November 19, 2014
In the darkly humorous and wholly original THE MULE, Aussie legend, HUGO WEAVING, delivers a brilliant, slyly comic performance as a slightly bent cop sweating on a drug mule to expel the pricey cargo in his guts.
Tom Croft seems like a lot of fun to play. He’s a bad guy who could be a good guy; he’s got a moustache; he’s a cop…
“It was enormously fun. It was a very laidback shoot. The great script really appealed to me. All the characters are pretty grey, and they all harbour secrets…they’re all full of bullshit! They’re all posturing in their own way. That’s what I liked about it: it’s a film about bullshit! But in the end, Tom Croft is one of those old school cops in the sense that he’ll draw a line in the sand and he won’t cross it. So he actually ends up having a greater sense of morality than most of the other characters, which is what I liked about him. He embodies both the larrikin, selfish side of the Australian male ego, but on the other hand, when it comes down to it, he won’t cross that line, and he won’t end up doing someone a disservice.”
You get nearly all of the film’s best lines…
“The script is very funny, but it retains its tension, and there are twists and turns. Narratively, everyone needs something desperately, and the reason why those lines work is because they’re juxtaposed against that tension. They’re a release valve. But what I really liked was the balance between dark threat and humour which is essential to the character.”
Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell are old friends and regular collaborators who have known each other for years. Does that give the set a different kind of feel?
“Leigh was there, but he was off set watching things on the monitor. He was really sweet and quiet. [Co-director] Tony Mahony is very much the director on the set; he’s the quietest director that I’ve ever been on set with, and I loved that. He’s thoughtful, and has a great eye. Angus – as co-producer, co-writer, co-director, and star – was very much on the day concentrating on what he was doing, and on his character and on his acting. They negotiated their way through a potentially hazardous shoot. It felt calm. There were a lot of experienced actors, a great script, and a strong sense of what the tone was, even though it’s highly complex.”
You’ve had a nice run of Aussie films lately, with Mystery Road, The Turning, Healing and now The Mule. Has that been a plus?
“The weird thing is that they’re all cops. I just played another cop in Strangerland, and I’m playing a cop at the moment too. I’m in Melbourne doing The Dressmaker with Jocelyn Moorhouse, who directed me in Proof many, many years ago. This one in The Dressmaker is a cross dressing cop from the fifties! They’re totally different films, and totally different cops too. I have enjoyed working here, it’s been great. I’ve been mixing that up with a lot of theatre too with The Sydney Theatre Company, where I’ve done Uncle Vanya, Waiting For Godot and Macbeth. It’s been great working with young, innovative, creative filmmakers, and I’ve enjoyed working on all of those films. I’ve always preferred to work here, and I see my trips overseas to do films as being something to broaden my horizons. I like to mix it up, but my heart is really with making films in this country, and working with interesting filmmakers here.”
The Mule is available digitally from November 21, and is then out on DVD and Blu-ray from December 4.