Hugo Weaving


Actor

About

Also Known As
Hugo Wallace Weaving
Birth Place
Nigeria
Born
April 04, 1960

Biography

Though he shied away from big Hollywood blockbusters early in his career, actor Hugo Weaving went on to have prominent supporting roles - typically as the villain - in some of the biggest movie franchises in cinema history. After emerging from his native Australia wearing drag for the international hit "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" (1994), Weaving used his powerful a...

Family & Companions

Katrina Greenwood
Wife

Notes

"To me acting originally became an extension of game playing. Childhood games, and that kinda grew into something else. ... As I've got older it's changed and it's moved more towards self-understanding about how people escape into other worlds. It's become me trying to open doors into other people." --Weaving quoted in The iZINE (www.thei.aust.com), July 1997.

Biography

Though he shied away from big Hollywood blockbusters early in his career, actor Hugo Weaving went on to have prominent supporting roles - typically as the villain - in some of the biggest movie franchises in cinema history. After emerging from his native Australia wearing drag for the international hit "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" (1994), Weaving used his powerful and distinctive voice to good use in "Babe" (1995) and its sequel "Babe 2: Pig in the City" (1998). But he came into true prominence as the ubiquitous Agent Smith in the surprise hit sci-fi thriller, "The Matrix" (1999), and its two sequels, "The Matrix Reloaded" (2003) and "The Matrix Revolutions" (2003). He had a smaller, but no less important role as an Elf leader in "The Lord of the Rings" (2001-03) trilogy. Both franchises catapulted Weaving's career and turned him into a household name. Though he routinely went back to Australia to film smaller, more dramatic-minded fare, he always seemed to find himself right in the middle of huge Hollywood pictures, including as the voice of Megatron in "Transformers" (2007) and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009).

Born on April 4, 1960 in Ibadan, Nigeria, Weaving was raised in South Africa and England by his father, Wallace, a seismologist, and his mother, Anne, a tour guide. When he was 16 years old, the family settled in Sydney, Australia, where he attended the Knox Grammar School. Taking an interest in acting, Weaving later attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Kensington, graduating in 1981. After signing a two-year, eight-play contract with the Sydney Theatre Company, he made his Australian television debut in "Kings" (Nine Network, 1983), which he soon followed with his film debut as a naive bumpkin who becomes caught up in a love triangle in the low-budget "The City's Edge" (1983), reportedly one of the first Australian films to focus on the plight of its native Aborigines. Weaving followed with a romantic role as a dour tutor in "For Love Alone" (1985) and as a bounder employed by a sickly titled Englishman in the period melodrama, "The Right Hand Man" (1986). In the true-to-life drama, "Dadah is Death" (CBS, 1988), he played Brian Geoffrey Chambers who, along with chum Kevin Barlow (Jon Polson), became the first Westerners to be executed in Malaysia for trafficking drugs.

After being feature featured alongside Nicole Kidman in the miniseries "Bangkok Hilton" (TNT, 1990), Weaving portrayed a fictional character who comes to life in the fantasies of a woman (Rosanna Arquette) in "Wendy Cracked a Walnut" (1990). The actor hit his stride with his award-winning performance as a distrustful blind photographer in Jocelyn Morehouse's "Proof" (1991), co-starring a fellow Aussie, Russell Crowe. As Martin, Weaving was both touching and mysterious as he negotiated his way through relationships with his adoring housekeeper (Genevieve Picot) and a restaurant worker (Crowe), on whom Martin relies for descriptions of his photographs. In 1993, he appeared as a villainous capitalist in Yahoo Serious' "Reckless Kelly," as Anthony LaPaglia's partner in the crime drama "The Custodian," and as a husband involved with insurance fraud in Stephan Elliott's feature debut, "Frauds." The following year, Elliott cast Weaving as a drag queen in the surprise hit, "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" (1994), which inspired the pale imitator "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar" (1995). In one of his first voice roles, he was Rex, the aging sheepdog, in the delightful fantasy "Babe" (1995).

