Tag Archives: Liam Hemsworth

Hugo Weaving Promotes The Dressmaker in Sydney, Melbourne, Incl Video, Audio Interviews

Hugo Weaving at the Sydney premiere of The Dressmaker, 20 October  Photo: Don Arnold/WireImage

There’s a wealth of new material already from both Dressmaker premieres in Australia, as well as Hugo’s many press interviews between 18 October (the date of the Melbourne premiere) and today. Hugo will soon have to depart for Western Australia to begin work on Jasper Jones, but has certainly done his bit to promote The Dressmaker, which opens 29 October in Australia and 11 November in the UK. (No US release date has yet been announced, but various European locations have; just check the film’s IMDB page.)

At any rate I’ll dive into things without further ado, starting with the video interviews, red carpet footage and behind the scenes footage, then I’ll move on to the abundant new photos from both premieres and other promotion.

Here’s a Behind the Scenes look at The Dressmaker, first shared via the film’s Facebook page:

via The Dressmaker Facebook

Here’s Universal Pictures’ footage of the Melbourne premiere on 18 October, featuring interviews with Hugo, Liam Hemsworth, Sarah Snook and Jocelyn Moorhouse:

via Universal Pictures Australia/Twitter & YouTube

Here’s Screen Australia’s footage of the same event, featuring Hugo, Sue Maslin, Sarah Snook, Sacha Horler, Jocelyn Moorhouse and Liam Hemsworth :

via Screen Australia/Twitter & YouTube

Here’s Sky News’s footage, same event:

Sky News, via Sun Herald

Hugo has given several interviews to various media outlets over the past week; a few were live radio/Q&A events that haven’t been officially reshared. I’ll start off with those that HAVE been and see if the others become available soon. (I was able to tape some of these, but ALWAYS prefer to share material from official sources which have made them publicly available, if only because viewing or listening to live feeds from the other side of the world is always tricky, involving various quality control lapses and, in the case of radio, superfluous material.)

Here’s Hugo’s interview with 3AWRadio’s Denis Walter from 18 October. Always love it when radio sources record video and share to easily-embedable sites like YouTube. 😉

Via 3AWRadio/YouTube… this looks like part of a longer interview, so I’ll keep checking. 😉 But appreciate what’s here very much. Includes a few minor plot spoilers.

Hugo gave Australian Women’s Weekly a charming interview focusing on his Dressmaker costars, wardrobe and what sort of chick he’d be if born female 😉

via Australian Women’s Weekly

Hugo’s in-studio interview on Today featured the usual career retrospective plus details on making The Dressmaker… and what a sequel to Priscilla might look like 😉

via Today/9jumpin.com.au

Hugo gave a wonderful, in-depth 15 minute interview to Michael Smyth for AB Adelaide; here’s the Soundcloud embed:

And finally, today Hugo sat down with ABC News’s One on One for an extended interview which will air today; here’s their preview excerpt. I’ll try to share the whole thing once it’s available for streaming. I’m personally glad Hugo DIDN’T play Mr Darcey, though he easily could have. He could’ve had Colin Firth’s type-casting instead of all the post-Smith villains, I guess, but I recall Firth lamenting in an interview after his Oscar win for The King’s Speech that he’d always wanted to play a drag queen and was never afforded the opportunity. 😉 Not slighting either actor, by the way; they’ve actually both chosen roles quite well (occasional Hollywood glitches aside). 😉

ABC News

Here’s an additional transcript from ABC’s website:

“As he strides into the interview room tall and smiling, Hugo Weaving sports a bushy beard and appears surprisingly relaxed as if he has all day to chat, which he does not.

As we wait for last-minute camera adjustments, he mentions that after four months off in his hometown Sydney, he is due to fly to Western Australia shortly to begin work on the much anticipated film Jasper Jones.

Since the 1980’s Hugo Weaving has carved out a successful career in theatre and film, mixing lower-budget Australian productions with huge international blockbusters including The Matrix series, V for Vendetta and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

For Weaving, there has never been a dilemma about whether to relocate to Hollywood or remain in Australia.

“I’m happy to work overseas,” he said on One Plus One, “but my focus is here”.

“This is a golden era of film-making in this country, we just don’t know that.

“I’ve been saying that for ages. I think our films are getting better and better, we [Australians] are just not going to see them.”

Weaving believes there are two reasons for this.

“The problem is not in the film-makers or the creative’s, the problem is somehow selling the idea of our own culture to ourselves,” he said.

“Or, we have an industry which is so slanted towards American films that it’s very, very hard for Australian films to get a look in.”

Weaving is clearly proud of the homegrown industry, despite deriving his reputation from high-grossing blockbusters.

His latest film borrows from both.

It is set in the fifties in a small, fictional Australian town named Dungatar.

The film opens with femme fatale Tilly Dunnage (played by Kate Winslet), returning to her home town from Europe.

She is a glamorous and gifted seamstress who travels with her portable Singer sewing machine, but she has a past. Years ago as a child, Tilly was sent away after being blamed for the death of a school mate.

The film features a who’s who of Australian performers including Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, Sarah Snook, Rebecca Gibney, Kerry Fox, Shane Jacobson and Barry Otto.

Weaving — who plays Dungatar’s policeman Sergeant Horatio Farrat — said he was “immediately interested” in the script when it landed in front of him.

“He’s essentially a very nice man,” Weaving said.

However, “he does have a secret, he’s a cross-dresser. He also feels guilty because he’s done something to the heroine, Tilly”.

It’s got a dark centre, a dark underbelly to it,” he says in his deliberate, mellifluous voice.

Weaving was extremely happy to work with director Jocelyn Moorhouse again. It was Moorhouse who cast Weaving in her critically acclaimed 1991 film Proof.

They were both relative newcomers to the screen world. She recently returned to Australia after a stint in Hollywood with her husband, director and writer P. J. Hogan.

“Proof was the first film I had read … that I so wanted to be in,” Weaving recalled warmly.

“I jumped on it and I thought, ‘that’s my film’. I was tested for it and thank-god (Moorhouse) wanted me to be in it.”

Proof was released a decade after Weaving graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).

He was born in Nigeria, arriving in Australia as a teenager, after an upbringing where the family relocated every few years.

He says he did not have grand dreams when he first entered NIDA.

“I never think too far ahead,” he said.

(Photo: Tom Hancock/ABC)

Weaving does not like to put himself above anyone else. He seeks meaning through voracious reading, spending time with his friends and family (partner of 31 years Katrina Greenwood and his children Holly and Harry) and enjoying his farm in northern NSW.

“I have a pretty strong sense of myself as a not particularly special person,” he said.

He does, however, enjoy in-depth research and finding the redemptive qualities in the characters he plays. Those qualities are often to be found in how a character interacts with nature.

“I adore nature, without nature and without the natural world we have no perspective on ourselves … I think it’s really special and life-affirming and gives me a perspective on who I am,” Weaving said.

“I don’t have a grand notion of who human beings are because I don’t think they are any more special than a tree or a bird or a kangaroo.”

But he clearly values what it means to be human and strives to get to the heart of what makes an individual tick whether playing Mitzi Del Bra in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert or the cross-dressing Sergeant Horatio Farrat in the Dressmaker.”


