Tag Archives: Xavier Samuel

Healing: New Preview Clip Featuring Hugo Weaving; New Reviews; Strangerland Sales Launch at Cannes

Pinnacle Films has generously shared a two-minute clip from Healing which features Hugo Weaving’s character Matt Perry. Spoiler-phobes should be aware that it must come from near the beginning of the film, as it addresses the creation of the prison raptor aviary which is the focus of the entire plot:

Via Pinnacle’s Facebook Page

Composer David Hirschfelder spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald about his scoring of the film. Don Hany contnues to appear at preview screenings and Q&As (sometimes with director Craig Monahan. He was interviewed on Network Ten’s The Project… but, alas, that clip, like most Network Ten content these days, seems to be blocked from international viewers.

Reviews for the film continue to be largely positive, though a few cynics have chimed in with complaints about the film’s quiet, contemplative pacing and lack of shocking twists. While I’ve made criticisms like this about more than a few pretentious arthouse films (the oeuvre of Terrence Malick springs to mind), I get the sense that most of the complaints in this case derive from the film not being the sort of “prison film” they expected, or from critics who simply don’t find the subject matter interesting to begin with. (Me, I could watch birds of prey in my yard for hours…) Some also don’t find the redemption angle of the story credible, though Healing is loosely based on a true story and is set at a low-security facility for prisoners who are largely rehabilitated rather than among highly violent offenders. Still, I do want to  share a cross-section of thoughtfully-written reviews whether I believe my response to the film will be similar or not. A lot of people I respect didn’t “get” Mystery Road or thought it was too slow. I find such opinions a bit daft, but would also find a 100% critical consensus on ANY film suspicious. No film is made for every audience.

Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile: “While the ideas resonate emotionally, propelled by strong performances, the film drags in parts with the construct apparent. However there are many good things, including a fine score by David Hirschfelder and stunning cinematography by Andrew Lesnie in which falcons and eagles are shown in flight, their glorious wingspans in full display above the lazy rural Victorian setting…

Weaving is as good as ever – the fact that his Senior Officer Matt Perry has his own personal issues, brings pathos to the role, even though the premise seems somewhat contrived. The scene in which Paul is forced to release the owl with the extraordinary markings and saucer eyes into the wild has great poignancy as do the scenes between Viktor and Yasmine. Most successful is the bitter sweetness that Monahan achieves in depicting the emotional journey of the men who have become attached to the birds and must set them free. It is a pity the film does not soar as freely.”

Andrew L Urban, Urban Cinefile: “The symbolic metaphor of birds (freedom) and prisoners (no freedom) provides the inner tension in Healing, the simple but descriptively titled new film from Craig Monahan, who made one of my favourite Aussie dramas, The Interview (1998), starring Hugo Weaving and Tony Martin. They must have got on well because they’re together again in Healing…The two veteran actors are joined by a varied and wonderful cast…

Supple, meandering and sometimes besotted with the beauty of its own creations, the screenplay tries to embrace several inter-related themes, but fumbles the process. The obligatory prison rivalries, while no doubt essential for contextual veracity, distract from the narrative drive, diluting the power of the central story…

Andrew Lesnie’s photography is a standout, and David Hirschfelder’s score is like a power booster, sometimes reminiscent of his sweeping score for The Owls of Ga’hoole … with the owls in Healing adding the visual recall… A great deal of effort has gone into capturing the birds on screen – without capturing them from their freedom – and the close ups as well as the flying are special treats.”

Richard Cotter, Sydney Arts Guide: “Andrew Lesnie’s lensing of these magnificent birds in flight is exhilarating, leaving the audiences rapt in the rapture of these raptors – wide of wing, sharp of eye and talon, unfettered freedom in motion…

Director Craig Monahan continues his collaboration with Hugo Weaving, casting him as Matt Perry, the catalyst between prisoner and bird of prey…  Weaving is reunited with Tony Martin his co star from Monahan’s feature debut, The Interview. Here he plays a fellow prison officer, cynical and pessimistic about the power of the programme.  Monahan has assembled a strong ensemble supporting cast to play the archetypal prison inmates….

