Hugo Weaving

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Hugo Weaving
Hugo Weaving 2014.jpg
Weaving at the premiere of The Turning at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival.
Born Hugo Wallace Weaving
(1960-04-04) 4 April 1960 (age 54)
Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
Residence Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation Actor, voice actor
Years active 1980–present
Partner(s) Katrina Greenwood (1984–present)
Children 2
Relatives Samara Weaving (Niece)

Hugo Wallace Weaving (born 4 April 1960) is an Australian-British film and stage actor. He is best known for his roles as Agent Smith in The Matrix trilogy and Elrond in the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit film trilogy. He first rose to prominence for his performance as Martin in Proof. Other notable works include Tick in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, V in V for Vendetta, Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger and multiple roles in Cloud Atlas. He has also provided the voice Rex in Babe, Noah in Happy Feet and Happy Feet Two and Megatron in the Transformers film series as well as starring in numerous Australian character dramas. He has received many award nominations and wins during his career, including a Satellite Award, an MTV Movie Award and several Australian Film Institute Awards.[1]

Early life[edit]

Weaving was born at the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital, Nigeria Protectorate, to English parents Anne (née Lennard), a tour guide and former teacher, and Wallace Weaving, a seismologist.[2][3][4] His maternal grandmother was Belgian.[4] A year after his birth, his family returned to England, living in Bedford and Brighton before moving to Melbourne, Victoria and Sydney, New South Wales in Australia; Johannesburg in South Africa; and then returning to England again.[2] While in England, he attended The Downs School, Wraxall, near Bristol, and Queen Elizabeth's Hospital. His family moved back to Australia in 1976, where he attended Knox Grammar School in Sydney. He graduated from Sydney's National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1981.

Career[edit]

1984–1998[edit]

Weaving's first major role was in the 1984 Australian television series Bodyline, as the English cricket captain Douglas Jardine. Weaving appeared in the Australian miniseries The Dirtwater Dynasty in 1988 and as Geoffrey Chambers in the drama Barlow and Chambers: A Long Way From Home. He starred opposite Nicole Kidman in the 1989 film Bangkok Hilton. In 1991, Weaving received the Australian Film Institute's "Best Actor" award for his performance in the low-budget Proof. He appeared as Sir John in the 1993 Yahoo Serious comedy Reckless Kelly, a lampoon of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly. Weaving first received international attention in the hit Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in 1994, and provided the voice of Rex the sheepdog and farm leader in the 1995 family film, Babe. In 1998, he received the "Best Actor" award from the Montreal Film Festival for his performance as a suspected serial killer in The Interview.

1999–2010[edit]

Weaving earned further international attention with his performance as the enigmatic Agent Smith in the 1999 blockbuster hit The Matrix. He later reprised that role in the film's 2003 sequels: The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. He was a voice actor in the cartoon film The Magic Pudding.[citation needed]

Weaving at the 2003 Matrix Reloaded premiere

He garnered additional acclaim in the role of Elrond in Peter Jackson's three-film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, released between 2001 and 2003. Weaving was the main actor in Andrew Kotatko's award-winning film Everything Goes (2004). He starred as a heroin-addicted ex-rugby league player in the 2005 Australian indie film Little Fish, opposite Cate Blanchett. Weaving played the title role as V in the 2006 film V for Vendetta, in which he was reunited with the Wachowskis, creators of The Matrix trilogy, who wrote the adapted screenplay. Actor James Purefoy was originally signed to play the role, but he pulled out four weeks into filming. Weaving reshot most of James Purefoy's scenes as V (even though his face is never seen) apart from a couple of minor dialogue-free scenes early in the film. Stuntman David Leitch performed all of V's stunts.

Weaving reprised his role as Elrond for the video game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II. He regularly appears in productions by the Sydney Theatre Company (STC). In 2006, he worked with Cate Blanchett on a reprise of the STC production of Hedda Gabler in New York City. In a controversial move by director Michael Bay, Weaving was chosen as the Decepticon leader Megatron vocally in the 2007 live-action film Transformers, rather than using the original version of the character's voice created by the voice actor, Frank Welker.

Hugo Weaving at the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in December 2003.