THIS JUST IN: Another new Hugo Weaving video interview courtesy NineMSN Mornings:

Nine MSN Mornings/9jumpin.com.au

You can read or view interviews with other Dressmaker cast members and creative team at the following sites:

Liam Hemsworth at The Project TV (Seven News video interview), Screen Australia, Vogue Australia (scans via LiamHemsworthFans on Twitter)

Rosalie Ham at Editing Everything, Niume.com

Jocelyn Moorhouse at ABC News

Judy Davis in The Sydney Morning Herald (and associated papers)

Sarah Snook at The Daily Mail

Sue Maslin at Flicks.co.nz

Plus there’s a story on the film’s set and production design at Desktop Magazine.

You can read positive reviews and well-written mixed reviews for The Dressmaker at Sunshine Coast Daily, Cocktail Revolution, Impulse Gamer, and Fashion Weekly

Sydney Premiere 20 Oct Photos

“Let the fun begin. Sydney premier of the dressmaker @marieclaireau @UniversalPics: Jackie Frank via Twitter

“See #HugoWeaving & #SarahSnook star in #TheDressmaker” Hoyts Australia via Twitter m(plus next one)

“The stars have arrived at #TheDressmaker Sydney Premiere! #HugoWeaving #SarahSnook @UniversalPicsAU” Hoyts Australia via Twitter

“Guests of honour of the evening at the @marieclaireau screening of @dressmakermovie #Sydney #premiere” Karishma Sarkari via Twitter/Instagram

“Sydney #dressmakerpremier with @jackie_frank @nickybriger @sarah_snook #HugoWeaving” Marie Claire via Instagram

“@sarah_snook & #HugoWeaving at the @marieclaireau red carpet screening of #TheDressmaker” EventCinema via Instagram

“Hugo Weaving is effortlessly cool on the red carpet at the #DressmakerPremiere in Sydney tonight.” The Dressmaker via Twitter

“The gang’s here- Hugo, Sue, Jocelyn and Sarah reunited on the red carpet at the #DressmakerPremiere in Sydney.” The Dressmaker via Twitter

“#TheDressmaker team assemble at the exclusive @marieclaireau red carpet screening in Sydney” Universal Pictures Australia via Twitter (plus next one)

(L to R: Presenter Jackie Frank, Producer Sue Maslin, Director Jocelyn Moorhouse, Nicky Briger, Hugo Weaving and Sarah Snook)

My screencaps of Hugo Weaving, from the live feed of the Sydney premiere Q&A. Hugo accidentally broke a wooden footrest from the bottom of his chair but recovered nicely. 😉

Judy Davis sits to Hugo’d left

Note: I can’t find an official copy of this footage online but was able to screen-record the Q&A in two parts. Will share Hugo’s section if the person who shot it doesn’t re-post

“Cast and Crew arrive for exclusive @marieclaireau red carpet screening of @dressmakermovie in #Sydney” Media Services AP via Twitter

“So lovely seeing you again this evening @NickyBriger!! (albeit briefly) x #TheDressmaker #marieclaire #screening” Karishma Sarkari via Twitter (plus next pic)

“Cast/creators of The Dressmaker at the Syd premiere w publisher @Jackie_frank & editor @NickyBriger @UniversalPicsAU” Marie Claire via Twitter

Hugo Weaving at the 20 Oct Sydney premiere of The Dressmaker. Photo (plus next three) Brandom Voight/Splash News

“Fantastic girls night out #thedressmaker #sydney premiere. Q&A #hugoweaving #judydavis #sarahsnook” Julia via Instagram

“#thedressmaker #ourcoolevent @universalpicsau @marieclaireau #sarahsnook #hugoweaving” Events Department ia Instagram

Photo (plus next three): Don Arnold/WireImage

Photo (Plus next one): El Pics/Getty Images

Photo: The Dressmaker Facebook (plus next three)

Sydney Premiere Q&A with Sarah Snook, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving

Photo: Richard Milns/Demotix (plus next two)

Photo (plus next five)  MediaServices AP

Sydney Hayden Orpheum Screening Q&A Featuring Hugo Weaving and Jocelyn Moorhouse

Hugo and director Jocelyn Moorhouse also attended a preview screening of The Dressmaker at Sydney’s Hayden Orpheum on 21 October; here are some fan photos of that event.

“Some photos of Hugo Weaving tonight at “The Dressmaker” Q&A. He’s stunning and witty. Movie is great!” Siena W via Twitter (plus next three)

“oh Hugo you #hugoweaving #haydenorpheum #thedressmaker #film #cinema #theatre” amyohisson via Instagram

“#TheDressmaker. Amazing piece of Australian cinema. Hugo thanks for bringing good beard game. ” Brittany Vigee via Twitter

Melbourne Premiere 18 Oct New Photos

Hugo Weaving at the Melbourne premiere of The Dressmaker. Photo: Mal Fairclough/AAP

Hugo Weaving, Sarah Snook and Liam Hemsworth in Melbourne   Photo: Mal Fairclough/AAP

“Bit of a selfie at my first red carpet #thedressmaker”  (Incl Hugo Weaving, Sarah Snook)” Sage Barreda/Instagram

“Hugo and the surprisingly large lighter” Sage Barreda/Instagram

“#HugoWeaving, #SarahSnook & @liamhemsworth at the Melbourne Premiere of #TheDressmaker.” MovieJuiceTV via Instagram

This photo plus next one: Universal Pictures Australia via Twitter

Photo: L’Officiel Australia (plus next one)

Dressmaker Promotional Photos and Appearances

Hugo Weaving at a Dressmaker promo interview   Photo: Corporate Cameras via Twitter

Hugo with ABC Radio Melbourne’s Raf Epstein  Photo: ABC Radio Melbourne via Twitter

“Hugo Weaving – what a charming man & a pleasure to interview for #movie  #TheDessmaker @UniversalPicsAU @2GB” Janette Lakiss vua Twitter

“This is me, LITERALLY standing in the shadow of the acting giant that is #HugoWeaving @UniversalPicsAU #TheBeard” Yahoo7’s Jess Clark via Twitter

“He plays a cross-dressing cop in @DressmakerMovie Would Hugo Weaving ever play Mr Darcy? #OnePlusOne 10am @ABCTV”  ABC’s Jane Hutcheon via Twitter

Seven lovely promo portraits of Hugo Weaving and Sarah Snook by David Crosling/AAP; there are five more of Hugo solo here that I hope to share soon.

David Crosling/AAP (plus next six)

Note: I do have additional photos, particularly of the Melbourne premiere, that I’m still sorting and working on (in some cases cleaning up) for optimal presentation here and on my Twitter feed. So stay tuned; for more frequent updates and earliest posting of new material, check out my Twitter feed.

Hugo Cast In Hacksaw Ridge

Some would accuse me of burying the lead by noting this story at the end of my post, and certainly the mainstream media outside of Australia talks far more about this project than The Dressmaker or any of Hugo’s other recent projects. But frankly I’m lukewarm at best about this film, mostly because I’ve never respected Mel Gibson as a director OR as a human being, and am leery of Hugo and so many other talented actors being used to burnish or rehab his image. Hugo’s son Harry Greenwood was cast in the film about a month ago; I retweeted news about it then but didn’t dwell on the subject.