The real stars, of course, are the magnificent birds – majestic, noble, exquisite. Either perched or in full flight, they are eminently watchable… HEALING is a packed to the raptors entertainment with enormous heart.”

Hugo Weaving and Tony Martin in Healing   Photo: Pinnacle Films

Lyndsay Kenwright, altmedia.net.au: “Despite the obvious title, Healing is an Australian film that is worth watching – beautiful cinematography and an evocative story with great characters… Sarah Greer, Lawyers weeklyThe mise-en-scène and the elegant movements offer thoughtful symbolism.”

Sarah Greer, Lawyers Weekly: “[A]  prison story neither depressing nor didactic but thought provoking and quintessentially Australian…

Healing is a film of uncommon beauty and intelligence which explores crime and punishment, family relationships, racism, religion, recidivism, grief, love and hope…

Senior Officer Matt Perry [is] played perfectly understatedly by Hugo Weaving…

Even before the film’s completion, Monahan and Nisselle’s screenplay won the Gadens Queensland Literary Award for Feature Film Script. In different creative hands, Healing could have been a gruelling morality tale. Told as it is, the story’s power lies in its light touch and restraint. The many parallels between man and bird need no exposition…

While dealing with important ideas about right and wrong, Healing’s conscious refusal to preach, underestimate its audience’s intelligence or answer its own questions is maintained to the end. Without disclosing the film’s conclusion, it restores our faith in humanity and, momentarily, our justice system.”

Michael Perrot, The Movie Hound/couch.com.au: “While Healing drags and gets a bit over sentimental at times, there’s a lot to like in this movie. What with its fine Australian cast, a lot of characters who are in competition with each other, and all nursing secret and hidden problems…

Criag Monahan and his feature debut co-writer Alison Nisselle, have created a beautiful film about people and birds working together, all confined in a prison farm set in a peaceful rural setting. Their highlighting the competitive nature of the prison environment ensures an interest in all the characters, the prisoners, their guards and those outside the prison environment. But it also creates too many subplots which tend to detract from the heart of the story. Andrew Lesnie’s cinematography is brilliant, especially his bird photography, and David Hirschfelder’s musical score which adds majesty to Lesnie’s bird photography.”


A new report from Screen Daily confirms what earlier news reports from the film’s Broken Hill set (and some cast members’ sudden disappearance from Australia) suggested: that Strangerland has indeed wrapped production. The article shares the first official still from the film (below) featuring Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes in the aftermath of the dust storm which got so much press attention during the shoot. Screen Daily also notes that Strangerland will launch its international sales campaign at  the Cannes Film Festival, which begins later this month. Since Strangerland can’t possibly be completed, it’s probable that the distributor (Wild Bunch) is trying to sell the film to international markets based on the cast’s reputation, and possibly some raw footage, stills or the script. But it’s good to hear it’s already being marketed. Tim Winton’s The Turning STILL doesn’t have North American distribution, and has only screened at a few festivals outside Australia.

The Film Stage features the same report, plus this new synopsis: “Catherine (Nicole Kidman) and Matt Parker are trying to adjust to their new life in the remote Australian desert town of Nathgari. They are pleasant but keep to themselves, unwilling to get close to anyone. On the eve of a massive dust storm, their lives are rocked when their two teenage children, Lily and Tom disappear into the desert. With Nathgari now eerily smothered in red dust and darkness, the locals join the search lead by local cop, David Rae (Hugo Weaving). It soon becomes apparent that something terrible may have happened to them. Suspicion is cast, rumors spread and ancient Aboriginal stories are told in whispers as the locals begin to turn against the couple. With temperatures rising and the chances of survival plummeting with each passing day, Catherine and Matthew find themselves pushed to the brink, as they struggle to survive the uncertainty of their children’s fate.”

This indicates that the dust storm happens near the beginning of the film, and thus is not a major plot spoiler.