While "Priscilla" made him known on a worldwide basis, Weaving eschewed Hollywood fare early on in his career. He offered a strong turn as a self-destructive, burnt-out hippie who meets up with some petty criminals in "True Love and Chaos" (1997), which he followed with an hilarious turn as a predatory real estate agent in Rose Troche's unjustly little-seen "Bedrooms and Hallways" (1999). Following a reprisal of Rex the aging dog for "Babe 2: Pig in the City" (1998), Weaving received a Best Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute as a petty thief undergoing police interrogation in "The Interview" (1998). Though he avoided making a Hollywood blockbuster up until this point, Weaving soon found himself in the middle of one of the biggest franchises in cinema history, starting with the surprise sci-fi hit, "The Matrix" (1999). Weaving played the stoically malevolent Agent Smith, an artificial intelligence being who hunts down a slacker software engineer (Keanu Reeves) chosen as The One to stop a worldwide conspiracy that has enslaved all of humanity.

Meanwhile, Weaving agreed to play Elrond, one of the Elf leaders of Rivendell who helps Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) fulfill his quest to save Middle-earth in Peter Jackson's jaw-dropping "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings" (2001). In fact, the actor was locked in to shoot all three in the award-winning trilogy, which was rounded out by "The Lord of the Rings: The Twin Towers" (2002) and "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (2003). Weaving later returned for the highly anticipated, but ultimately disappointing sequels "The Matrix Reloaded" (2003) and "The Matrix Revolutions" (2003), which were also filmed back-to-back. Both featured 100 versions of Weaving as the sneering computer program Agent Smith, who tries to stop Neo (Reeves) from reaching Zion. After a few years making some of the biggest blockbusters in Hollywood history, Weaving returned to his native Australia to co-star in the low-key drama, "Little Fish" (2005), which starred Cate Blanchett as a former drug addict trying to put her rough life behind her.

Turning back to animation, Weaving voiced Noah the Elder in the hit "Happy Feet" (2006). He delivered a forceful performance in "V for Vendetta" (2006), playing the caped freedom fighter - or terrorist, according to the totalitarian state he rebels against - who forms an unlikely partnership with an unassuming young woman (Natalie Portman), as they work together to fight a repressive and unforgiving society. Utilizing his stentorian voice once again, he gave life to Decepticon leader Megatron in Michael Bay's crowd-pleasing take on "Transformers" (2007), a role the actor reprised for the woeful sequel, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009). Back in Australia, he satisfied his creative urges to play a troubled man trying to outrun the law with his son (Tom Russell) in "Last Ride" (2009). The following year, he played Detective Aberline, a Scotland Yard inspector tasked with uncovering gruesome murders allegedly perpetrated by a nocturnal beast in "The Wolfman" (2010), starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Black '47 (2018)
Hannah
Mortal Engines (2018)
Sweet Virginia (2017)
Jasper Jones (2017)
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
The Dressmaker (2016)
Strangerland (2015)
The Turning (2015)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Happy Feet Two (2011)
Voice
The Key Man (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Oranges and Sunshine (2011)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Voice
The Wolfman (2010)
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)
Voice
Last Ride (2009)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Voice
The Tender Hook (2008)
In the Company of Actors (2007)
Transformers (2007)
Happy Feet (2006)
Noah the Elder
Little Fish (2006)
V for Vendetta (2006)
V
The Myth (2005)
Confessions of an Action Star (2005)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Elrond
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Peaches (2003)
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
Elrond
Transformers: First Encounter (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Elrond
Russian Doll (2001)
Harvey
The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (2001)
Rubicondo--Dentist
The Magic Pudding (2000)
Voice Of Bill Barnacle
Strange Planet (1999)
Little Echo Lost (1999)
The Kiss (1999)
The Matrix (1999)
Agent Smith
Babe: Pig in the City (1998)
Voice
The Interview (1998)
Bedrooms & Hallways (1998)
True Love And Chaos (1997)
Morris
Babe (1995)
Voice
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
Tick/Mitzi
Exile (1994)
Innes
Reckless Kelly (1994)
Sir John
The Custodian (1993)
Church
Frauds (1993)
Jonathan
Proof (1991)
Almost (1990)
Jake
For Love Alone (1990)
Jonathan Crow
The Right Hand Man (1987)
Ned Rowlands
The City's Edge (1983)
Andy White