Weaving himself was unaware of the controversy and had accepted the role based on Michael Bay's personal request; in a November 2008 Sun Herald interview, he said he'd never seen Transformers. Though Weaving reprised his role in two sequels, he does not have much personal investment in the Transformers films. In February 2010, Weaving revealed to The Age: "[Director] Michael Bay talks to me on the phone. I've never met him. We were doing the voice for the second one and I still hadn't seen the first one. I still didn't really know who the characters were and I didn't know what anything was. It's a voice job, for sure, and people assume I've spent my life working on it, but I really know so little about it."[5]

Weaving played a supporting role in Joe Johnston's 2010 remake of the 1941 film The Wolfman, starring Benicio del Toro. Immediately after Wolfman wrapped in spring 2008, he returned home to Australia to film a lead role in the film Last Ride, directed by Glendyn Ivin. In early 2009, Guillermo Del Toro, then director of The Hobbit films, prequels to The Lord of the Rings, confirmed his intent to again cast Weaving as Elrond of Rivendell in a BBC interview[6] When asked about reprising the role, Weaving replied that he was game, but had not officially been approached. Del Toro eventually left the project; Peter Jackson decided to direct the films himself but Weaving was not officially confirmed in the cast until May 2011.

Weaving spent the summer of 2009 starring in the Melbourne Theatre Company's production of God of Carnage, portraying the caustic lawyer Alain Reille. He returned to the stage in November 2010 in Sydney Theatre Company's Uncle Vanya, costarring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh.[7] Weaving filmed a guest role on Roxburgh's Australian TV series Rake in May 2010.

In May 2009, Weaving accepted a costarring role in the docudrama Oranges and Sunshine,[8] about the forced migration of thousands of British children to Australia in the 1950s. Filming began in autumn 2009 in Nottingham, England and Adelaide, South Australia and continued through January 2010. The film premiered at the Rome International Film Festival on 28 October 2010 and garnered positive reviews. 2010 also saw the release of Legend of the Guardians (formerly The Guardians of Ga'Hoole), in which Weaving has another high profile voice role,[9] portraying two different owls named Noctus and Grimble in Zack Snyder's film adaptation of Kathryn Lasky's popular series of children's books.

On 4 May 2010, it was officially confirmed by Marvel Studios that Weaving would play the fictional Nazi the Red Skull in the superhero film Captain America: The First Avenger.[10] Weaving completed filming his role on the project in September 2010 and returned to Sydney to prepare for Uncle Vanya. It is unlikely he will sign on for any further Marvel franchise instalments; in an August 2011 Baltimore Sun interview, the actor confided he's weary of typecasting and of "blockbuster" films in general: "I think I've about had enough...I'm not sure how many more of them I'll make. It doesn't feel to me as though they've been the majority of my work, though that's probably the way it seems to most other people.".[11]

2011–present[edit]

On 13 March 2011, The Key Man, which Weaving filmed in 2006, finally debuted at the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.[12] The child migrant saga Oranges and Sunshine opened in the UK on 1 April, the culmination of months of success on the festival circuit in late 2010-early 2011.[13] In March, the Sydney Theatre Company and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced that STC's 2010 production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya would be reprised in Washington, D.C. during the month of August[14] In April, months of speculation finally ended when Weaving appeared on The Hobbit's New Zealand set, shortly before a production spokesman officially confirmed the actor's return as Elrond in Peter Jackson's prequel trilogy to The Lord of the Rings.[15] He was part of the cast of the Wachowskis' adaptation of David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas.[16] The project, co-starring Tom Hanks, Ben Whishaw, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, and Susan Sarandon, began filming in September 2011 and was released in October 2012.

2012 also found Weaving re-focusing on his theatrical career, with a well-received return to the Sydney Theatre Company to star in a new adaptation of Christopher Hampton's play Les Liaisons Dangereuses in March.[17] He portrayed the notorious Vicomte de Valmont, a character he first played onstage in 1987. His frequent stage foil Pamela Rabe costarred. Weaving and Cate Blanchett reprised their roles in STC's internationally lauded production of Uncle Vanya for a ten-day run at New York's Lincoln Center in July.[18]

The busy actor also joined the cast of three forthcoming Australian films in summer 2012. The Western-tinged police thriller Mystery Road, written and directed by Ivan Sen, began filming in June 2012.[19] Weaving is also scheduled to star in the prison drama Healing for director Craig Monahan, with whom he previously made The Interview (1998) and Peaches (2005).[20] He will also costar in the Australian anthology film The Turning, based on Tim Winton's collection of linked stories. Weaving will appear in a segment entitled "The Commission", to be directed by his old friend and frequent costar David Wenham.[21] He rounded out 2013 co-starring with Richard Roxburgh and Philip Quast in Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, for the Sydney Theatre Company.[22][23]