Mystery Road Festival Screening

Finally, Chicago residents will have an opportunity to see Mystery Road on May 14 when it screens as part of the Chicago Critics Film Festival.  Ain’t It Cool News provided more details and a nice plug for the event. Music Box Theater is the venue. US Hugo fans may remember that The Music Box Theater was one of the few cinemas to screen Last Ride during its brief 2012 theatrical run, and that the associated Music Box Films distributed it here.


Healing: New Hugo Weaving and Don Hany Interviews

I thought I’d make an attempt to post shorter, more timely entries rather than really long ones every week or so as new material for Hugo’s film Healing approaches its 8 May opening date.

SBS posted another interview transcript from the AAP series of interviews; some of this content overlaps with the two video interviews in the previous entry, but it’s short enough to share in its entirety:

1 MAY 2014 – 11:14AM
Weaving: Healing was lovely experience

Hugo Weaving talks about the hectic days and relaxing nights on the shoot of the Australian film Healing, also starring Don Hany and Xavier Samuel.
Source AAP

When Hugo Weaving was filming Peaches around a decade ago, director Craig Monahan handed him the script for another project – Healing.

It was inspired by a newspaper article Monahan had read, about a bird rehabilitation program at a minimum-security prison farm in Victoria, and the two got talking.

“I quite quickly got the low down on the whole bird program,” Weaving says.

Over the years, the pair, who first worked together on the award-winning film The Interview, would meet up and chat about Healing, talking through each draft.

“He likes working with me, I think,” Weaving says jokingly of the collaboration.

“Obviously we’ve done three things together, so he will use me as a sounding board to see what I think and (when he) wants criticism and wants feedback, so that’s absolutely part of the process.”

In Healing, Weaving plays Matt, a senior officer at Won Wron Correctional Centre, a low-security prison that prepares prisoners for the transition back into society.

It’s there that he puts Viktor (Don Hany), a man at the tail-end of an 18-year prison sentence, in charge of the unique bird program, which includes helping rehabilitate an injured Wedge-tailed Eagle named Yasmin.

Monahan says the film is inspired by true events, rather than being completely based on them.

“Viktor initially, he was based on one person but he’s more of a composite… of a couple of people now,” he says, as are the other main inmates.

“But Hugo’s character Matt’s probably more real, based on a particular person we met and the program itself is of course real.”

Weaving says the shoot itself was tough. At just five weeks, there was a lot to fit in.

“It was a very, very rapid shoot,” he says.

“And to work with that many characters and those birds.. to pull that off was a real tribute to Craig.”

However after a demanding day’s shoot, Weaving found the evening’s were the opposite.

“Don and I, and (co-stars) Mark Winter and Xavier Samuel, had the great good fortune to be billeted together on this wonderful, beautiful old farm with vineyards and a great retired couple who made their own wine,” he says.

“And so we had a beautiful dog and a cat and we’d sit out at night after work and have a few glasses of wine, sort of debrief the day and prep the next day.

“It was a very lovely experience.”

* Healing releases in Australian cinemas on May 8.

 Don Hany continues his series of radio interviews promoting the film with this entertaining chat with Red Symons of ABC Melbourne:

And screenwriter Alison Nisselle discussed Healing’s ten year journey to the screen with Inside Film “We had changed a lot of things in development as we went through so many hoops” — and mentions that Ben Kingsley was initially considered for the role of Viktor. (I personally think Don Hany was the right choice. Kingsley can be brilliant, but he rarely does low-key or contained characters.)   

Here are the two recent Healing promo videos featuring Hugo and Don Hany, in case anybody missed ’em:


IB Times/AAP

Finally,  fans on the west coast of the US might want to make the trip to the Seattle International Film Festival, which will include the US premieres of TWO Hugo Weaving films, Tim Winton’s The Turning and Healing. More details at SIFF’s website and Movie City News.

