One of Australia’s most respected actors, Hugo Weaving is known for his turns in some of the most successful movie franchises of all time. His non-appearance in them has also been noted: after originating the character of Red Skull in 2011‘s ‘Captain America’, he failed to reprise the character in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame’. The directors of the films, Joe and Anthony Russo, confirmed that he had been approached, but did not elaborate as to why he’d turned them down. Speculation has also been rife as to whether his iconic Agent Smith will return for the imminent fourth ‘Matrix’ film.
In an interview with Time Out to promote his upcoming role in the National Theatre’s hotly anticipated ‘The Visit’ opposite Lesley Manville (which you can read in our February 4 issue), he said that he’d turned down Marvel because it offered him less than what he was contracted for to reprise the role. He also shed some light on his absence from the new ‘Matrix’ film. Read on for that Hugo Weaving-related disappointment in full.
The most recent interview with you I’ve seen on the subject said you weren’t doing the new ‘Matrix’ film, but that was a couple of years ago… are you still not doing it?
‘I’m not, no…’
Also, it was widely noted that you weren’t in the last two ‘Avengers’ films – presumably they tried to get you?
‘Oh, yeah. I loved playing that character Red Skull – it was a lot of fun. We were all obliged to sign up for three pictures: I was thinking [Red Skull] probably wouldn’t come back in “Captain America” but he may well come back as a villain in “The Avengers”. By then, they’d pushed back on the contracts that we agreed on and so the money they offered me for “The Avengers” was much less than I got for the very first one, and this was for two films. And the promise when we first signed the contracts was that the money would grow each time. They said: “It’s just a voice job, it’s not a big deal”. I actually found negotiating with them through my agent impossible. And I didn’t really wanna do it that much. But I would have done it.’
He then went on to volunteer the following about the so-far untitled new ‘The Matrix’ film.
‘“The Matrix” is a very different story. It’s unfortunate but actually I had this offer [for “The Visit”] and then the offer came from “The Matrix”, so I knew it was happening but I didn’t have dates. I thought [I] could do both and it took eight weeks to work out that the dates would work – I held off on accepting [a role in “The Visit” during that time]. I was in touch with [director] Lana Wachowski, but in the end she decided that the dates weren’t going to work. So we’d sorted the dates and then she sort of changed her mind. They’re pushing on ahead without me.’
You hear that, Mr Anderson? That is the sound of clashing schedules. Allay any disappointment by catching Weaving in ‘The Visit’, which runs at the National Theatre, Fri Jan 31-May 13.
Mark your diary for the most exciting films to catch in cinemas this year.