so we'll have to see how these play out. Tickets are already available for midnight screenings of the film at many US venues on December 13/14…. Yes, I succumbed and booked a seat in advance, for the full 3D/IMAX package. I have no idea if/where the 48 FPS version will be screened locally; that'll be something to research further in the coming weeks. You can read Peter Jackson's most recent blog post about his reasons for filming in HFR 3D on Facebook; there's also an article about the technology, and the paucity of venues now poised to take advantage of it, at Deadline.com.

Other Hobbit News: There are two new additional TV Spots from Warner Bros (I posted the first five, plus the Japanese preview and an informal behind-the-scenes video in my previous entry), a surprisingly good extended, fan-made trailer compiling all of the footage so far released from the film (totaling about 8 minutes) via /Film and a handy compilation of all the many new promo stills, behind the scenes pics and Making-of book previews (from MovieClips.com) under the cut:

Also: A new interview with Martin Freeman from The Dominion Post. Hugo hasn't yet done any press specifically for The Hobbit… though of course he's answered plenty of questions about it while doing press for Cloud Atlas and the US release of Last Ride. 😉

There is a surprising amount of new material from all of the Cloud Atlas premieres/engagements and press junkets of the past couple months, confirming my suspicion that the film will be a stealth cult classic which will build its audience gradually via word of mouth and secondary releases. Though that will be vindication for all of us who have championed the film, it is a bit frustrating because the film is so richly visual and cinematic– it deserves to be seen in the most optimal setting, which for those of us who aren't millionaires would be a cinema. Though Cloud Atlas has ended its initial US run in first-run cinemas, it is still onscreen in many second-run and college venues… I'll be going to see it again just before Christmas in one of my favorite college theaters if all goes well. So… don't miss this chance if you're still curious and haven't made it to a screening yet.

Perhaps the most interesting new Hugo Weaving piece was a brief interview (and new photo) conducted during the October 13-14 Los Angeles press junket as part a series of venerable character actor profiles for DuJour. Hugo was one of six actors profiled, the others being Michael Caine (the possible inspiration for Bill Smoke's 70s hair) ;), Dustin Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin and Ray Liotta. I don't think Liotta is in the same class as the others, but it's a classy group, and I admired the notion of grouping them together. I just wish the article hadn't been an excuse for an unnecessary fashion spread, and that the interviews focused more on acting and accomplishment than image. Somehow when I think of Hugo, fashion and palm trees in LA isn't the first thing that leaps to mind… and he looks somewhat uncomfortable in this shot. (Hugo has lamented "being made a clothes horse" in more in-depth pieces elsewhere, and has worn the same suit to most of the premieres he's attended over the past five or six years. So I have to laugh on the few occasions where he's photographed in trendoid threads accompanied by price lists… especially because you can't really discern the designer clothes very well in the photo. 😉 ) But the concept behind the piece is admirable, the company distinguished, and Hugo comes off seeming modest and thoughtful. Here's his photo and the full text of his interview/profile; you can see similar pieces on the other five actors and photos of them at the site itself.


There are two types of people who recognize Hugo Weaving. “If I was in Sydney and bumped into someone who goes to the theater a lot, they would know me from the opera house,” says the celebrated Australian actor, who seems to specialize in intellectual stage work and massive blockbusters. “But a majority of people would know me as Agent Smith.”

At the time of this interview, Weaving, 52, was indeed most recognizable for his role as the hard-to-kill G-man in The Matrix trilogy. But that was before Cloud Atlas. In the film, directed by Matrix masterminds Lana and Andy Wachowski, Weaving plays six different characters—including one that isn’t male and one that isn’t even human.

For Weaving, whose next big project is Peter Jackson’s new Hobbit trilogy, the challenge was thrilling. “Any character you do is complex,” he says. “It’s always a little scary, and if it’s not why would you want to do it.”

And as far as taking on roles that endear him to either Sydney’s theatergoers or multiplex hordes, Weaving is at peace with his fate. “I think everyone is pigeonholed and that’s fine,” he says. “As long as I can keep creating and being excited by the material I’m working on, I’ll be forever grateful.

