Hugo Weaving will not be returning as Agent Smith in the fourth The Matrix movie due to a diary clash.
The Australian actor played the primary antagonist, an artificial intelligence programme tasked with defeating Keanu Reeves’s hero Neo, in the Wachowskis’ 1999 science-fiction classic and its two sequels.
However, Weaving has now revealed he won’t be starring in a fourth movie, due out in May 2021, as shooting dates clash with him appearing on the London stage alongside Lesley Manville in The Visit, which runs at the U.K.’s National Theatre from 31 January to 13 May.
Asked in an interview for Time Out magazine whether he would be returning, the 59-year-old said, “I’m not, no,” before going on to explain the reasons for his absence.
“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,” he commented. “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 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.”
Elsewhere in the chat, Weaving also revealed why he did not return to play Red Skull in the final two Avengers movies, and was replaced by Ross Marquand, noting that he refused to participate after Marvel chiefs allegedly reneged on an agreement to increase his pay.
“The promise when we first signed the contracts was that the money would grow each time,” he added. “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.”
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