[LMB] OT: a Weaving warning

John Lennard john.c.lennard at gmail.com
Sun Jan 2 02:16:11 GMT 2011

Gwynne: Isn't Hugo Weaving amazing? I've never
seen him do a bad job. I saw him years ago on stage in Midsummer Night's
Dream - he was incredible.

John: A story about Hugo Weaving that always makes me clutch my head at the
behaviours of the human race ...

Back in the day (1984), HW had a role in an Aus. mini-series about the (for
cricket fans) notorious 'Bodyline' series of international matches between
England and Aus. in 1932-3.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodyline_(miniseries) (includes a delightful
poster, showing HW, tag-line: The day England declared war on Australia)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodyline (for the real deal)

Weaving (excellently) played English captain Douglas Jardine, who had
directed his (extremely) fast (and accurate) bowler Frank Larwood to bowl a
line and length that brought the ball (cork core, wound string, leather
cover; between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces; diameter between 225 and 229 mm) up into
the upper bodies and about the chins of the batsmen. This was legal, but
resulted in minor injuries + spectacular bruising, and was considered highly
unsporting. England won the series, and have never been forgiven for the

While the miniseries was on and for a while afterwards, the 80+ year-old
Larwood, who had been living in Aus for decades, received a barrage of
hate-mail and death-threats. Jardine was long dead -- but he too was sent
hate-mail and death threats addressed to the TV studio. And Weaving received
such mail and threats also, addressed -to him- and swearing vengeance -on
him- for the actions of -Jardine-. Plainly it came to nothing, but he had to
be very careful and be guarded somewhat for a while, poor bloke, and it
started a pattern of tabloid media attention he's never quite escaped in

Acting that well seems to be a dangerous business! But you have to hand it
to anyone who can pull off Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Elrond Halfelven,
and Agent Smith.

And next to be seen as Red Skull in *Captain America*. <sigh> Unless you can
get to *Uncle Vanya* at the Opera House. <sigh>

John Lennard, MA DPhil. (Oxon.), MA (WU)
Director of Studies in English, St Catharine's College

General editor, Humanities-E-Books Genre Fiction Sightlines and Monographs

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