Note to WordPress readers: I’m still adding features to the new site, some of which (like the sidebars) are not yet complete. I appreciate your patience and any comments about what works and what doesn’t.

New Healing Reviews and Hugo Weaving/Don Hany Interviews; Strangerland Wraps Filming

First off, I want to thank everyone who’s been so kind and patient as I’ve “set up shop” in the new LJ Hugonuts location and our brand new WordPress location. I’m still ironing out the kinks (particularly at WordPress, where I’m still figuring out the basics) but I now have all of this years posts at both locations. And in case anyone was wondering, content is the same at both locations. WordPress is a failsafe against further LJ outtages/problems, though I’ve noticed it provides a new set of readers and experiences, which is both exciting and terrifying. I do hope to tinker further with the WordPress layout as I find time, including the addition of a sidebar with links to other character actor sites. Over the years I’ve found that, just as Hugo Weaving’s career has been enhanced by collaboration with other talented character actors/actresses like Cate Blanchett, David Wenham, Geoffrey Rush and many others, so their fandoms are enhanced by similar cross-pollination and information-sharing. Also, since the subject has come up, I want to again note that when I quote from news articles or share photos here, I always link back to the site of origin. Hyperlinks are red at WordPress and usually blue at LJ. Often full reviews or additional information is available at those sites, and it’s my strict policy to credit all original sources.


The preliminaries being dispensed with, it’s been an exciting week as promotion for Hugo’s new film Healing is now in full swing. Several new, positive reviews have appeared, and audience response to preview screenings (which have featured actor Don Hany, director Craig Monahan and– in Sydney– Hugo himself) are nearly universally positive. Hugo definitely seems to be letting his costar Hany handle most of the promotional duties, probably because the film’s plot pivots around Hany’s character. (Also, Hugo usually prefers give other actors– particularly those in attention-getting or career-enhancing roles– the lion’s share of the spotlight when appropriate.) Hugo has participated in at least two interviews, though, and I know that a third has been conducted though not yet posted online. So far Hany has spoken to ABC Radio (RN Drive), Newstalk 4BC 1116 Brisbane, the Sydney Morning Herald (and associated online papers) –in a piece which also featured a video interview and film footage, and Brisbane News (article scan). The two radio interviews are both over ten minutes long and provide a lot of intriguing detail about Hany’s process creating the character Viktor, and of course the challenges and joys of working with raptors like Jess the eagle, his spotlight-stealing costar in the film.

Hugo and Don spoke jointly to SBS/AAP about the film; here is an excerpt with Hugo’s comments:

‘Weaving says watching Hany work with the eagles was incredible, particularly on the last day of the shoot.

In fading light, Hany had to call down one of the birds, which lined him up from 75 metres out, before swooping in to land on his arm.

“It’s an absolutely fantastic piece of work from Don, who really worked a lot with them. I just pretended I knew all about them,” he says, adding he just dealt with the eagles’ smaller cousins.

“I got the fluffy, little chirpy, little Boobook owls – the ones I could handle.”

While the birds play a big part in Healing, writer and director Craig Monahan also shows how the prisoners and Weaving’s character Matt form an offbeat surrogate family at Won Wron Correctional Centre.

Hany says their relationships are a vehicle to explore the pain men experience expressing feelings like love and loss.

So thematically, despite the fact it’s set in a jail and it’s blokes and it’s about loyalty and brotherhood and there’s a strong father-son theme, it’s actually like a bromance,” he says.

“In the landscape of films and genres, I think this one fits into warm, runny, feel-good chick flick, which runs at odds to the way it’s been marketed as a prison film, with the expectation you’re going to see some mano-a-mano, hard and fast violence.”…

Weaving says unlike a classic prison film this doesn’t take place in maximum security.

“This is a really very different world,” he says.

“There are no boundary fences. If they want to run away they can, but they’ll be picked up and put back into medium-security so they don’t.”

He says low-security jails try and get prisoners to take responsibility for themselves.

It was one of the reasons Healing caught his attention.

“(And) the whole thing comes from a true story and that really interested me,” he says.

