Tag Archives: The Matrix

Classic Hugo Weaving interview Clips At SBS

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

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

Anyhow, the links are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vintage Hugo Weaving Photos From SFF Archive, More on Archibald Prizes

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.

First off, I find I need to repeat a request that people NOT randomly post material here, but submit links to me either via comments or personal message (here or on Twitter). I really want this to be an organized, properly-sourced resource, not a free-for-all. Posting images or other material without proper source credits can get us into trouble. If you can’t abide by this simple request, please leave the site alone. However, I have no issue with fans reposting material they found here so long as they include source credits for this site and the website of origin, original writer/photographer/etc. I am not trying to exercise ownership over any of this material, just control over what content happens to get posted here. If anyone wants to start their own fansite, and share material in any way that pleases them, they are free to do so. But please don’t try to take over this one. If anyone has genuinely rare or exclusive material they want shared here, I will do so with lavish thanks and proper credit. Most fans do in fact follow proper channels and submit material this way, and I am grateful. But I don’t need people to repost (without source credit) material they found online in a random, haphazard manner. In almost all cases I know about this material and am already working on the next entry, which will include it. I try to carefully compose entries which make ALL recent news and material available together rather than posting each new item on its own– that’s what Twitter is for. And I am scrupulous about context and proper source credits. Again, please respect this rule, or don’t use this site.

Sorry about that– I know 99.9999% of you didn’t need to hear it, and have always respected my wishes.

My previous entry detailed Del Kathryn Barton’s winning of the Archibald Prize with her lavish, visually striking and symbol-rich portrait of Hugo Weaving, simply entitled hugo.  I noted at the time that Hugo was unavailable to attend the ceremony, as he’s busy in Victoria filming Healing. But the Sydney-are arts blog The Social Shuttle noted that his partner Katrina and daughter Holly were on hand and posed with the portrait (see under cut– it’s a large photo). Katrina is quoted as mentioning that the prior portrait of Hugo in the running for the Archibalds– Nicholas Harding’s Hugo at Home— was recently purchased by the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.  Which neatly counteracts a lot of the skepticism in the media about the Prizes’ impact. 😉

There was also an interesting letter to the editor in the Sydney Morning Herald, debunking one of the more snide appraisals of the portrait, from reader Anne Lennard:

The cat’s pyjamas

I have known Hugo Weaving for many years and I disagree with John McDonald. I find Del Kathryn Barton has captured the essence of the man.

There is a ‘special likeness’ and great ‘psychological insight’ in the portrait. The ‘strange animal’ looks very like his Abyssinian cat, not something ‘the special effects crew of The Matrix dreamt up’. (Hugo’s always been something of a cat whisperer – they adore him).
For me, the leaves represent his passion for the environment. He and his family have planted more than 2000 trees at their country home, replacing those logged in the past century. So, look again, John McDonald. I love the painting and its subject.

Anne Lennard has indeed known Hugo Weaving for many years. She ought to– she’s his mother. 😉 So the Barton portrait seems to have full familial endorsement in addition to Hugo’s participation in its creation, both through multiple sittings and thematic content.  I didn’t know Hugo and family currently have an Abyssinian cat, though I assumed he must have some sort of feline companionship. (Also, the “Deja Vu” cat in the Matrix was a simple black cat, not anything exotic or SFX-generated, heh heh.) Vintage interviews with Hugo were often held at his home, and mentioned a three-legged calico named Eve and a Siamese named Thisbe, but as Hugo became more famous, such homey details were harder to come by. But Hugo has often referenced loving cats and animals in general.