For the record, I don't think it's OK to pigeonhole actors, and I think Hugo is referring to how others (mis)perceive him– which no actor can control– rather than the real substance of his best work. Obviously, he's trying his best to avoid typecasting at this stage in his career. (Christopher Walken, who has been plagued by even crazier typecasting for decades, has admirably taken a similar stance in recent years. He'll still play the odd psychopath, but the writing has to be self aware and up to snuff.) 😉 Also– odd that they would completely omit mention of Hugo's independent films, which makes me wonder if this wasn't truncated from the press conference where Hugo made similar comments about how different audiences perceive him.

Several Cloud Atlas video interviews with various Cloud Atlas cast members have also been posted online over the past couple of weeks. Most are from the Berlin premiere, some are from Moscow. I'll also include all four of the German Behind the Scenes compilations, including one I hadn't previously shared.

Berlin premiere interviews with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Bae Doona, James D'Arcy, Ben Whishaw via Julie the Movie Girl:

(I posted her premiere/red carpet footage in a prior entry; you can also see it here.)

Here's a dual interview with Hugo and Bae Doona (who have a deeply disturbed relational arc in Cloud Atlas) 😉 for THRRussia

The six above-mentioned actors plus the three directors in Berlin via Daniele Rizzo:

Love the fact that they apparently have a Beware Of Bill Smoke sign in Germany. 😉

A similar compilation from MoviePilot

O2's footage of the Berlin red carpet:

There's a high-res version of the Time Online Making Of  video here:

And here are the four German Behind the Scenes clips:

There are additional Cloud Atlas articles at the following sites: Interviews with Hanks, Berry, D'Arcy and Whishaw at Moviereporter.de, an amusing beer-themed (but not impaired) review/podcast at Pub Chat, new interviews with the directors at Spiegel Online, KCRW (an audio interview), and Awards Line, an appraisal of the film's costuming at Vintage Fashion Guild, an overview of Method Studio's work on the SFX at Creative Cow, an article tipping Cloud Atlas and The Hobbit for possible Makeup Oscars at HitFix, a profile of VFX artists Dan Glass and Stephane Ceretti at Below the Line, a humorous chart demonstrating how Hugh Grant's Cloud Atlas roles are a bit of a departure for him at UltraCulture,  an extended interview with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry at Dish mag.com, and a passionate, well-crafted rebuttal to the misguided PC racial criticism of the film at Thuper Bacon.

You can read the latest positive or mixed-but-well-written reviews at Ministry of Truth Film Ratings, Oh Cinema, Cheka Digital, Movie Reviews From The Dark, The Kerronicle, McCoyed, How To Write a Screenplay, The Flor-Ala, N-TV.de, The Examiner (there's a different review by another critic at the same site here) , Think Love Speak, Kate McKay, Caleb's Blog of Awesomeness, Leselink.de, Vevlyn's Pen, Theater-Words, Reel Girl Reviews (though her assessment of Old Georgie and the whole Zachry storyline is rather clueless), Lights Camera Popcorn, Midcoast Station, Movies Are Ruining My Life, MyMajors.com, Humor Times,     Focus.de, The 1927 Company, Rob's Movie Vault, The Warning Sign, Pushing a Snake Up A Hill, Consider This, The Rover, JT Film Review, Pass The Popcorn, Sketched Screenings …. and a rave review from Robert F Kennedy Jr at Huffington Post.

There are couple minor pieces of Hugo Weaving ephemera not related to either The Hobbit or Cloud Atlas: first is some interesting behind the scenes footage of The Wolfman's Castle Combe set here (none of the lead actors are filmed, but it's very atmospheric), and a positive review of Oranges and Sunshine at The Flack. There's also a wonderful, hourlong audio interview of Cate Blanchett at ABC Classic FM.

Hope all of my American friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that my international friends just had a wonderful day. 😉 I'll be back with Hobbit premiere coverage next week if nothing happens before then.

Hobbit Promotion Begins in Earnest, Cloud Atlas Pics & Articles, The Turning Details

Note: this is an archived entry. Some links might not still work, but I have tried to ensure scan and video embeds are still in place. If any linked material is unavailable, please let me know and I’ll attempt to find a copy in my personal archives.

Apologies for the lack of updates recently… my work schedule has been unforgiving. There are major updates on three Hugo Weaving projects to report, though, so I'll get right to that without further ado.