In the spring of 2013, Weaving reprised the Agent Smith role for a General Electric television commercial for their "Brilliant Machines" innovations in healthcare management technology, which was slated to air during a break from 13 April's edition of Saturday Night Live, and subsequently continued to receive multiple airings on major cable networks.[24]

Personal life[edit]

When he was 13 years old, Weaving was diagnosed with epilepsy.[25] He has been with his longtime girlfriend Katrina Greenwood since 1984[26] and the two live in Sydney and have two children together, Harry (b. 1989) and Holly (b. 1993). He has a brother, Simon, and a sister, Anna Jane. His niece, Samara Weaving, portrayed Indigo Walker on the long-running Australian soap, Home and Away, and her younger sister Morgan joined the cast as Lottie Ryan.[27] In 2004, Weaving became an ambassador for Australian animal rights organisation Voiceless, the animal protection institute. He attends events, promotes Voiceless in interviews, and assists in their judging of annual grants recipients.[28]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1980 ...Maybe This Time Student 2
1983 The City's Edge Andy White
1986 For Love Alone Jonathan Crow
1987 Melba Charles Armstrong
1987 Right Hand Man, TheThe Right Hand Man Ned Devine
1988 Dadah Is Death Geoffrey Chambers
1989 Bangkok Hilton Richard Carlisle
1990 ...Almost Jake
1991 Proof Martin AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1992 Road to Alice Louis
1993 Frauds Jonathan Wheats
1993 Reckless Kelly Sir John
1993 Custodian, TheThe Custodian Det. Church
1994 Exile Innes
1994 Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, TheThe Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Anthony "Tick" Belrose/Mitzi Del Bra Nominated — AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1994 What's Going On, Frank? Strange Packer in Supermarket
1995 Babe Rex the Male Sheepdog Voice role
1997 True Love and Chaos Morris
1997 Halifax f.p: Isn't It Romantic Det. Sgt. Tom Hurkos
1998 Babe: Pig in the City Rex the Male Sheepdog Voice role
1998 Bedrooms and Hallways Jeremy
1998 Interview, TheThe Interview Eddie Rodney Fleming AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Montreal World Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Nominated — FCCA Award for Best Supporting Actor
1998 Kiss, TheThe Kiss Barry
1999 Strange Planet Steven
1999 Little Echo Lost Echo Man
1999 Matrix, TheThe Matrix Agent Smith Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Villain
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2000 The Magic Pudding Bill Barnacle
2001 Russian Doll Harvey
2001 Old Man Who Read Love Stories, TheThe Old Man Who Read Love Stories Rubicondo (Dentist) Nominated — AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — FCCA Award for Best Supporting Actor
2001 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Elrond Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2002 Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2003 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2003 Matrix Reloaded, TheThe Matrix Reloaded Agent Smith Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (shared with Keanu Reeves)
2003 Matrix Revolutions, TheThe Matrix Revolutions
2003 After the Deluge Martin Kirby
2004 Everything Goes Ray Inside Film Awards: Best Short Film
2004 Peaches Alan
2005 Little Fish Lionel Dawson AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
FCCA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Inside Film Award for Best Actor
2006 Happy Feet Noah Voice role
2006 V for Vendetta V Nominated — International Award for Best Actor
2007 Transformers Megatron Voice role
2007 In The Company of Actors Himself/Judge Brack
2008 Tender Hook, TheThe Tender Hook McHeath a.k.a. The Boxer and the Bombshell
2009 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Megatron Voice role
2009 Last Ride Kev Nominated — AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
2010 Wolfman, TheThe Wolfman Detective Francis Abberline
2010 Oranges and Sunshine[8] Jack AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
2010 Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Noctus and Grimble Voice role
2011 Transformers: Dark of the Moon Megatron Voice role
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Red Skull / Johann Schmidt Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Fight (with Chris Evans)
Nominated – Scream Award for Best Villain
2011 Happy Feet Two Noah Voice role
2012 Cloud Atlas Haskell Moore
Tadeusz Kesselring
Bill Smoke
Nurse Noakes
Boardman Mephi
Old Georgie
2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Elrond
2013 Mystery Road Johnno
2013 The Turning Bob Lang Nominated – AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
2014 Healing Matt Perry
2014 The Mule Croft
2014 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Elrond Post-production
2015 Strangerland David Rae Filming
2015 The Dressmaker Sergeant Farrat Filming

