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Trauma and Hope: The Story of Hearts and Bones with Hugo Weaving

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

hearts and bones - hugo weaving

How can one cope with a traumatic experience?

Everyone has their own way of dealing with trauma. It can range from sheer persistence to blatant denial. Healing doesn’t happen overnight and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to it. However, we don't need to know all the reasons behind our triggers to gain a better understanding and we need to remember that there is still hope amidst all the pain.

In this episode, Ben Lawrence, Hugo Weaving, Andrew Luri, and Bolude Watson join us to talk about the award-winning film, Hearts and Bones. The Hearts and Bones cast discuss the process of developing their own characters and tell the story behind creating the narrative tone for the film. They also share the lessons they learned about trauma and why having a place to call home is vital for survivors.

If you’re interested to know more about Hearts and Bones, this episode is for you!

3 reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Get a sneak peek of the film, Hearts and Bones.

  2. Learn about the motivations of the characters in Hearts and Bones.

  3. Know why finding a home is critical for those who have experienced trauma.


Episode Highlights

[06:17] Hugo Weaving on Hope

  • Hugo believes himself to be an optimistic individual. However, he feels disheartened with the current political climate and the pandemic.

  • There are times when you feel too helpless to make a difference, but it does not mean you should give up.

  • We must continue to engage with the world through traveling, studying, reading, and other similar activities.

[08:08] The Bacurau

  • The film Bacurau depicts Kleber Mendonça Filho's pessimistic vision of the world as a result of his environment and experiences.

  • We must not turn a blind eye to the negative things happening around us.

Hugo: “ I'll always try and remain hopeful as much as I can. But I'm not going to be blind to the reality.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[10:13] Anishka’s Strong Female Character

  • Bolude was drawn in by her character's strength and power.

  • Anishka inspires Bolude to be braver and more confident.

  • We must never allow society's judgment of us to shape the way we view ourselves.

[13:00] Re-watching Films

  • Re-watching a film can give a fresh insight on its significance to society and our lives.

  • People are more likely to re-watch a film if it depicts reality and has complex characters.

  • The film community is made up of dedicated and hardworking individuals who collaborate to craft fascinating stories.

  • We won't know the story's impact until we get the audience’s response.

[16:42] Andrew as Sebastian

Portraying the character of Sebastian in Hearts and Bones, who is a Christian-Muslim, was challenging for Andrew.

  • Andrew had to fully grasp the character's motivations and flesh out his complex life experiences.

[19:58] Creating Contradiction

  • A film catches the audience’s attention through contradicting statements from the characters.

Ben: “I think that's what I was hoping to create. Through that contradiction, that unexpected comment or something, that would create an empathy to go, ‘Oh, hang on. I've got to adjust myself.’” - Click Here to Tweet This
  • Contradiction in films allows multi-dimensional characters to emerge, challenging the audience's preconceived beliefs.

[21:39] Importance of Listening

David: “One of the things I would say to my students [is there are] three things, you need to be a good development worker. You need to listen, you need to listen, and the third thing, you need to listen.” - Click Here to Tweet This

Hearts and Bones reminds us to listen to people from different walks of life. Tune in to find out two moments in Hearts and Bones where listening caused massive changes to the story.

  • Listening leads to self-understanding and self-awareness.

[24:11] Expectations on Hearts and Bones

Bolude shared that Hearts and Bones exceeded her expectations. Through her character, Anishka, she was able to rediscover herself. The actors were able to bring the script to life in Hearts and Bones.

Hearts and Bones is a film that skillfully blends documentary and fiction.

[27:40] Directing and Script Writing

  • Ben encourages his actors to rewrite their lines to give the characters more depth.

  • A more compelling story emerges when the director, actors, and scriptwriters work together.

  • Digging deeper into the lift of a character means seeking someone similar in real life.

[30:51] On PTSD

  • Ben was intrigued by the concept of trauma and how it has impacted many individuals.

  • People cope with trauma differently, and this was manifested in the film.

  • Each character in the film experienced trauma, but they have their own way of dealing with it.

[38:21] Finding Home

  • It’s important for people who have been through a great deal of pain to find a place to call home.

  • Finding one's place in the world is a recurring theme in the movie.

[40:20] Moving Forward

  • The ripping of the carpet scene represents letting go of things that are no longer serving you.

  • Hearts and Bones is full of hope, yet it doesn't shy away from confronting the harsh realities of life.

  • The cast wants to do more films that can make a difference in the future.

Bolude: “I do want to leave a mark and hopefully create work that touches people; and that reveals that at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter whether you're from South Sudan or from Australia or Kenya, or America, we all want the same thing. We want a home.” - Click Here to Tweet This

About Our Guests

Ben Lawrence is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer who has worked worldwide. His short films have been shown at film festivals in Edinburgh, Clermont-Ferrand, Los Angeles, San Gio, and Sao Paulo.

His works on photojournalism have been recognized by the International Photography Awards in New York, the Australian National Photographic Gallery Portrait Prize, the HeadOn Portrait Festival, and The Spider Awards.

Ghosthunter, his critically praised debut feature documentary, premiered at a number of festivals across the world in 2018 and was nominated for an Illuminate Award at the Sheffield Film Festival. It was also nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Feature Length Documentary and won the Sydney Film Festival's Best Australian Documentary Award.

Want to know more about Ben? You can reach him through his website or social media accounts: Instagram and LinkedIn.

Hugo Weaving has an incredibly successful and diverse career in cinema, theater, and television. Hugo Weaving has received multiple honors, including three Australian Film Institute awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role in Jocelyn Moorhouse's Proof (1991), The Interview (1998), and Little Fish (2001).

Hugo Weaving received an AACTA award for his performance in Oranges and Sunshine (2011), The Dressmaker (2015), Hacksaw Ridge (2016), and Jasper Jones (2017).

His many theater appearances include Arturo UI, Hedda Gabler and Uncle Vanya, Macbeth, Endgame, and Waiting for Godot. Furthermore, he has also voiced characters in highly successful films, including Babe, Happy Feet and Transformers.

Andrew Luri was born in Juba, South Sudan's current capital. He is married and a father of seven children. He enjoys music and serves as a Church and community leader.

Andrew studied at Charles Darwin University and Swinburne University, where he pursued Counter-Terrorism. He is multi-talented and has gained experience from a variety of careers throughout the years.

His debut film, Hearts and Bones, is the realization of a lifelong dream.

You can connect with Andrew through Facebook.

Bolude Watson is a Nigerian-born, American-raised actress. After relocating to Sydney from Los Angeles in 2014, she has thrived in her career. She has starred in Ché Baker's sci-fi film, Blue World Order as Marion Connors, and most recently in Ben Lawrence's film Hearts and Bones, in which she played Anishka, the wife of a South Sudanese immigrant with a dark secret.

Bolude has been in television series such as Deadly Women and Your Numbers Up. She is also a co-creator of the web sitcom Americans in Oz, which debuted online last year.

Her ambition is to be a part of the movement that creates a space for various voices in cinema and television as an African American with a profound passion for storytelling.

You can connect with Bolude at her website or social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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