Hugo Weaving talks on how he got “the Matrix”

By Paul Martin July 19th, 2001, in Interviews, The Matrix, The Matrix Cast

In an interview with AP, Weaving explains his motivations:
“I do like to do different work and different roles and different characters,” he says.

But the 41-year-old actor has avoided big-budget American films more for personal reasons than for professional ones.

“I moved around the world a lot as a kid and so deciding to live in Sydney was important. Went to drama school there. Working in theater there. Working in low-budget films, because most of the films made in Sydney are low-budget. And then having a family,” says Weaving, who with Katrina – his partner of 17 years – has two children: Harry, 12, and Harley, 8.

“There are other considerations in my life now – things that are more important to me rather than trying to be famous or trying to get big in Hollywood.”

Weaving’s dad worked as a seismologist for an oil company, which required him and the family to live “one year here, two years there.” Weaving was born in Nigeria, and his family left there before he was 1. They resided in England, Australia, back in England, South Africa, back in England again and, finally, when he was 16, in Sydney, Australia.

Weaving thought the peripatetic existence was great. His older brother and younger sister continue to move around a lot, but he satisfies his wanderlust mainly through traveling to movie locations.

… For Agent Smith in “The Matrix,” however, he doesn’t require a deep psychological understanding of the character.

“I think the approach needs to be varied in order to make those characters varied as well. We’re all different people and we all have different backgrounds and we all have different modus operandi,” he says.

“I think the way that you develop a character is as important as what the content of that character is.”

Weaving trained for four months to do the martial arts moves in the “Matrix” sequels.

“I’m very fit, and I’m not injured yet,” he says, recalling that he was on crutches awhile the first time around.

He’s looking forward to playing Smith again in the two sequels, which are being shot at the same time.

“I don’t think you can play a villain and not have fun. Otherwise, it’s going to be a disaster,” he says.

But Weaving recalls his initial reluctance over the original film. Since it was a big studio picture, science fiction and was going to be shot in Los Angeles, “I thought, oh, dear, it wasn’t really my cup of tea.”

He was won over, though, after he saw Andy and Larry Wachowski’s feature debut, “Bound,” met them and found they were funny, then read their script and saw that Smith “was written with a sense of humor.”

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