First there's breaking news on Hugo's participation in the Australian anthology film The Turning, based on the Tim Winton book of linked stories. An in-depth interview with one of the film's distributors, Tine Klint of LevelK Films, at SBS. According to the article, Hugo will star in a segment entitled "The Commission", to be directed by his old friend (and frequent costar) David Wenham. Cate Blanchett will direct and costar in a different segment, "Reunion", and Miranda Otto and Rose Byrne will costar in "The Turning" (yes, the same title as the film). If I had read the book, as I'm sorely tempted to, I could probably tell you more about role specifics and whether/how various stories are linked, but it's probably best for now that I avoid spoiler territory. According to Klint, there are "plans to launch the film at a major international festival, probably Toronto or Venice in late 2013"…"We have a lot of international distributors that are following the film and had some offers at the American Film Market that we are working on now,” she says. Given how dicey and delayed international distribution can be with Australian films, it's very encouraging to hear this one already has an international distributor in place, though at this point rights to the European and American markets aren't sold. The film will debut at the Melbourne International Film Festival next July; it's unknown whether Hugo has filmed his sequence; I would guess not given how busy he's been. But it's great to have specifics about when the film will be seen this far in advance, and the presence of so many internationally-known actors can only help its chances.

Next, here's the latest batch of photos of Hugo at the Berlin premiere of Cloud Atlas on November 5 (plus a handful from Moscow); some are enlargements or "cleaned up" versions of images previously shared, some are new. As always, if anyone has clean or high-res versions of any images with watermarks, we'd love to see them.

Michael Sohn/AP

Laurenz Carpen/Red Carpet Reports

XVerleih/via James D'Arcy Fans Pinterest (Thanks!)

(Both) Dave Bedrosian/Corbis

Many more under the cut!

First 14 photos: Melanie Renker/Retna:

Next 9:  Dave Bedrosian/Corbis

Tom Tykwer, Marie Steinmann, Hugo Weaving

Next  :Laurenz Carpen/Red Carpet Reports

L to R: Andy Wachowski, Gotz Otto, James D'Arcy, Tom Hanks, Lana Wachowski in front of Halle Berry, Tom Tykwer, Bae Doona, Hugo Weaving in front of Ben Whishaw

Hugo Weaving, Tom Tykwer, Marie Steinmann

Andreas Rentz/Getty


Next 4: Britta Pedersen/Corbis

Manrizio Gambarini/Corbis

Ciao Hollywood/Corbis

Splash News

Here are some pics from the Moscow premiere:

Next 3 photos: Woman.ru   Bae Doona, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry

Next 3: Sharifulin Valley/ Corbis

Here are way too many screencaps from the November 2 press conference:

The website Dizifilm posted a treasure trove of high-res stills and behind the scenes images from the film; Hugo content under the cut:

Lest anyone think their recent dinner conversations have been awkward… 😉

The guy to the right of Hugo is author David Mitchell. So those identity politics morons who think Mitchell is on their side need to stop making that claim NOW. Oh, and actually see the film before you slander it any further.

Note; These are not nearly as large as the originals here. (Curse LJ and Photobucke size restrictions!)

There are several worthwhile new articles on Cloud Atlas at the following websites: there's a Tom Tykwer interview at Zeit Online, an interview with all three directors at Der Tagesspiegel, an audio interview with the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer at The Nerdist Podcast, a brief new thematic/making of featurette (no embedding. alas) at Entertainment Weekly,  an interview with and article about actress Zhou Xun's makeup transformations at EW, a brief excerpt from a Halle Berry/Tom Tykwer interview (which appeared in print only) at The Sun, an admonishment to homophobic twerps who have issues with the Frobisher/Sixsmith romance plot at The Advocate, and an interview with the film's makeup artists Daniel Parker and Jeremy Woodhead at The Los Angeles Times ( Parker: "My first big transformation was on Hugo Weaving, turning him into Nurse Noakes. And the thing that makes changing a man into a woman so challenging is, particularly in this case, you've got Hugo, who's a very masculine man. And so it was a question of changing the bone structure, raising eyebrows and softening the forehead. Also, what I wanted to do was change the whole skin quality, because female skin is so much softer and peach-like."; also the amusing fact that Susan Sarandon's Indian professor was created at the last minute on set, so Susan Sarandon actually had to borrow prosthetics made for Jim Strugess and James D'Arcy.) 😉   

Also, there's heartening news from Russia: the film had a $9.1 million opening there, which, to put things in perspective, is better than the opening grosses for Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises. More details available at The Hollywood Reporter and Screen Daily… I hope the rest of Europe also treats the film better than jaded, pablum-craving US audiences did.