To back up a bit, Hacksaw Ridge is a World War II drama about a conscientious objector (to be played by Andrew Garfield) who refuses to carry a gun but nontheless enlists as a medic and is later awarded the Medal of Honor after heroics at the Battle of Okinawa. Though the material might be worthy in another director’s hands, I’m leery of Gibson somehow turning it into another right-wing pro-war apologia with the sort of creepy religious overtones that have marked his most famous efforts as a director. Though Gibson’s anti-Semitic and sexist rants haven’t made the news in several years, I don’t recall Gibson formally apologizing for them apart from excusing one incident as a side-effect of alcoholism. Even if he has shown contrition over these episodes and no longer holds the fundamentalist views he did in the past, his efforts as a director were heavy-handed exercises in battlefield torture-porn which also had racist and anti-gay overtones at times. Gibson didn’t write the screenplay for this film, but it still sounds like yet another jingoistic Hollywood WWII movie at best. So it’s not something I’d even consider seeing if Hugo wasn’t involved, and he’s going to really have to sell me on this before I consider paying money to see it in a theatre. I’ll cover it here when Hugo is specifically involved in updates, but am skeptical at this point. I don’t know why Hugo signed on, though he seemed more eager to talk about Harry’s participation than his own role (see the Today interview, above), so it might be the opportunity to be on the same project as his son, though Hugo says they aren’t sharing any scenes, There also might be a better-than-expectef script, or Hugo might want to support the local industry by working on an Australian-made large-scale “prestige” film sure to garner international attention.   (The lead characters are American.)

At any rate, Hugo plays the father of Andrew Garfield’s lead character, Desmond T Doss. The film is already in production, but Hugo will be working on Jasper Jones before reporting to the set of this one. For additional details on the film, see Inside Film, Deadline, The Wrap and Variety… most sources repeat essentially the same information. Props to most sites for at least using a somewhat recent photo of Hugo this time. 😉  Again, if anyone can sell me on this, it would be Hugo, so I’m trying not to assume the worst, but I have avoided some of his films in the past and reserve the right to do so again… I would think he’d appreciate thoughtful fans who think for themselves over fawners who treat every project with equal reverence and have no objectivity.  Hugo himself freely calls some of his past films “rubbish”.  Including a few I personally happen to like. 😉

Hugo Weaving Attends The Dressmaker’s Australian Premiere in Melbourne

Hugo Weaving walks the red carpet at The Dressmaker’s Melbourne premiere last night. Photo: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

After a few months of minimal Hugo Weaving news, we’re suddenly awash in new pics (and some video and interviews) again as The Dressmaker opened in Melbourne last night. I’m going to start posting images without further ado because there are sure to be more at the film’s Sydney premiere in two days.  Liam Hemsworth has grabbed the lion’s share of media attention in the Australian coverage (and his “family reunion” with brother Chris at the premiere yielded more headlines than the movie itself) but Hugo was probably happy to support the film without being the center of attention. Kate Winslet was absent, as she was promoting that other move of hers in London. 😉

Though Hugo hasn’t yet given an in-depth interview about The Dressmaker, he’s seen in three news videos about the premiere, two of which feature his comments, and he’s been quoted in text coverage as well. I’ll start with the videos then move to his excerpts from print interviews… then that new tidal wave of photos. ; There will also be more Melbourne premiere pics in days to come, but those need a bit of fixing up before they can be shared.

Screen Australia lavishly covered the premiere, and gave Hugo the most screentime of the red-carpet videos.

via Screen Australia/The Screen Blog

Hugo Weaving also comments in The West Australian’s video coverage

…And he’s seen but not heard from in Yahoo7‘s red carpet footage

(Note: Second two videos embedded directly in the LJ version of this post.)

Hugo is quoted briefly in The Screen Blog, The Age and The Daily Mail:

“[The Dressmaker is]  a radically different piece of cinema…In the way that something like Inglourious Basterds is a hybird of styles and works, I think this is a similar sort of hybrid style. It’s a western… it’s Sergio Leone, it’s got a dark underbelly to it, it’s a serious revenge film, but it’s quite exuberant, very stylish (and) visually bold. [I chose to take the role primarily because director] Joss was responsible for the first film I really wanted to do. I was like four years out of drama school and I’d read a lot of rubbish really and Proof was a great script. It was Joss’ first film and she really gave me the opportunity to do something I was really proud of.” — The Screen Blog

“It’s fabulously bold. A very Australian-style Western with a dark, revenge tone to it. It’s an unusual hybrid film that will please a lot of people. It’s pretty cool.” [For some reason, they also asked him about Cate Blanchett’s moving plans:] “‘They’ve had many different plans. Every five minutes a different plan – to go to England, Scotland, the States, New Zealand, Vanuatu (they’ve got a place in Vanuatu)…But I don’t actually know what they’re settling on at this stage.”– The Age

“It’s a stylistically complex piece, so we were required at one point to be quite naturalistic and the next point be quite exuberant…There’s quite a few grotesque characters. They still need to in some way be human. The biggest challenge for all of us was to feel like we were all in the same film.”– The Daily Mail.

Melbourne Premiere Photos:

Note: High-res versions of several photos are also available, and I’ll include links to those next to the more-manageable blog versions. WordPress readers should right click and open images in a new tab for full-sized versions of photos in the blog.

Hugo, Sarah Snook and Liam Hemsworth. Photo: Zak Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images (plus next six)

Hugo, Sarah Snook. Liam Hemsworth, producer Sue Maslin and director Jocelyn Moorhouse

…plus author Rosalie Ham to the far right

(High res version here)

(High res version here)

Hugo Weaving, Sarah Snook and Liam Hemsworth. This and next three photos: Universal Pictures Australia via Twitter

“The stars are arriving for the #TheDressmakerPremiere in Melbourne! Here is the lovely Hemsworth family and Hugo Weaving…” Sydney Film Blogger/Instagram

“”Sometimes cool people drop by my work movie_cameradizzy” Kathleen Ashby/Instagram

“And #hugoweaving #crown #melbourne #australia” Jared Hunter Mason/Instagram

“”The man is brilliance #thedressmaker #hugoweaving” Donna Demaio via Twitter/Instagram

This plus next two photos: Mirre Jennings via Hush Hush Biz (their coverage here)

“So much all the hangover after the @DressmakerMovie premiere. I regret nothing. See the film. SUPPORT OUR INDUSTRY! ” Eleanor Howlett via Twitter

“Meeting the cast and director #australianpremiere #thedressmaker #australianpremierethedressmaker” Sue Murphy/Twitter

“#TheDressmaker stars Hugo Weaving, Sarah Snook and @LiamHemsworth sparkling on the red carpet. #tvweekmag” TV Week via Twitter

“”Agent Smith ..wherever I see him I think ‘hello Mr Anderson’. #thematrix #hugoweaving #thedressmakerpremiere” Sham1000 via Instagram