New footage of Del Katryn Barton discussing her portrait can be viewed at WA Today and Art Gallery of New South Wales.  And I’ll mention again that the full Archibald Prizes portrait exhibit remains on display at Art Gallery of NSW through 2 June for fans lucky enough to be in the Sydney area. (Our Special Correspondent Yvette has already visited. Lucky, lucky, lucky.) 😉

UPDATE: There’s a new, 24-minute interview with Del Kathryn Barton available for streaming or download at ABC Radio National’s Sunday Profile. Of course, she discusses her award-winning portrait, why she chose Hugo Weaving, and the symbolism and work process she used creating it. (Apparently both were under the influence of “a long, slow cup of tea” while discussing concepts!) 😉

As I mentioned, Hugo himself continues work on Healing… In addition to the Healesville Sanctuary photos posted previously, Victoria Greens Party politician Janet Rice visited the Healesville shoot and got to pose with Hugo:

Photo: Janet Rice via Twitter

Some fascinating vintage photos of Hugo at past Sydney Film Festivals recently surfaced as part of the vast, engrossing SFF Archive which went live earlier this week and continues to add new content– so the images below are probably just for starters. As longtime fans know, Hugo has served as a patron, judge and fan of the Sydney Film Festival for many years in addition to premiering several of his classic Australian films there over the years. He attends every year (unless work physically prevents him), whether in an official capacity or just to enjoy the wide variety of films showcased. The new archive features a wealth of vintage photos, program scans, videos, anecdotes and other material from 1954 to the present. If you’re a fan of Australian film, directors or actors (Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, George Miller, Toni Collette, David Weham and Russell Crowe, among many others, are well-represented) do yourself a favor and reserve a few hours to look it over.

Some SFF Archive photos of Hugo:

Russell Crowe with Hugo Weaving, Opening Night Party SFF 1991 (Proof premiere)

Hugo Weaving (right) with partner Katrina, Opening Night Party SFF 1991 (Proof premiere)

Hugo Weaving (left) with partner Katrina, Proof producer Lynda House and director Jocelyn Moorhouse, Opening night party, SFF 1991 (Proof premiere)

Hugo Weaving at the 1994 SFF Opening Night Party

Hugo and partner Katrina at the 2002 SFF Opening Night Party

I’ll add additional relevant material from the SFF Archive as it becomes available.

In Other Hugo Weaving News:
The sneak preview material for The Desolation of Smaug, the second film in the Hobbit trilogy, debuted online on March 24. Total Film provided some details; other websites have attempted to share the footage itself, but usually get blocked or threatened by Warner Bros within hours… ideally this material will be made available to everyone soon. (Some fans have reported in frustration that those who missed the initial webcast could not view the footage later at the site, despite having purchased An Unexpected Journey on DVD/BluRay and having the necessary access code; I have no idea if this was a problem across the board.) Elrond wasn’t specifically mentioned in any online reports about the new footage (nor was Smaug unveiled), but there were first glimpses of Luke Evans’ Bard the Bowman, Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, and Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel.

Speaking of The Hobbit, the first installment recently picked up Empire Awards for Best SciFi/Fantasy Film and Best Actor (Martin Freeman). Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman were on hand to collect; you can view pics and footage here.

Geraldine Hakewill, who costarred with Hugo Weaving in Les Liaisons Dangereuses last year and will costar with Harry Greenwood in Fury for The Sydney Theatre Company next month, gave the Sydney Morning Herald an interview. She said this of Liaisons’ salacious sex scenes: ”I trusted Hugo from day one; it never felt strange or awkward. ‘Sex scenes are always difficult, but it’s often about the girl saying, ‘What you’re doing is fine with me.’ It’s actually the guys who feel more uncomfortable. Once everything is OK, you do it and try to have fun…[Hugo Weaving is] He was such a joy to work with. ‘He’s a beautiful human being, and such a talented actor, with no ego. He’s become a dear friend. I’d love to work with him again. We’re so lucky to have him.”

There’s a lengthy, enthusiastic review of Hugo’s 2009 film Last Ride at Geeks of Doom. Last Ride is currently available for streaming on Netflix (US).

And there’s a great behind-the-scenes shot of Hugo Weaving and Keanu Reeves filming The Matrix’s climactic fight scene included in Bored Panda’s30 Awesome Behind The Scenes Shots From Famous Movies.”

