Hugo Weaving

Hugo Weaving Headshot

Actor

Birth Date: April 4, 1960

Age: 63 years old

Birth Place: Ibadan, Nigeria

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.

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