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1984 Bodyline Douglas Jardine
1988 Dirtwater Dynasty, TheThe Dirtwater Dynasty Richard Eastwick 4 episodes
1989 Bangkok Hilton Richard Carlisle
1993 Seven Deadly Sins Lust
1995 Bordertown Kenneth Pearson 10 episodes
1996 The Bite Jack Shannon
1996 Naked: Stories of Men Martin Furlong 1 episode
1997 Frontier Governor Arthur
2003 After the Deluge Martin Kirby
2010 Rake Prof Graham Murray 1 episode
2010 I, Spry Narrator
2015 New Davincibles Lee Nan Voice only, English dub

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Awards for Hugo Weaving. imdb.com
  2. ^ a b "Quiet achiever". The Sydney Morning Herald. 3 April 2006. 
  3. ^ "Hugo Weaving Profile: Biography, Filmography & Photos". uk.movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Meet the listener: Anne Lennard, wartime evacuee – Life Matters". Australia: ABC. 29 September 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "Depth among the shallows". The Age (Melbourne: Fairfax Digital). 12 February 2010. 
  6. ^ BBC[dead link]
  7. ^ Uncle Vanya at the Sydney Theatre Company
  8. ^ a b Jaafar, Ali (23 November 2009). "Emily Watson joins 'Oranges'". Variety. 
  9. ^ Zack Snyder's Guardians of Ga'Hoole Cast Coming Together 20 November 2009
  10. ^ "Hugo Weaving confirmed as Red Skull in Captain America". Retrieved 4 May 2010. [dead link]
  11. ^ "From 'Captain America' to 'Uncle Vanya,' Hugo Weaving stretches his acting chops". The Baltimore Sun. 5 August 2011. 
  12. ^ SXSW Exclusive First Look: ‘The Key Man’ Poster. Film School Rejects (10 March 2011). Retrieved on 2011-06-04.
  13. ^ "Oranges and Sunshine: an illuminating true-life drama". The Guardian (London). 14 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "Kennedy Center offers Cate Blanchett, hip-hop, 'The Addams Family'". The Washington Post. 
  15. ^ "Kiwi actor steps into Hobbit breach". The Dominion Post. 2 May 2011. 
  16. ^ Roxborough, Scott (11 May 2011). "Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw Join 'Cloud Atlas' (Cannes Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  17. ^ "Curtain's up on Liaison with wicked wit". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 September 2011. 
  18. ^ Mckinley Jr, James C. (18 December 2011). "A New York Stop for Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and ‘Uncle Vanya’'". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ "Ivan Sen's Mystery Road begins filming in Qld". Inside Film. 26 June 2012. 
  20. ^ "Screen Australia Backs 4 Films, 8 TV Projects". Deadline.com. 25 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "A Dane takes Aussie film sales to a new level". SBS. 12 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "Cate Blanchett Lights Up Lincoln Center". Gotham Magazine. June 2012. 
  23. ^ "Sydney Theatre Company 2013 Season". Time Out Sydney. 6 September 2012. 
  24. ^ Connelly, Brendon (13 April 2013). "Agent Smith Returns – A General Electric Commercial Set in the World of the Matrix". bleedingcool.com. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  25. ^ Hoffman, Barbara. "Aussie lord of the stage". New York Post. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  26. ^ McCauley, Mary Carole (5 August 2011). "From 'Captain America' to 'Uncle Vanya,' Hugo Weaving stretches his acting chops". The Morning Call. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  27. ^ "Samara Weaving (as Indigo Walker)". Home and Away Cast Biographies. TV3. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  28. ^ "Hugo Weaving | Voiceless". Voiceless. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • The Dictionary of Performing Arts in Australia – Theatre . Film . Radio . Television – Volume 1 – Ann Atkinson, Linsay Knight, Margaret McPhee – Allen & Unwin Pty. Ltd., 1996
  • The Australian Film and Television Companion – compiled by Tony Harrison – Simon & Schuster Australia, 1994

External links[edit]