That’s all for now, but I hope to be back on April 4 with some special material in celebration of Hugo’s birthday.

New Hugo Weaving interview; More Uncle Vanya Press; More Last Ride Coverage

Note: This is an archived entry that’s over two years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material.

While we’re awaiting the first round of Uncle Vanya reviews (and, possibly, more cast photos), a lovely surprise just surfaced on The A.V. Club: they’ve had Hugo Weaving participate in their “Random Roles” forum, “wherein we talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers. The catch: They don’t know beforehand what roles we’ll ask them to talk about.” Yes, The Matrix and the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movies came up. 😉 But I was impressed with the scope of the other choices, which included my first Hugo Weaving movie, Proof. (This was also the film that brought him to the Wachowskis’ attention, don’t forget. ) Last Ride, the eagerly anticipated Cloud Atlas and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert also got generous attention. Oddly, Uncle Vanya wasn’t discussed, but this is a film-centric website, and they’ve helped spread the word about Last Ride’s US release, so it’s all good. It’s such a balanced, thoughtful exchange that I can’t easily truncate or pull quotes, so full transcript is below the cut. Or just click on the link and read it at their site.

Hugo Weaving on being Elrond, The Matrix’s evil AI, and a kidnapper convict

Welcome to Random Roles, wherein we talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers. The catch: They don’t know beforehand what roles we’ll ask them to talk about.

The actor: Balancing mega-blockbusters and character-driven independent films, Hugo Weaving musters the high style necessary for a elven lord, an evil computer program, and a malevolent Transformer, all while retaining the subtlety to fuel more small-scale films. His latest, Last Ride, is one of the latter, with Weaving playing an abusive ex-convict who takes his estranged son along as they flee through the Australian outback.

Last Ride (2009)—“Kev”
The A.V. Club: It’s an actor-driven movie, which is always attractive. But what drew you to this part in particular?

Hugo Weaving: That he was such a compromised man. That he was so troubled and really in a bad way, and obviously had everything against him, and his upbringing, and… I mean, if you read the book, you get a sense of—beautiful book, by the way—Kev’s childhood and what he had to struggle with with his father. You feel like it’s a continuum—what’s happening with him and his own son —except even worse. And so it’s the spiral of that. The flashes of time when Kev reveals his love for his son, I found really poignant and quite beautiful. I think it is a love story. It’s certainly a love story in the book; slightly less so in the film. The film’s a little bleaker—well, a lot bleaker, actually, and darker. But it still really is about the particular relationship between these two damaged individuals, and I think that was a thing that interested me in the character. The reason I was interested in the film is because I loved the script, and I’d seen Glendyn [Ivin]’s first short, an absolutely beautiful film called “Cracker Bag,” and that won an award at Cannes. I was really keen to work with him, so it didn’t take much, really.

AVC: You shot Last Ride three or four years ago at this point?

HW: Yes.

AVC: So it was just after a run of movies you’d done with a substantial amount of bluescreen and makeup and masks. Was it a relief to just go out in the bush with a camera and a small crew and make a movie that way?

HW: That’s actually the norm for me, so the change of pace is the big-budget mask thing, actually. The last few years, I have to say, I haven’t done so many small-budget Australian films, but that’s only been very recently, the last couple of years—since Last Ride, actually. But that, to me, was the more common experience: small crew, in the outback. And that’s the sort of film I love working on. That’s the thing I’ll always try to return to. I’m about to, in another month, do a similar, very low-budget film up in Queensland with an extraordinarily talented young director called Ivan Sen. I really love working with writer-directors on films in this country. Very low-budget, maybe a five- or six-week shoot, and that’s it. I think there’s a great energy that comes with working on films in that way. It’s a real pleasure to go to work when you’re in the most extraordinary surroundings, and working with people who are young and interested and creatively keen. I find it really stimulating, and just beautiful to be out in nature as well. So that’s something I peg as an absolute pleasure. There’s nothing like being on a massive-budget film where you don’t know anything, and there’s a million people, and no one’s communicating. So I generally prefer the smaller-budget film. I find both of them really great for me; they just stretch me in different ways.