“The sense of healing, of getting wounded inmates to heal wounded raptors and release them before they’re being released themselves.”  ‘

I personally wish Hany would refrain from using cringe-inducing terms like “bromance” and “chick-flick”, though I understand he’s trying to widen the film’s potential audience. Both actors want the audience to know that Healing isn’t a standard issue “prison movie” replete with shivvings, jailbreaks and snitches. But it’s also not a soft-focus soap opera. As Hany told Newstalk 4BC, “There aren’t many chicks in the film [Healing], but there are plenty of birds.” 😉 Critics and the media need to stop stereotyping audiences by gender anyhow– I’d much rather watch Tarantino films than sit through The Notebook. Healing should appeal to both genders and deserves to be taken seriously– most reviewers (including Variety and ) insist it steers clear of potential genre cliches.

Hugo Weaving also called in a brief interview with Radio NOVA FM on their Sunday evening Confidential program. Though NOVA has posted audio or podcasts (sometimes even video) of past interviews, including past Hugo Weaving interviews, they have inexplicably failed to do so this time around.  Since there was virtually no notice for the interview, I wasn’t on hand to roll tape (and I’ve been spoiled by ABC and other Australian stations generously archiving their interviews, even offering downloads.) Liten at Random Scribblings did grab the audio and has it archived at her site. In most cases I prefer to link directly to original sources for material, because doing otherwise could potentially get myself and any other fans I link to into trouble. (I’ve dealt with this many times over the years, which is why I’ve learned to employ such strict standards, though frankly in many cases other fans do a better job at sharing or archiving information, and would probably conduct more interesting interviews.) I am including links back to the NOVA site in hopes that they’ll eventually post the interview there, but if you don’t want to wait around for that, check it out over at RS. It is rather cursory, as pop radio interviews tend to be.  I do credit the host for bringing up Healing for a question or two after rushing headlong into The Hobbit (which any fan could tell you Hugo has no current gossip about anyhow– he filmed for a month in April 2011, was back later that year for post-production VO work, and that’s it. He wasn’t involved in last year’s pick-up shoots.) Also, I admire their restraint in not asking about Star Wars. ; ) Strangerland is also mentioned in passing.Here’s a repost of the best photo from April 24’s Sydney preview screening and Q&A, the only one Hugo has attended:

L to R:  Journalist Giles Hardie who ran the Sydney Q and A session, Don, co-writer-director Craig Monahan and Hugo Weaving.

The Don Hany Facebook page, which shared the above photo,  had correspondents at this preview screening; you can read their impressions and reactions at the event– which one called  “A mesmerising movie followed by a very enjoyable Q and A session which along with insightful information on the production of this wonderful movie, included tears, hugs and laughter”– here.

So far the only interview Xavier Samuel has done for the film appeared in the Canvas section of the Courier-Mail’s print edition on April 26. I’ll include my scan of the piece below.

Note to WordPress readers: Right-click on image then click “open in a new tab/window” for full-sized image

Apart from the odd gripe from critics like David Stratton, who seems to have wanted more prison movie cliches (and who didn’t give the film an entirely negative review) Healing has won over the critics. Here are some excerpts from reviews posted since my last entry. Some reviews share minor plot spoilers.

Margaret Pomeranz, At The Movies: “This is possibly the most sentimental prison movie I’ve ever seen. And I was so grateful. It’s really lovely. The performances are fabulous, Don Hany who’s established such a fine credibility on television productions like East West 101 and The Broken Shore, is ravaged and old here, as well as fine. Hugo Weaving has to be the most stoic and solid performer in this country, he’s just always great. He plays a man with his own issues in this. But all the performances are solid, Jane Menelaus as the wildlife expert, Tony Martin as Matt’s colleague, Justine Clark as a social worker and Anthony Hayes as a controlling inmate. But the real kudos here goes to Andrew Payne who was the bird handler on the film. He’s a star and so are the birds.”

