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Hugo Weaving talks the Wachowskis’ “Cloud Atlas” and working on “Jupiter Ascending”

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Ever since the Wachowskis burst onto the Hollywood scene with 1999’s “The Matrix,” Hugo Weaving has been forever connected with the forward-thinking sci-fi siblings. The trio worked together on the Wachowskis’ upcoming “Cloud Atlas” (which was also co-directed by Tom Tywker), making it their fifth film collaboration including “V for Vendetta.” This movie promises to be their craziest project together yet.

“Cloud Atlas” looks to be as unique a project as “The Matrix” was, combining six separate storylines and having the movie’s various big name stars play different roles in each one. Each of the storylines takes place in its own timeline, its own geography and with its own plotline, and similarly the various characters are different sexes, races and ages and all have different personal interests. One of Weaving’s characters is “a type of woman” who is a nurse. But he promised that each of his characters is thematically linked to the others.

“All six of them have a similar sort of tone, I suppose. Most of them seem to be, in some way, [obsessed] with self-control or repression or status quo or power, and so there’s a link with all those characters,” he told IFC while promoting his upcoming movie “Last Ride.” “Initially, at the beginning of the shoot, jumping from one character to another, you felt the difference between the characters. As the shoot wore on, increasingly you’re seeing an arc for those six characters, like a six-faced character if you like.”

Even though the movie comes out in a little under four months, we have yet to see a trailer for it. With the exception of a few stills and some concept art, we really don’t have any idea how the film will look at all. And fans of the book shouldn’t think they have any better idea than the rest of us. “Cloud Atlas” is based on the David Mitchell novel of the same name, but Weaving said that the movie will work in a different way.

“The story’s told like a mosaic. In the book, you’re getting half of each story and then the second half of each story, and the film’s not told in that way, so the certain characters you play towards the pointy end of the film start to fulfill the same function. That was a really fascinating adventure for everyone working on that,” he said. “And as the film progresses and the script progresses, you get a sense of those actors and those characters coming together and fulfilling a similar function or a similar role if you like in the story.”

Weaving will finally see the fully cut film during a screening next month, and for now he said he’s “just as intrigued as anyone, really.” He said all the actors were more excited and “discombobulated” than he’d ever seen people be while preparing for a movie he’s worked on, and is excited to see how everything fits together in the finished product. He promised that some of the cast of the movie — which includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess and Jim Broadbent — were nearly unrecognizable as some of their characters.

“I remember there was one day with Tom Hanks, we were working on a shoot in Saxony, we were working in an amazing forest, and it was my first day on set with Tom,” Weaving recalled. “We were having a chat and we’d been working for about three hours and he suddenly realized that one of the other characters in the scene he’d been working with in New York for two weeks prior to that, and he didn’t recognize him. It was really different make-up. That’s what it was like.”

Considering the great relationship Weaving has with the Wachowskis, it’s not much of a stretch to assume that he might have a role to play in their next project, the sci-fi flick “Jupiter Ascending.” That movie currently only has Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis cast, but Weaving teased there might be a role for him too.

“We haven’t actually talked about that one but there’ve been sort of muted hints and things about it, to be honest, so I’m not sure what’s happening with that,” he said. “I last talked to [the Wachowskis] while we were doing ADR for ‘Cloud Atlas,’ so it’s just lovely to have a chat again, but I’m hoping to see them in a month and a half and there’ll be a screening of ‘Cloud Atlas’ in Chicago, and I’m hoping to get over to that.”

So keep an eye out, Wachowski fans, because we might end up hearing some new casting news in a month and a half.

Are you looking forward to “Cloud Atlas”? Would you like to see Hugo Weaving in “Jupiter Ascending”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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