AVC: There’s a visually stunning scene where you and your son are driving across this immense salt flat. Is that Lake Gairdner?

HW: Yeah.

AVC: How does it figure into your performance when you know you’re being framed in front of such an astonishing backdrop?

HW: Well, you see, that’s why I love location. You don’t have to do anything. I’ve never seen a film crew taking so many pictures of where they were. [Laughs.] Because it was exquisite. Absolutely exquisite. We were there for a couple of days. And the landscape would change dramatically, as well. You get a slight wind and it would feel like you’re in the Antarctic, and then it would go very still, and suddenly it’d be on a desert island or something. Then it would have this amazing reflective glass effect. There was a couple of inches of water along the salt flat, and everything would be completely reflected. And by the end of the day, if it was getting windy and the salt was flicking up, it would get in your eyes and on your lips and everything. So it’s an absolutely beautiful landscape. It just means you don’t have to… In a way, it permeates your being, and I think locations do that to you. They give you so much and you don’t have to pretend.

The Matrix (1999)/The Matrix Reloaded (2003)/The Matrix Revolutions (2003)—“Agent Smith”
AVC: When you’re making a movie like The Matrix, and the whole trilogy is about a world that doesn’t exist—on a number of levels—what do you feed off in those circumstances?

HW: The good humor of the directors, with The Matrix—very good relationship with them. But onThe Matrix, there were only a couple of days that I was working on green-screen. The sets on that were phenomenal, so I was always standing there going, “Well, this set is so real that it feels like this is the world I’m in.” Because the sets were so good, it didn’t feel particularly… And we were on location quite a lot for that. But something like The Hobbit would be more… Working on that last year, there was a definitely a lot more green-screen. There’s much more of a distance between… You see these extraordinary makeup transformations in front of your eyes, yet behind that, there’s a green flat. And so there’s quite a distance, quite a journey to make between… You’re constantly aware that this is a film reality that you need to augment with performance and your imagination, and that’s fine. That’s the world of The Hobbit and of Lord Of The Rings. I mean, again, there are sometimes the most exquisite sets, so it’s not always the case. And other times, you’re on location. But there seems to be more green-screen with that than anything I’ve ever done.

The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)/The Two Towers (2002)/The Return Of The King(2003)/The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)/The Hobbit: There And Back Again (2013)—“Elrond”
AVC: How different was making the Hobbit movies from doing the Lord Of The Ringstrilogy? It’s the same director, and a few of the same cast as well.

HW: Well, tonally, I think the film is slightly different, but the experience didn’t seem radically different, to be honest. If anything, it was slightly more green-screen and slightly less set. But a lot of the same people, both in the crew and some of the cast. Going back and standing with Ian McKellen on the set again 10 years later, we felt very much at home, in a way, and very much like no time had passed at all. A lot of the other cast were different from The Lord Of The Rings, but it felt like a very similar experience. Actually, I was back there just the other day doing some post-production and went onto set, and I was just thinking, “Well, it’s been a year since I’ve been here—10 years, really, since we started—but it feels like the same family group has been making films there for that long.”

AVC: In the trailer, Bag End looks exactly as it does when we see Bilbo living there in the trilogy. Is it the same set?

HW: You know, I’m not sure. I would hesitate to say it was. I would think it wasn’t. But there may be some elements. I would have thought not, but possibly, yeah.

Cloud Atlas (2012)—various undisclosed roles
AVC: Cloud Atlas seems like an enormously complicated project, combining six stories shot by two sets of directors: the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. How does that work?