(Note: You can see a few full scenes from the film, along with its trailer, at the At The Movies website. They do contain plot spoilers, but aren’t “shocking developments” one couldn’t infer from the trailer or interviews, which establish certain plot and character points. One clip in particular had me welling up and very eager to see the rest of the movie.)

Prison Movies: “Healing contains none of the high-octane drama of the traditional prison movie. In its place it provides an authentic picture of the minimum-security environment where there are no riots and stabbings, but where prisoners struggle to sort themselves out before returning to the community and prison officers wrestle with the competing demands of their role. It is at its most impactful when Viktor is forced to deal with inevitable setbacks, such as when he falteringly tries to reconnect with his grown-up son with whom he has had no contact for 18 years. Themes of honour and shame, family reconciliation, rehabilitation, relapse and being given a second chance are constantly woven throughout the narrative…IIt is a spectacularly shot film, with the birds competing with Viktor, Matt and Shane for centre stage, and often winning. But more importantly, it is a refreshingly different prison story, told with gentle humour and compassion, and firm in its declaration of support for second chances.”

Jason King, Salty Popcorn: “HEALING is a superb Australian film, as good as any Hollywood film, and as equal as most art house films. It is a cinematography masterpiece for its cinematography of birds, and the plot is admirable. But it is not listed on the website as getting a commercial release in the big guy’s cinemas – my mind is currently boggling?? …WEBSITE has it listed only in art house cinemas. Why why why? Shame shame shame. I loved this film…

This is a film about redemption, freedom, healing, taming and bonding. It is beautifully told and Craig Monahan weaves a tale told with an Australian heart. Characters slowly develop and they are all more than one dimension deep. It is a prison film, like no other, it does not have fences and prisoners are only locked in at night. It is more of a half way house for damaged inmates, who like their newly acquired feathery inmates, need some TLC and rehabilitation before being allowed back into the real world. Most stereotypes are missing, excluding Anthony Hayes as Warren, the wanna be bully of the prison, but his character was needed to bond the others and give darkness to the light…

The acting is all top notch. I can only remember Hany from OFFSPRING but he has had many roles, all of them apparently my mother worships. His performance is strong and he holds the camera, with one exception, no offence, but his accent did my head in. His character is Iranian/Australian but I could only hear it as a fake accent, I did not fully buy him as the Iranian he was playing. While this was mildly distracting his performance and the character allowed me to overcome it. Weaving is just Weaving, a master at all he does, but it was great seeing him so relaxed and “outback” in Australia. I really loved his character, Matt Perry. He was overcoming as many issues as the inmates and the birds and his past tragedy really allowed him to be more like the residents, feathered or not, of the prison…

I also have to mention Xavier Samuel… I am a fan….It was very different seeing him as the scared, humble and emotional wreck that he is in this role, he was nowhere near as dominant in the role but a great addition and he is the character you feel nurturing towards, he also adds some damn fine looks to the movie.  Stand out for me was Mark Leonard Winter as Shane. The young, screwed up, emotionally destroyed character who has given up on life. Winter’s portrayal of Shane is an AFI coming, it is remarkable… The cinematography by Andrew Lesnie is worth the cost of a ticket alone. His use of ‘magic hour’ is beauty inspiring and the way he films the birds, just stunning.”

There continue to be preview screenings and ticket giveaways for Healing in advance of its 8 May Australian opening; my Twitter feed (sidebar at WordPress), the Don Hany Facebook fan page and Pinnacle Films‘ Twiiter will keep you up to date on those. Don Hany and Craig Monahan are scheduled to attend Q&A’s at most of these preview shows.