“#TheDressmaker stars strike a pose at the Oz #premiere with director Jocelyn Moorhouse & producer Sue Maslin” Screen Australia via Twitter

“@LiamHemsworth #HugoWeaving #SarahSnook having a good time on the #DressmakerPremiere Red Carpet @y7entertainment ” Sarah Marie Duffy via Twitter

“Such laughs #friends #family #laughs #liamhemsworth #hugoweaving #dressmaker” Montiga/Instagram

“Stella Cast Director and Producers acknowledge the importance of @FilmVictoria in backing #thedressmaker #springst” Martin Foley via Twitter

“Live from the red carpet, attended by Hugo Weaving, Liam Hemsworth and Sarah Snook, for the Melbourne premiere of The Dressmaker.” L’Ofiicial Australia Facebook (plus next photo)

“All the stars at #TheDressmaker Premiere. Hugo Weaving, Sarah Snook and @LiamHemsworth. #SoSydney #KIIS1065” KIIS 1065 via Twitter

Photo (plus next one) David Fanner/Screen Australia

“#photographing the #redcarpet #mediawall #redcarpetarrivals for #thedressmaker #filmpremiere in Melbourne” Brett Robson/Twitter

“My #photograph of #hugoweaving from … #Melbourne #filmpremiere of #thedressmaker ” Brett Robson/Twitter/Instagram

Photo: plus next 8): Brett Robson/Splash News

Hugo giving red carpet interviews  Photo: (plus next 12) Splash News

“What…. MORE!?” 😉

“That’s it! I’m outta here!” 😉

Photo: The Age

As I mentioned, there are still more photos that will be shared as soon as I can prep them, and I’ll be back soon with coverage of The Dressmaker’s Sydney premiere.

Also: A brief item in The Sydney Morning Herald covered Hugo’s casting in Jasper Jones. Oddly, Hugo hasn’t discussed the project yet in these interviews, though a castmate mentioned it.

Hugo Weaving Cast In Jasper Jones; The Dressmaker Approaches Australian Premiere; Autism PSA

First off, I know I’ve been negligent about updating lately and am very sorry for that. Though Hugo has mostly been on a break (and did not attend The Dressmaker’s world premiere in Toronto), there have still been several notable public appearances, including a collaboration with Griffin Film School on an autism awareness public service announcement (which has yet to be released), and an appearance introducing his friend Jenny Morris’s recent profile on Australian Story. He’s also been spotted at various Sydney events, and images from CinefestOZ continue to trickle in. I’ll try to share as much of that as possible

Jasper Jones

But first, an exciting bit of casting news. Around a week ago, the Manjimup Bridgetown Times announced that Hugo Weaving had finally selected his next film project, and had been cast alongside Toni Collette in the film Jasper Jones, based o the popular Australian “coming-of-age mystery novel” by Craig Silvey. While Porchlight Films confirmed Collette’s casting, I couldn’t find any confirmation about Hugo’s casting for several days, though the news was completely plausible. (In addition to being an independent Australian film with a talented cast and strong social message, the film is produced by David Jowsey, who also produced Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road. Porchlight Films previously produced one of Hugo’s favorites of his own films, Little Fish. So I was very optimistic, but decided to await official confirmation. This arrived yesterday via a press release from Porchlight, which announced Hugo would be playing “Mad Jack Lionel, the town recluse with a mysterious past”. Already cast, in addition to Collette, are Susan Prior (who costarred with Hugo in STC’s Riflemind in 2007), Levi Miller as the lead character Charlie Bucktin, Aaron McGrath as the title charcter, Matt Nable, Dan Wyllie, Myles Pollard and Angourie Rice.  The film will be directed by Rachel Perkins (Hugo’s third collaboration in a row with a female director) and will commence filming in Pemberton, in the south west of West Australia on 26 October, right after Hugo puts in time promoting The Dressmaker. You can read additional reports about the film (written both prior to and after Hugo joined the cast) at FilmInk, SBS, ABC.net, Buzzfeed, and author Silvey’s Facebook page. (He seemed quite pleased at the casting news.) 😉 Fortunately the novel is widely available outside of Australia, for fans too curious to wait. Reviewers have compared it to To Kill A Mockingbird.

Hugo Introduces Jenny Morris on Australian Story

Longtime Hugo fans will recall that Hugo had a hilarious cameo (alongside Bryan Brown and other Australian actors) in singer Jenny Morris’s 2002 video for “Downtime”, and that Morris leads fundraising efforts for the charity group Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy’s annual Art of Music auction, which raises funds for music therapy by auctioning off Australian-themed artworks commissioned for the event. (Hugo is a frequent guest at Art of Music and usually makes a purchase.) Morris was also a singer for the legendary 80s band INXS before embarking on a successful solo career. But the documentary series Australian Story reveals that she’s recently suffered a debilitating medical setback which threatened to end her music career and led her to find fulfillment in other areas of the industry. Hugo Weaving appears at the beginning to introduce the segment, but he’d be the first to tell you to watch the entire episode streaming on The Australian Story’s website, and not just take his brief intro out of context. 😉 I will attempt an embed, but in the event this fails, just follow the links to the external site. Thankfully there ae no international content viewing restrictions this time. The site also includes a full transcript of the program. You can read more about Morris and her condition here, and more about Art of Music here.

[Sorry, no embeds allowed. But do watch it. ]

Here are a few of my screencaps of Hugo:

Hugo Weaving at this year’s Art of Music auction, 16 July. Photo: Art of Music 2015 Flickr gallery

Griffith Film School Autism Awareness PSA

Though the PSA itself hasn’t yet been broadcast or posted online, several photos of Hugo working with Griffith Film School students on the project have been posted online by participants; you can read the full story of the collaboration at Griffith University’s website. According to student/director Cameron March, “My role was to direct Hugo in an awareness video for Autism QLD. When Richard approached me to direct the piece I felt a great deal of responsibility and honour. The opportunity to work with an internationally renowned – yet still humble – actor was an unbelievable experience… To direct a man who has been directed by the likes of Peter Jackson (LOTR), George Miller (Mad Max) and Michael Bay (Transformers) left me feeling very overwhelmed. Despite this, the shoot was a breeze due to Hugo’s kindness and professionalism. We also had the pleasure of working with Hugo’s nephew Ky Greenwood, who did an unbelievable job in assisting us to tell his story… The film we shot is comprised of both live action and animation elements. We are all extremely excited to give back to a great cause like autism awareness in the form of this video and hope Hugo’s participation will boost awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder. The crew was extremely professional and proficient throughout the shoot, which made my job as the director that much easier. The overall experience was incredible and couldn’t have been possible without LiveLab and Griffith Film School.”