HW: That was the most wonderful adventure, really. It was an extraordinary time in Berlin. Absolutely wonderful experience. I think everyone agreed it was like nothing anyone had ever done before, running from one director to another or from one set to another, potentially playing up to, well, I suppose up to six characters in one week. That’s a very unusual experience. And then there’s a lot of downtime because there’s six stories going on and you’re not in every part of every one of those stories. A lot of the English actors would be able to go home for a week or two and then come back, but because I live in Australia and I was in Berlin, I just stayed. So I lived in Berlin for three and a half months, which was actually a dream come true. I loved it. It’s a very special project, and a wonderful, wonderful book, and a really great script adaptation. Something that in the end, after the readthrough—which was really exciting, all the actors there at the beginning of the shoot—I think everyone realized, despite all the preparatory work that had been done, there were certain things which we weren’t going to know about until we jumped in and did it. So we all took a sort of big, brave leap and jumped in and started filming, and it was a really, genuinely exciting adventure. I’m as eager as anyone else to see it. I think it’s a really, really brave, difficult project that could be very exciting to watch. I hope it is. I think everyone really loved working on it.

AVC: How did splitting the stories up work in practical terms?

HW: There were three stories each, basically. Lana and Andy [Wachowski] did three, and Tom did three. Tom’s crew was largely the crew he’s worked with for years, and Lana and Andy’s crew—a lot of the crew were English, and some of them had worked on V For Vendetta and had worked with them in Berlin in the past as well. That was the division of labor: three stories each. Actually, I think initially Tom had wanted to do one particular story and Lana and Andy had wanted to do another one, and they needed to swap because of the way the locations were set up. They ended up not doing one of the stories they particularly wanted to do; they just swapped. They have an incredibly good relationship, Tom and Lana and Andy. It was delightful to first meet Tom on a video-conference Skype with Lana and Andy, who I know very well, and just see immediately that they were literally bouncing off each other and were getting on very, very well. And that was maintained all the way through the shoot. The editing process is something I’m not so sure about. I think that would have been more problematic and difficult, but I suspect, knowing the three of them, that they got on extremely well throughout that and managed to express what they wanted and to fight for the film as they all talked about it in the first place. I don’t envisage there being any problems between the three of them. I think that’s kind of remarkable. A testament to all three of them, actually.

Proof (1991)—“Martin”
AVC: Going back to small Australian projects, Proof was something of a breakthrough for you, wasn’t it? Not your first movie, but a wonderful introduction to you and director Jocelyn Moorhouse. Did it seem like an important project for you at the time?

HW: It wasn’t my first, you’re right, but it was the first film script I received and I thought, “This is the sort of film I want to be in.” And I just thought, “I really want that role. I really want to be in this film.” And again, it was a first-time filmmaker, and she’d written the script. There’s something about that combination that’s really… Knowing that something’s small-budget, and it’s a writer-director. If the script grabs me and appeals to me, I’m really very keen to work on it. Even if that director hasn’t… They’ve been to film school, but this is their first feature. Sometimes that makes me want to do it more, because I think there’s probably something fantastically fresh and different about them and their approach. So I was very keen when I read that to be involved in that. And went along, met Jocelyn, did the audition, got the role. For me, that was a definite watershed in my fairly early career. I felt, “Ah, this is where I want to be.” Those sort of films come along quite rarely, you know. [Laughs.] I think I’ve done maybe five or six films that I’ve had that sense. I really want to work on those films during my time in Australia. That was the first of those films.

AVC: You had Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert not long after Proof, which put you on the map, but your costar, Russell Crowe, took a few more years to catch on.

HW: He seemed very keen to head over to the States and have a career there, which wasn’t ever my… I wasn’t ever going to go and live there.  I can’t remember exactly the dates, but it seemed within three or four years of Proof that he was already working in Hollywood, and working in L.A., and doing films over there. I can’t remember how long it took, but certainly he became a major box-office star, didn’t he?

The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (1994)—“Anthony ‘Tick’ Belrose”/“Mitzi Del Bra”
AVC: It’s almost hard to remember how groundbreaking it seemed to have a movie about drag queens in the mid-’90s, characters who were campy, but also short-tempered and dangerous. Was that all in the script? Did you do your own research?