Warner Bros has launched a long-shot Oscar campaign for the film, including Best Supporting Actor nod suggestions for (take a deep breath): Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, James D'Arcy, Keith David, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent and David Gyasi. (Whew!) IMO, Sturgess, Broadbent and possibly Whishaw are lead actors, and all delivered stronger work than Warner's sole Lead Actor pick Tom Hanks. If the Oscars were remotely fair, Broadbent would have a strong chance in the lead category and D'Arcy in supporting, but I doubt the academy will nominate any actor from the film except possibly Halle Berry, because the Lead Actress field tends to be weak in American movies. As for Hugo, he'd never campaign personally for a Oscar (which is sort of required if you want to win), and his roles in the film are limited, though he did the best he could with what he had to work with. I hope one day one of his Australian films breaks through over here in a big way, because his best work as an actor is inarguably in films like Little Fish, Last Ride and Oranges and Sunshine. I personally think the film's only real chances for nominations are in score (which it should win easily), makeup, editing and possibly adapted screenplay… and even these are iffy given how risk-averse academy voters tend to be. But it's good of Warner's to try, particularly after they bungled US distribution somewhat.  You can read the full list of Warner's nomination possibilities at IndieWire.    

There are new positive (or mixed but well-written) reviews of Cloud Atlas at Sam Shot First, Gayot.com, Grimes & Rowe Watch A Movie, Danny Baram, Club Parnassus, The Password is Swordfish, Alderaan Places, The Republika, The AP Book Club, Les Fleurs de Maraschine, Kitty Lambda, Movies & Such With Clayton, My Entertainment World, Pierced To The Heart, Lake Forest CA Patch, Chronicle; The Conversation, QuadNews.net, Cinema Sight, Jerome Shaw, Washburn Review Online, Double Exposure, Love and Squalor, San Diego Entertainer, and Benefits of a Classical Education.

…And there's another positive review of the US DVD release of Last Ride at Movies You Missed. Which is appreciated even by those of us who managed to see it in theaters. 😉

Finally, we're starting to see a lot more advance promo material for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as we come within a month of its release date. I'll embed all five TV Spots that have appeared so far (beneath a cut) and add all Elrond-centric photos: fans of LOTR/The Hobbit in general should check these links and TORn (The One Ring.net) for (much) more: IMDb, and HeyUGuys (new stills), MovieWeb  and Rope of Silicon (new character banners), Anime Movie Forever (lots of behind the stills pics and character portraits– especially of Richard Armitage), TolkienBrasil.com (60 new behind the scenes pics), ComicBookMovie (150 new images, though their slideshow isn't currently working), Empire Online (to hear the full soundtrack), Ian McKellen's blog (for insider details… and because Ian McKellen is cool–duh!) 😉 , Stuff.co.nz (Martin Freeman interview and a behind the scenes report— alas, Hugo wasn't on set at the time– but the site has a plethora of new pics) and Comingsoon.net (to hear Neill Finn's song "The Lonely Mountain" which the Dwarves sing in the film's trailer.)  

Notable New Pics:

Ian McKellen and Hugo Weaving on the set

Elrond character banner (larger version here)

Richard Armitage and Ian McKellen (yes, in fact, Wizards do make accommodations for the weather) 😉

Elrond, Gandalf and Galadriel in Rivendell

Gandalf and Galadriel

Hugo Weaving, Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen on the set

Sylvester McCoy (Radagast) and Peter Jackson

Martin Freeman ("How many more months to we have to go?" 😉 )

Again, Wizards do make accommodations for the weather 😉

This is just a drop in the bucket of what's out there (though it's all of the new Elrond content… so far). Do check out all the other sites if you want to explore further!

Here are the five extant TV Spots… and a couple of bonuses. 😉

And here's a preview images from the 2013 Hobbit Calendar (German version… not certain if the US version will be the same .)

You can preview the whole thing (and order this version, if you like) here. You can order the US version (which is completely different– I checked) here. Elrond has one month in each…

(US Hobbit Calendar, November image)

Finally, one more Cloud Atlas cast interview compilation… this one has very little about the film (and Hugo gets a very thankless question) but it's entertaining:

Hope you guys voted… 😉