Hugo Weaving poses with Griffith University Film School students amid a collaboration on an Autism Awareness film. Photo: Nicholas Billot, Griffith University

Hugo Weaving poses with Griffith University Film School students amid a collaboration on an Autism Awareness film. Photo: Nicholas Billot, Griffith University

Photo: Callum Hartgen via Instagram “”Had the pleasure of working w/ this bloke today on a video for a good cause.  #hugoweaving”

Photo: Genny Kertesz via Instagram “Got to meet the amazing Hugo Weaving today & hear him talk about acting, filmmaking [etc] :)”

The Dressmaker Approaches Australian Premiere

Though Hugo Weaving elected not to travel to Toronto for The Dressmaker’s TIFF premiere (which turned out to be a wise move, given its poorly-handled red-carpet premiere and somewhat snide reception), he will definitely be on hand for the film’s Australian premieres in Sydney (Oct 20) and Melbourne (Oct 18) next week. He hasn’t yet given any press interviews in support of the film, but nearly everyone else connected to the project has. The film had mixed reviews at TIFF, but has received almost unanimous praise from additional screening events and other previews, with most non-professional audience members giving a very positive response, especially in Australia. I’ll post links to the most positive critical and blogger reviews as well; some critics felt the film was tonally uneven and structurally messy, though they’ve been generally positive about the acting. Some also got hung up on the age difference between Winslet’s character and Hemsworth’s. Most casual reviewers on social media have been kinder.

Promotional graphic of Hugo Weaving s Segeant Farrat (via The Dressmaker Facebook, Universal Pictures Australia via Twitter)

You can read interviews with:

Director Jocelyn Moorhouse at: The Saturday Paper, The Australian, The Province, The Hollywood Reporter (also: Kate Winslet & Liam Hemsworth)

Kate Winslet at: Click The City, Vulture, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair (video), USA Today, The Daily Mail, NOW Magazine

Liam Hemsworth at: Sunrise on 7 (video of TV interview), Salon (plus Kate Winslet)

Judy Davis at: The AustralianTimes

Sarah Snook at: The Herald Sun, Vanity Fair

Author Rosalie Ham at: The Hepburn Advocate, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Weekly Review, The Herald Sun, MRCC Library (audio interview)

Colorist Trish Cahill at: Inside Film

You can read positive-leaning reviews (or mixed ones with positive comments about the actors) at InDaily, Screen Daily, Hot On The Street, Toronto Verve, ebuzzword, SBS Movies, Express Tribune, The Film Experience, IndieWire, Heartless Girl, Variety.

Hugo Weaving and director Jocelyn Moorhouse at a Sydney preview screening 13 October. Photo: Clare Wimble, via Twitter

According to The Age (in print edition) Hugo Weaving and Judy Davis may be strong contenders in the supporting categories for this year’s AACTA Awards.

CinefestOZ Photos And Other Candids

Here are some fan photos of Hugo take at CinefestOZ in August which have been posted online since my last entry:

“@cinefestoz 2015 honors Australian favorite #HugoWeaving with the Screen Legend Award, to the delight of WA audiences” Cinesurfer via Twitter

“When you meet #HugoWeaving at #Cinefestoz #winningatlife #fanboy #film” Cameron Whiteford via Instagram

Some fan photos of where Hugo actually was on the night of The Dressmaker’s TIFF premiere:

“I think this guy’s following me from #brokenhill to Sydney #hugoweaving #ultimolunch #priscillaqueenofthedesert” Sarah McConnell via Twitter

And here’s a candid of Hugo with Macbeth costar Paula Arundell at the Sydney premiere of Triptych on 4 October.

Article: The Sun Herald

Next update should be much more timely, with the two upcoming Dressmaker premieres Hugo is scheduled to attend; ideally he’ll sit for some interviews as well. Apoogies again for not updating sooner; in addition to three jobs and extra family commitments recently, I’ve been blinded by a new fandom which eats up a lot of my time, but which I’m not quite ready to go public with. Another character actor crush, though not in Hugo’s league. 😉

Hugo Weaving Attends CinefestOz Film Festival, Collects Screen Legend Award

Hugo Weaving prepares to be interviewed by ABC Perth at CinefestOz  Photo: 720 ABC Perth via Twitter

I’m going to try and avoid too much commentary this time and just post all the great new material that’s appeared this week in conjunction with Hugo Weaving’s appearance at Cinefest Oz in Busselton, West Australia. There have been three amazing interviews, (two text, one audio) and a plethora of new photos from both fans and the press. Hugo hasn’t revealed any new projects but continues to say that he’ll be committed to focusing on Australian films over the next year; still not certain if he has already signed on for some of these or is just speaking generally; we’ll have to wait and see. But his interviews reinforce what a lovely, humble person he is and where his true priorities lie, and I’m happy to hear he continues to prefer underappreciated Australian indies to  international projects that would earn him more money and fame, but in most cases wouldn’t serve the full spectrum of his talent. I also appreciate the fact that he feels conflicted about the notion of being named a “screen legend”, but was still willing to appear because it served the greater good of drawing attention to Australian film in general.

Here’s hoping that The Dressmaker becomes that elusive home-grown project that finally has an impact worldwide, and appeals to fans of both his commercial and artistic sides. The participation of Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth certainly can’t hurt, but above all I hope this finally breaks Hugo free of the franchise villain typecasting that has limited how too many international fans perceive him… and that it finally earns Jocelyn Moorhouse the respect she deserves.

CinefestOz Interviews

Here are the three interviews Hugo’s given (so far)… I haven’t yet found any video footage of Hugo’s Cinefest appearances (including last night’s Living Legend gala) but we’ll see if any gets posted. CinefestOz has shared video footage in years past, but none so far this time around. Click on the title of interviews for hyperlinks back to source sites.

First up here’s the Soundcloud version of Hugo’s interview with Geoff Hutchinson of 720 ABC Perth for The Morning Show. You can listen to the full show, which also includes 10-minute chats with David Wenham and Sarah Snook, here. Note that the unedited program will only be available for seven days from original airing.

Here are the text interviews, from The West Australian and The Guardian:

Weaving’s heart is right at home

The West Australian
Mark Naglazas 28 August 2015

David Wenham, Sarah Snook and David Wenham at the Busselton Jetty.  Photo: Courtney McAllister/Mac1Photography via The West Australian. Larger version here

Hugo Weaving is being honoured as this year’s CinefestOZ Screen Legend but the Matrix and Lord of the Rings star is not one for dwelling on his stellar career.

“The only time I look back is when I meet somebody I worked with and I’m trying to remember their name,” laughed Weaving, who is making his first visit to the South West for the five-day celebration of Australian and French cinema.

Although he is best known for his Hollywood blockbusters, he is proudest of the smaller films he has made in Australia, such as Little Fish and The Interview.

“The sad thing for me is that these films are not better known and the directors have struggled to go on to make a second or a third film,” Weaving said.

His passion for Australian movies is the reason he continues to work here, even though he could have a full-time Hollywood career and why he believes events such as CinefestOZ are vital.

CinefestOZ started on Wednesday night with the Australian premiere of Now Add Honey, a family comedy from Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler. It is one of five competing for the $100,000 Film Prize.

Hugo Weaving: ‘Just because Australian films aren’t seen doesn’t mean they don’t exist’

CinefestOz’s screen legend for 2015 on Tony Abbott, reuniting with director Jocelyn Moorhouse and why you’ve probably never seen his best work

by Nancy Groves, The Guardian 29 August 2015

Hugo Weaving on the Busselton boardwalk. Photograph: Courtney McAllister/Mac1Photography via The Guardian.  Larger version here

Hugo Weaving likes playing faceless villains, he once told an American journalist, because it means people are less likely to recognise him in real life. It’s a good tactic but one that certainly isn’t working for him in sleepy Busselton, Western Australia, where he’s in town to be honoured with the title of “screen legend” at the city’s annual CinefestOz festival – home to Australia’s richest film prize.