HW: No, the script was there. The writer [Stephan Elliott] is definitely an extraordinary character, and very smart. Can be very caustic, a lot of fun. I had worked with him on a film prior to that [Frauds], and in fact we’d worked on a number of films before that, with him as a runner or a second AD. So no, it was there in the script, but as we grew into characters, then… I mean, Terence [Stamp] and I and Guy [Pearce] were out in drag in the streets of Sydney before the film started, going out to clubs and things to sort of get into character. [Laughs.] And so those sort of things grew as the shoot progressed. We would be adding and changing little bits and pieces, and increasingly wearing the clothes of some of our makeup artists, one of whom was a drag queen himself—Guy’s makeup artist. I sort of started stealing his clothes and wearing them throughout the shoot. So it grew, but a lot of that was in the script, or what was happening on the day. But Stephan was very amenable to that.

You can sense from this that Hugo will love heading back to Australia to work on Mystery Road, his next film, directed by Ivan Sen.  Ideally international audiences won’t have to wait as long for it as they did for Last Ride. Speaking of Last Ride, it opens in the Minneapolis/St Paul market this weekend, and continues to accrue positive notices:

Nathan Kamal, Spectrum Culture: ” Last Ride is the first full length film from director Glendyn Ivin, though you’d never know it. While the downfall of far too many first time directors is a lamentable tendency to throw in every cinematic trick in the book to demonstrate the breadth of their skill, Last Ride is a stark, simple movie…. And while [Tom] Russell portrays the childish petulance and anger of Chook well, it’s Weaving that’s the heart of the film. He captures Kev perfectly, a man who’s well aware of the mistakes he’s made but doesn’t know what to do with the life he’s made. He hits the notes of fatherhood just right (as in a scene where he dunks Chook in a pond to try to teach him to swim, something all fathers are apparently obligated to do), as well as the lack of self control that periodically erupts in rage. Last Ride is remarkable film for several reasons, but it’s most worth watching for Weaving.”

Colin Covert, Vita.mn/Minneapolis Star Tribune: “In this outback road movie, Australian actor Hugo Weaving dirties up to play Kev, an ex-con on a camping trip with his 10-year-old son Chook (the flawlessly naturalistic Tom Russell). The dynamic between the two is as mysterious and unforgiving as the desert vistas they travel. Their relationship is love and suspicion, rejection and dependency, faith and disappointment all in a knot. Weaving finds Kev’s humanity, winning our grudging pity for a hothead doomed by his nitroglycerine temper and thoughtlessness. Stunning camerawork by Greig Fraser (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) finds eerie beauty in desolate landscapes. The title more or less gives away the film’s design, but the predestined journey is taut and tragic nevertheless.”

There is also a selection of interesting stories from actors who played extras in Last Ride at Squidoo, a well-written review for the Australian release at Onya Magazine, and US reviews at Bloomberg and News Review.

Cate Blanchett has been given most of the Uncle Vanya promotional duties (often shared with husband/co-STC artistic director Andrew Upton), and carried them off with insight and panache, speaking to The Wall Street Journal (video), NY1 (video), The LA Times, Playbill, The New York Times, and New York Monthly. The NY Times piece also includes comments from Richard Roxburgh, and the video interviews include snippets of play footage, all from STC’s brilliant promotional trailer (below). Roxburgh and Blanchett gave their most in-depth interview last summer during the Kennedy Center run, filling a segment of PBS’s News Hour:

Early, informal reviews to the current production of Uncle Vanya remain wildly enthusiastic. I’ll share more as the story develops, but it’s an exciting week.