Mark Leonard Winter is drawing raves for his performance in Healing, and he has another trait in common with Hugo Weaving: both will be featured in stage productions for the Sydney Theatre company later this spring. Hugo will star in Macbeth at The Sydney Theatre this July through September and Winter is featured in The Effect at The Wharf Theatre in July. Winter noted his eagerness to meet up with Hugo at that time– and threw in a plug for their film  in an STC blog profile/interview: “I’ve actually got a film coming out soon with Hugo Weaving and he’ll be working on Macbeth at the same time as I’m at STC so I’m really excited to see him again. Working with Hugo was a really important moment for me. The film’s called Healing and it comes out in May. It’s a true story about a minimum security prison and this rehabilitation program that Hugo’s character starts there. I play a scummy little prison rat. It’s a beautiful cast: Hugo, Don Hany and Xavier Samuel, who I went to high school with. Hugo says ‘STC is the best urban working environment in Australia’. That’s a quote from Hugo. You can use that.”  Winter’s comments about the soul-killing effects of trying to jump-start one’s film career in Los Angeles show he has something else in common with Hugo. 😉 As an American constantly exposed to American entertainment, I would tell both of them to keep working in Australia.

UPDATE: AAP/IB Times has just posted this lovely video featurette which includes new film footage, interviews with Hugo Weaving, Don Hany and Craig Monahan. And Hugo waxing poetic about the animals on set. 😉

Sky News shared a second video, obviously filmed at the same time as the AAP/IB Times version.  Both were shot the day the lovely AAP portraits were taken as well… seems they did a lot of advance promotion at once. Unfortunately there’s not an embed option at the moment;  I’ll see what I can do on that front when I have more time. But meanwhile fans of any of the four lead actors will want to check it out at Sky News. (Only Hany and Weaving are interviewed, but Mark Winter and Xavier Samuel get a humorous mention.  Also, Hugo shares a heartwearming and somewhat deranged Budgie Rescue story I’d never heard before.)


As I mentioned in updates of my prior entry, Strangerland seems to have wrapped initial production after a brisk month or so of filming in Broken Hill, Canowindra and Sydney. According to The Herald Sun, (Advertiser in print edition) the film’s final or climactic scene was recently shot in Broken Hill.  I have a scan of the print version of that story (below) but here are the paragraphs added to later online versions:

‘Strangerland producer Macdara Kelleher said filming the last leg of the story was particularly draining.

“It’s very intense, it’s about two kids that go missing and the effect it has on the parents who are Nicole and Joseph (Fiennes),” Kelleher said.

Kelleher said having Kidman in the role was a dream come true, given the Oscar winning actor has not filmed an Australian role using her own accent since Dead Calm in 1989.

“It’s amazing, we couldn’t ask for anyone better in terms of your ideal casting,” he said. “If you’re making an Australian movie and it has Nicole in it, it’s pretty special” ‘

In Other Hugo News

Hugo’s downplayed participation in Healing promotion suggests he’s taking a break before heading into Macbeth preparation; he told The Australian (while promoting STC’s Waiting For Godot back in November) that he planned to take a month off this May, and it’s about that time. One thing he definitely won’t be doing is costarring in the Star Wars sequel, as was finally confirmed by the official casting announcement today, though Hugo’s fans who actually pay attention have known this since February, and were skeptical about such rumors to begin with.  (Here’s another embed of Hugo and David Wenham’s video interview addressing the subject back at February’s Berlinale, where they promoted The Turning. I never get sick of watching it.)   This also includes Hugo’s most recent comments on The Hobbit, which were repeated almost verbatim for NOVA Radio, suggesting THAT REALLY IS ALL HE KNOWS. 😉

Getty Entertainment Video, via YouTube

Speaking of The Hobbit, while we wait for Peter Jackson— who keeps tight control over any REAL intel on the film– to share new production diaries or other glimpses of the final installment, Inside Film has the full text of the press release about its title change. I wish Healing was getting the same kind of press that this semantic alteration and the never-plausible Star Wars rumors have gotten. 😉

Again, thanks to everyone who’s been supportive during the site relocation. I do plan to keep adding older Hugonuts entries (in correct date order) to the WordPress blog; I will probably compile them at the LJ site too, but they’e still available to read at the old location.  And again, I apologize for any technical difficulties or delays in replying to comments or messages while trying to compile new information during this very busy time.