Over the course of five days, Weaving is repeatedly invited up to the mic – at opening ceremonies, screenings and lunches – and regularly stopped on the street by industry peers slapping him on the back or by local cinema-goers keen to take a selfie with him.

“It’s lovely to be here and a little embarrassing, but at the same time I appreciate it,” says Weaving, folding his 6’2” (188cm) frame into a chair at Busselton’s only hipster coffee outlet. “I do feel honoured but it’s hard to say that.”

This is not luvvie dissembling. Known to the world for his roles in the Matrix, Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, this modest, intensely private man has also been the linchpin in dozens of smaller Australian independent films, as Luke Buckmaster’s rewatching film blog reminds us on a weekly basis. It’s only a shame so few people have seen them.

“I could name 10 films I’ve done where I’ve thought: what a shame they didn’t catch on,” says Weaving, singling out Rowan Woods’ dark Sydney drama Little Fish with Cate Blanchett, as well as Last Ride, Glendyn Ivin’s 2009 film about a father and son on the run across Australia. “Not because I’m in them,” he stresses, “but because they are great works and they express something about who we are.”

His latest outing, The Dressmaker, which premieres at Toronto film festival this month, does not seem destined to disappear. A classic revenge Western dressed up in Dior, it stars Kate Winslet as the titular seamstress who returns from self-imposed exodus in Europe to her small “white-sliced” hometown and its smaller-minded residents. Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis, Barry Otto, Shane Jacobson and Sarah Snook also feature – a who’s who of established and emerging Aussie talent.

“It’s certainly an ensemble piece,” says Weaving, adding that the days when everyone was on set had a “reunion” vibe to them. The film also reunites him with director Jocelyn Moorhouse, at least professionally – the two have been friends since Moorhouse directed Weaving opposite a young Russell Crowe in her excellent 1991 film, Proof. “There is a sort of subterranean element to my relationship with Joss,” he says. “Proof was a long time ago but then there was the whole Eucalyptus saga. Or tragedy – whatever you want to call it.”

He’s referring to the 2005 Australian film that never was, adapted by Moorhouse from the Miles Franklin-winning novel by Murray Bail and set to star Nicole Kidman, Crowe and Weaving, until Fox cancelled production just three days into filming due to “creative differences” between Crowe and Moorhouse. Reports at the time suggested the differences were all Crowe’s. “The whole film going down was just really sad,” is all Weaving will say. “It was one of the greatest scripts I’ve ever read, just fantastic work from Joss. Fox ended up owning it and I don’t know whether she has ever got it back.”

The incident almost wiped Moorhouse out, Weaving adds, but she is back on confident form with The Dressmaker: “Joss has got such an eye for detail and specific sense of humour. There’s a surface expression to what she says and then something beneath that’s a little darker. I’m kind of interested in that.”

That same formulation seems to sum up Weaving’s acting – on stage, as well as screen. He has recently emerged from playing Hamm in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame at Sydney Theatre Company back to back with taking STC’s award-winning Waiting for Godot to London for a run at the Barbican. A “Beckfest”, as he calls it, and he’s still not had his fill.

“I’m just re-reading his four early novellas, these absolutely beautiful little stories, all different, all difficult, and I’d love to bring to them to the stage. Put two on one night, two the next, mix and match them a bit, possibly on the same set. They are just extraordinary pieces of work. He’s exhausting and wonderful at the same time.”

Whether Weaving gets to realise this project any time soon is another matter. He has been a fixture of Sydney Theatre Company under artistic directors Andrew Upton and (until 2013) Cate Blanchett. But Upton is leaving in late 2015, to be replaced by British theatre-maker Jonathan Church. Does it feel like the end of an era for what, in its regular use of the same actors, began to feel like a rep company?

“It was a very fertile time,” says Weaving. “One thing leads to another and I loved that sense of exploration as a company, of moving forward as a unit.” He praises Upton for his openness and democracy in the rehearsal room, and Blanchett for her poise. “Cate’s extraordinary. She’s in hyperspace in terms of her profile – much more so me. But she manages to maintain her sanity, sometimes barely. I know it’s difficult.”

Is it easier to maintain a private life in Australia than in Hollywood? “Probably, says Weaving. “Possibly, a bit, yes, maybe. You’ve got to actively find that space for yourself. You’ve got to actively disappear. This industry is so vast that once you’re a part of it, you can easily lose yourself and the trade-off isn’t necessarily a great thing for your soul, you know.”

He hasn’t met Church but says “it will be a big change, a bit shift”, adding his hope that Church will nurture acting and directing talent, not just shows. It echoes Weaving’s stance on cinema. “Film is the great artistic medium and yet we don’t see it as that,” he says. “We don’t allow it to be everything it could be.”

Hugo Weaving in front of his CinefestOz 2015 screen legend plaque.  Photograph: Mac1 photography  Larger version here

At a meeting of Chinese and Australian film producers during CinefestOz, Screen Australia showed a promo reel in which big name Australian actors – Blanchett and Joel Edgerton among them – sung to camera the praises of those working behind it. This is more than a sell, says Weaving, citing veteran Australian producers Jan Chapman, David Jowsey and Vincent Sheehan, and cinematographers Donald McAlpine (Moulin Rouge) and Stefan Duscio, whose work on Michael Petroni’s thriller Backtrack could scoop it the festival’s $100,000 prize.

“The industry exists here,” he insists. “Just because films aren’t seen doesn’t mean they don’t exist; doesn’t mean they’re not good. That’s always the tragedy for me. I get so …”. He tails off only to pick up again. “What do we have to do to mature to the extent that we choose to watch and look at our own culture? Why don’t we do that?”

The fault doesn’t necessarily lie with Australian audiences, he says. It comes “from the top”, by which I’m guessing Weaving means government. “Yes,” he says – coupled with a US-dominated industry that makes it hard for any other market to break through internationally. “I’m not into free markets. I think they are just an excuse for destroying things, an excuse to make massive profits at the expense of cultures and people.”

Weaving has never been shy of criticising the Abbott government, voicing his concerns about ongoing cuts to the ABC in 2014, and recently adding his face to the stepped-up campaign for Australian marriage equality. “It’s less about the marriage bit for me” – Weaving and his partner since 1984, artist Katrina Greenwood, have two children but have never tied the knot – “and more about equality. Just because I don’t need to marry, doesn’t mean other people can’t.”

Conversation steers to the UK, where Weaving grew up, and its ramped-up rhetoric on immigration. “Now we’ve got Abbott lecturing the Europeans about what to do: “Turn back the boats.” You think, oh man! This is insane the world we live in.” Culturally, Weaving still feels the influence of his British upbringing. “My childhood and heritage and the stories I grew up with, well, I accept I’m not the purest Australian,” he says. “At the same time, I go back there and I don’t really feel English. We’re all a mixture of all the influences that made us.”