International Screenings for Oranges & Sunshine, Last Ride

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

Things have been quiet in the fandom over the past few weeks; Uncle Vanya closed on 1 January and Hugo remains in Sydney but is taking a well-earned break before he begins what promises to be a busy year. We’re still awaiting a lot of basic promotional material for Oranges and Sunshine, Hugo’s first film to open in 2011. A trailer exists and has been screening with The King’s Speech in Australian cinemas (the two films share an international distributor) and has received enthusiastic feedback from those lucky enough to see it… but it’s still not available online, nor does the film yet have a website, though it has a Facebook page. A lot of people are very eager for more info on the film, so I hope the good word of mouth and post-festival reviews aren’t squandered in bad promotion… too many of Hugo’s Australian films have suffered this fate. The good news is that the film will have another festival screening, this time in Glasgow, Scotland on 25 and 26 February. More info can be found here. The film will also screen on 31 March– followed by a discussion with director Jim Loach– at London’s Barbican Theatre. The film opens wide in the UK on 1 April and in Australia later that month. No additional countries have been announced yet, but I’ll keep you posted.  Also, for you David Wenham fans, some pics of his character have finally been released and can be seen here. I know you and Emily Watson’s fans are also actively searching for more info about this film… this is the sort of indie project that will really need strong word of mouth and fan support to get attention beyond its countries of origin.

Meanwhile, Last Ride, one of Hugo’s personal favorites of all his films, will finally be formally screened in America this April as part of the Adelaide Film Festival’s Investment Fund Films at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art along with many other prestigious Aussie films from the past several years. While some of these films have been seen in the US previously (Look Both Ways, Ten Canoes, etc) Last Ride has only been officially screened in the US once, in LA in late 2009. The film never found a US distributor, so it wasn’t released theatrically here. Many of us already own the Region 4 DVD, but this will be a rare opportunity to see the film as it was meant to be seen, and at a venue worthy of it. 😉 For more information, go to Inside Film and encoremagagine.com.au . MOMA doesn’t yet have any specifics available, but the Adelaide Film Festival screenings will take place the week of April 7-13, so keep checking this page for dates and times.

We still have no confirmation of Hugo’s possible participation in The Hobbit, Happy Feet 2 or a US season of STC’s Uncle Vanya. But Hugo’s Vanya costar Jacki Weaver received a well-deserved Oscar nod this week (as did his old pal and clowning teacher Geoffrey Rush) ;), and Richard Roxburgh has a high profile film opening this week (Sanctum)… I suspect if either of them knows anything about any upcoming theatre commitments, they’ll say so soon in interviews. 😉 The Hobbit has been delayed again after director Peter Jackson suffered a perforated ulcer and was rushed into surgery a couple of days ago… he should make a full recovery, according to stuff.co.nz, and the production delay will be “only slight.”

Also, Hugo’s recent Aussie TV projects Rake and I, Spry are now available on DVD from many fine Australian retailers. There’s an interesting 13 minute Making Of doc for I, Spry over at YouTube; Hugo isn’t in it, but it provides interesting tidbits about the docudrama, which Hugo narrated. You can also see the trailers for both shows: Rake, I, Spry. NOTE: Hugo only appears in episode 1 of Rake, which can be found on Part 1 of the two part DVD set. I’ve seen a lot of competitive prices for both programs on ebay. And I’ve recently noticed that Hugo’s hard-to-find 1993 black comedy Frauds (costarring Phil Collins and Josephine Byrnes) is now available for streaming on Netflix if you’re a member… as is his 2005 drama Peaches.

And… all those wild rumors about possible Matrix sequels in 3D which were running rampant on the internet last week turned out to be hoaxes. I suspected as much, but some people who think Harry Knowles can’t be punked are still repeating this stuff. Always get confirmation from a credible source before repeating fanboy gossip. 😉

Update: There’s a nice preview of Oranges and Sunshine at Dark Horizons, highlighting “…a film that avoids easy emotional manipulation or sensationalistic tricks. The acting talent, especially the three W’s – Watson, Weaving and Wenham – all apparently deliver strong performances in a film that keeps the focus on personal costs rather than political justice. Powerful stuff.”