Producer (Feature Film)

Russian Doll (2001)
Co-Producer

Cast (Special)

Passage to Middle-Earth: The Making of "The Lord of the Rings" (2001)
Frontier: Stories From Australia's Forgotten War (1999)
Melba (1989)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Bangkok Hilton (1990)
Dadah Is Death (1988)

Life Events

1976

Moved with family to Australia

1981

Joined the Sydney Theatre Company under a two-year, eight-play contract

1983

Australian TV debut, "Kings"

1983

Made feature film debut in "The City's Edge"

1984

Breakthrough TV role, played an English cricket player in the Australian miniseries "Bodyline"

1986

Met Stephan Elliott during the production of "The Right Handed Man"

1991

Won acclaim for his portrayal of a blind photographer in "Proof"; directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse

1993

Co-starred in Stephan Elliott's directorial debut "Frauds"

1994

Received international attention for his role in the hit film "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert"; directed by Stephan Elliott

1994

Returned to the stage to star in the Sydney production of "Arcadia"

1995

Voiced the dog Rex in the hit film "Babe"

1997

Co-starred in the Australian historical miniseries "Frontier"

1998

Played a car thief who is interrogated by cops in "The Interview"

1998

Once again voiced Rex for "Babe: Pig in the City"

1999

Offered a villainous turn as Agent Evans, a mysterious government official tracking Neo (Keanu Reeves) in "The Matrix," directed by the Wachowski brothers

2000

Returned to the Australian stage in "The White Devil"

2001

Co-produced and starred in "Russian Doll"; played a recently separated private detective who agrees to house his best friend's mistress

2001

Co-starred with Richard Dreyfuss in "The Old Man Who Read Love Stories"

2001

Portrayed Elrond in the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy adapted from the novel, <i>The Lord of the Rings</i>; the films were released as "The Fellowship of the Rings" (2001), "The Two Towers" (2002) and "The Return of the King" (2003)

2003

Once again played the evil Agent Evans in "The Matrix: Revelations"

2003

Reprised role as Agent Evans in "Matrix Reloaded"

2005

Starred as a heroin-addicted ex-rugby league player in the Australian indie film "Little Fish," opposite Cate Blanchett

2006

Re-teamed with Cate Blanchett in a reprise of the STC production of "Hedda Gabler" in New York City

2006

Played the title role as V in the Wachowski brothers' adaptation of "V for Vendetta"

2007

Voiced the Decepticon leader Megatron in Michael Bay's live-action film "Transformers"

2009

Reprised role as Megatron in the sequel "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"

2010

Co-starred with Benicio del Toro in the remake of classic horror film "The Wolfman"

2011

Cast as the fictional Nazi the Red Skull in "Captain America: The First Avenger"

2011

Voiced the character of Noah the Elder in the animated sequel "Happy Feet Two"

2012

Played multiple roles in "Cloud Atlas," based on David Mitchell's 2004 novel; film co-directed by Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, and Tom Tykwer

2012

Returned to Middle Earth as Elrond in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien and directed by Peter Jackson

2014

Reprised Elrond in the final installment of Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"

2016

Appeared in Mel Gibson's award-winning WWII drama "Hacksaw Ridge"

2017

Played Alex Klima on the series "Seven Types of Ambiguity"

2018

Played a supporting role on the mini-series "Patrick Melrose"

2018

Re-teamed with Peter Jackson in the Christian Rivers-directed youth novel adaptation, "Mortal Engines"

Family

Wallace Weaving
Father
Seismologist. Retired.
Anne Weaving
Mother
Tour guide. Works in Sydney.
Simon Weaving
Brother
Consultant. Older.
Anna Weaving
Sister
Singer. Younger.
Harry Weaving
Son
Holly Weaving
Daughter

Companions

Katrina Greenwood
Wife

Bibliography

Notes

"To me acting originally became an extension of game playing. Childhood games, and that kinda grew into something else. ... As I've got older it's changed and it's moved more towards self-understanding about how people escape into other worlds. It's become me trying to open doors into other people." --Weaving quoted in The iZINE (www.thei.aust.com), July 1997.