Should the government be protecting Australian film talent with production quotas, as some in the industry have suggested? Weaving sees a bigger picture. When it comes to policy, everything is connected, he says: “Protecting your culture, protecting your environment, protecting your land, protecting your stories, protecting who you are, protecting your thoughts – it’s all crucial.”

And he still doesn’t know what the fix is. “If it were obvious it would have been done. In terms of the skilled practitioners making the films, they are here. And they’ll keep on doing what they do in the hope that somehow, at the end, when the tap’s turned on, something comes out. At the moment, we’ve got rainfall, but it’s not coming out of the tap.”


CinefestOz Photos

Here are all the photos I’ve found of Hugo Weaving appearing at various screenings, events and interviews. Thanks to all the news outlets and fans who shared these! Captions below photos are from original posts by the photographers/sharers.

Behind the scenes Today Show! David Wenham, Sarah Snook & Hugo Weaving!!! @MargaretRiver @ScreenWest #eventswa  Photo: CinefestOz via Twitter

“Hugo Weaving and David Wenham at #cinefestoz awesome to see these guys in WA to support Australian Cinema”  Photo: Lauren Monicka via Instagram

“Couple of icons of the Australian screen #DavidWenham and #HugoWeaving take to the stage at @cinefestoz #cinefestoz ”  Photo: Lucy Gibson via Twitter

“Hugo Weaving as we are about to start” Photo: ABC South West WA via Twitter

“Hugo Weaving & David Wenham commandeer the cobra! @cinefestoz #southwest #australianfilmindustry #cinefestoz.” Aravina Estate via Twitter/Facebook

“Aravina Directors lunch is underway! David Wenham & Hugo Weaving doing some Q & A’s. Simply stunning day!” Photo: CinefestOz via Instagram

“My nephew just met Hugo weaving WFT wow ” Photo: StevoVictoria via Twitter

“Hangin’ with Hugo #hugoweaving #CinefestOZ #filmfestival @ Aravina Estate”   Photo: Tasha Campbell via Twitter/Instagram

“”Hugo Weaving- CinefestOZ Screen Legend!! Check out his plaque outside Orana Cinemas Busselton!”  Photo: CinefestOz via Instagram

“Gold Fever models Libby & Tabs rockin’ the red carpet tonight at CinefestOz Bunbury with the very generous Hugo Weaving. Big thanks to Gemma Collins Makeup & Nadin from Niche for hair. #goldfevervintage #pinupgirlclothing #cinefestoz #cinefestoz #southwestlife #gemmacollinsmakeup #westisbest #downsouth #hollywoodglamour” Gold Fever Vintage via Instagram

“@_ashleejulian_ and #kadiaarmstrong of @cm_management #luluandvee alongside #Hellbunny with Actor #HugoWeaving @cinefestoz red carpet event! MUA: @gemmacollinsmakeupartist Hair: Nadine @nicheforhair Image via Stylo and Thankyou @goldfevervintage #redcarpet #gowns #models #glamour #southwestlife #WADesigner #aussieactor #cinefestoz ” Natalie Angus via Instagram

Photo: Guardian Aus Culture via Twitter

“Just chilling with @WenhamDavid, #HugoWeaving & #ShaneJacobsen and the @lomaxmedia” Grant M Fletcher via Instagram

Hugo interviewed on the red carpet at the Living Legend gala, 29 August CinefestOz  Photo: Busselton-Dunsborough Mail

Hugo on the red carpet at the Living Legend gala, 29 August CinefestOz  Photo: Busselton-Dunsborough Mail

Hugo interviewed on the red carpet at the Living Legend gala, 29 August CinefestOz  Photo: Busselton-Dunsborough Mail

“And then Hugo said……… When I lead in with “I love you and that’s ok… ” you know hilarity and silly buggerish will ensue. Great opening night @cinefestoz here in the beautiful southwest. Welcome to country by Josh Whiteland; smooth tune from the glamourous Local Vintage fine local bubbles followed by the Australian movie premiere of Now Add Honey. Robyn Butler you are absolute joy to watch and SO funny. What a cracking cast.” RemedyStore via Instagram

Other CinefestOz press: Sarah Snook (Hugo’s costar in The Dressmaker) was interviewed by The West Australian. And Hugo is briefly quoted in a festival-themed article at CommunityNews.com.au And there’s a full gallery of photos of the Living Legend and Awards gala at the Busselton-Dunsboriugh Mail.

The Dressmaker

We won’t have too long to wait before Hugo’s next film (and last completed project for awhile) debuts with the World Premiere Gala for The Dressmaker at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 14. While Hugo hasn’t officially confirmed is presence at the premiere, I would be very surprised if he didn’t attend, as he’s been very supportive of the film and his director in all of his recent interviews, and has always gone to TIFF in the past unless a prior commitment prevented him.

Meanwhile, the film’s social media presence has kicked into high gear recently, sharing some new photos and character profiles. Here’s their formal introduction to Hugo’s character, Sergeant Farratt:

“Meet Sergeant Farrat. The local policeman and first to see Tilly’s magical skill with thread and silk.” The Dressmaker via Twitter/Facebook

The film has also secured British distribution and will premiere in the UK on 6 November. (The film’s IMDb page lists October and November 2015 release dates for Australia (29 Oct), New Zealand, Turkey, Argentina, Portugal, Thailand and Brazil, with the US given only a vague 2015 tentative release date.)  It is also slated to screen at Korea’s Busan Film Festival in October (date TBA).There are additional articles about the film at Premier of Victoria and The Border Mail, the latter including a interview with novelist Rosalie Ham and producer Sue Maslin.

Fans will also want to check out Rosalie Ham’s television interview on Network 7’s The Daily Edition.

The Hobbit Trilogy Expanded Editions Get Theatrical Release

In advance of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy completing its Expanded Edition release on DVD/Blu-Ray this fall, all three films will be re-released in the expanded cuts to theatres in 500 locations on October 5 (An Unexpected Journey) October 7 (The Desolation of Smaug) and October 13 (The Battle of the Five Armies). This will be fans’ first opportunity to see Five Armies in long form, and, as with last year’s marathon trilogy screenings, these will feature special introductions from Jackson. Here’s the official trailer for the reissue. You can buy tickets (US locations) here. The extended cut of Battle of the Five Armies has been re-rated R for violent content, but no specifics on whether Hugo Weaving has any additional footage. I’m guessing not from early descriptions of the 20 minutes of new material, which seem to focus on the titular battle. (Also, Hugo has mentioned in interviews that filming the additional scenes for his expanded role in the film (ie the five minute rescue of Gandalf near the beginning of BOFA, also featuring Cate Blanchett and Christopher Lee) only took a few extra days.) I’d absolutely love to be wrong. I’m not sure whether my finances will permit me to indulge in the theatrical re-release, though I’d love to go. (I will be investing in the Blu-Ray eventually.) I first saw LOTR in the expanded cuts prior to Return of the King’s debut  2003, and I’ve always thought the theatrical edits of those films were inferior… but no one would argue that LOTR is generally the superior trilogy of the two and had much lengthier source material to draw from than The Hobbit.

via Warner Bros Online

Hugo Weaving Featured in Two New Pro-Equality PSAs, Attends STC’s The Present Opening

Though Hugo has mostly been taking an extended break since Waiting For Godot ended its London run. I do apologize for not getting his few but very welcome public appearances posted here in anything resembling a timely manner. Since the last entry I’ve lost a beloved pet and adopted two new ones, I work three part-time jobs with highly unpredictable hours, and I’ve had all sorts of other distractions from family, friends and other Life Complications, not all of them bad. I do update my Twitter feed most days because most of my friends tend to congregate there, but do appreciate the context this forum allows.

I was lucky enough to attend a screening of Hugo’s film Healing, costarring Don Hany, Xavier Samuel and Mark Leonard Winter, on August 14 in New York City. Though I sometimes fault my own “cussed orneriness” about waiting to see Hugo’s films on a big cinema screen (whether or not there’s any hope of such a screening actually materializing) this is one instance where I’m absolutely glad I did. The DGA Theatre in New York City offered Craig Monahan’s beautiful film the pristine visual/sound presentation it deserved. Monahan himself attended, discussed making the film and took questions from the audience after the screening, discreetly but definitely suggesting the film’s US distributor had dropped the ball dumping the film straight to DVD with no fanfare and a risibly inaccurate cover illustration “showing Hugo Weaving looking like he did in The Matrix.”   😉 The DGA screenings in New York and, last week, in Los Angeles are part of Monahan’s attempt to get the film properly seen here after too few film festivals took a chance on it, seeming to prefer “edgier” fare, though at this stage I would consider a prison-set film NOT fixated on violence and rape to be ahead of the pack. I’ll offer some thoughts on the film later; if any of you fans has a chance to see this film in a theatre– or on high-quality HDTV equipment with decent surround-sound– you should go for it.  In some ways I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to first witness Strangerland under such optimal conditions, but I’m still hopeful I might get that chance later. That, The Key Man and The Turning are Hugo’s only indie films since 2005 that I haven’t managed to see in a theatre. Yes, I actually managed to see The Tender Hook in a theatre too. Still can’t quite believe that happened… but just goes to show you never know what opportunities might come up, so always be ready. 😉

#WeCanDoThis and #IStandWithAdam TV Spots

Hugo Weaving lent his presence to two important public service announcements that aired on Australian TV to coincide with internet awareness/hashtag campaigns. The first, #IStandWithAdam, depicts many prominent Australian actors, politicians and athletes voicing their support for Adam Goodes, an Indigenous Australian athlete who has faced racist taunts and jeering from some Australian-rules football fans.  (Goodes plays for The Sydney Swans; Hugo is a long-standing fan often spotted at games.) Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh, among many others, also appear in the two-minute spot. You can read more about the campaign at The Age, BBC Online, The Sydney Morning Herald and ABC.

via The Age

About a week after the #IStandWithAdam spot appeared, Hugo also joined in the marriage-equality campaign #WeCanDoThis. Rather shockingly, even the US was ahead of Australia on this important issue… ideally this lapse will soon be rectified. Marriage equality has been the law of the land in my state for ten years now and has done nothing to impinge on the sanctity of “straight marriage”… even for people on their third or fourth straight marriage. 😉

via Australian Marriage Equality

Here are a few of my caps from both PSAs.

Hugo Attends Opening of STC’s The Present

On August 8, Hugo attended the premiere of Sydney Theatre Co’s new production of the rarely-mounted Chekhov play The Present, starring Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh, Jacqueline McKenzie and Susan Prior. Reviews have been generally positive; you can read a few at The Guardian, Limelight Magazine, The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Here are the only four pics of Hugo at the premiere that I’ve been able to find thusfar, along with my favorite of the production photos.

Hugo Weaving at the opening night performance of STC’s The Present  Photo: Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/Getty Images

Photo: Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/Getty Images

Photo: Mark Sullivan/WireImage

Photo: Mark Sullivan/WireImage

Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh and the cast share a quiet evening at home 😉  Production photo by Lisa Tomasetti (full set of her photos here)

Strangerland DVD/Blu-Ray

A month after it was (barely) released to US cinemas, Strangerland debuted on DVD and Blu-Ray August 18. (It has been available on these formats in Australia for a couple of months.) Though the cover art is different, both the R4 and R1 home releases seem to feature similar bonus features, though the Australian DVD breaks them down into smaller categories (ie by actor/director).   You can also rent the film via Netflix and the streaming services that offered the VOD when the film came out last month (Amazon, Vudu, iTunes.) Some of the more comprehensive/well-written assessments of the DVD/Blu-Ray (and the film itself) appear at Galveston News, Film Ireland, Edge Media Network,

There are also contests to win a copy of the US Blu-Ray and poster at several sites, including The Film Stage, Slant Magazine and Dread Central. (Though, IMHO, there should be a rule that only sites which give a film positive or supportive reviews should get free copies to dole out.) 😉

And you can read more info on the locations for the film at Screen NSW.

The Dressmaker

The Adelaide Film Festival will hold a preview screening of The Dressmaker (starring Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Sarah Snook, Liam Hemsworth and Hugo) on 16 October in advance of its 29 October Australian release. For more details go here.  The film’s world premiere (specific date TBA) will be at the Toronto International Film Festival in September… ie less than a month away! 😉

Author Rosalie Ham spoke to News 7/Yahoo about her excitement over seeing her novel adapted for the screen, as well as her role as an extra in the dance hall scene.  The video interview is several minutes long but, alas, features no Hugo footage apart from what’s already in the trailer.

There are two new paperback versions of Ham’s novel: a more generic reprint (still an improvement over the sickly pink-and-green original cover design) and a film tie-in which come out next month. I impatiently ordered the first one offered, which turned out to be the generic one, but since Hugo’s character isn’t depicted on either version, I can’t complain. The film tie-in, available for pre-order, features Kate Winslet as she appears on the film’s poster.

I’ve read a few pages and already love Ham’s caustic, witty “voice”, which could be problematic when it comes to adaptation… either the omniscient third-person wit has to be filtered into character dialogue (which can work if done judiciously) or through voiceover narration (please, don’t do this. It rarely works). I have a history of “book snobbery” dating back to when I was 6 and proclaimed the book version of The Wizard of Oz to be better than the beloved 1939 film version. (I now concede I was wrong… both are equally good.) This summer I got a taste of how the other side feels when I fell in love with an adaptation of a popular novel without having read it, then despaired that the novel filled in all the narrative gaps in different ways than my imagination had. 😉 So I’m nervous about whether I should continue reading the book before seeing the film. Previously I have read the book in almost every instance when Hugo starred in an adaptation, and his skill (and that of his costars and collaborators) has usually gotten me over any drastic changes from the book. But I do understand when some people complain that the film version of V for Vendetta is substantially different from the graphic novel– because it IS. In this case I love both for very different reasons. For the most part, the novel and cinema versions of (The) Last Ride are complementary as well… though anyone who disliked Kev’s fate in the film can seek solace in the novel. So I have to decide what to do… but what I’ve read of the novel so far is a sharp-edged delight.

Healing review to follow soon. Spoiler alert though: I loved it. Shouldn’t be missed by any fan of the actors, Craig Monahan or wild raptors.