‘The Matrix Resurrections’ director didn’t want any Hugo Weaving impressions
Hugo Weaving was initially slated to return as Agent Smith for The Matrix Resurrections, but scheduling conflicts saw him unable to commit to the part. Looking at what we know now about the fourth installment in the franchise, his participation would have added another fascinating meta layer to the story.
Instead, as the marketing made abundantly clear, Jonathan Groff has stepped into Weaving’s shoes as a reprogrammed version of Neo’s arch-nemesis. A different actor embodying the part allows the re-coded and reinvigorated Smith to stand apart from his predecessor’s iconic work, but that doesn’t mean Groff wouldn’t have been tempted to dive into a little mimicry every now and then.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Groff admitted that he was warned by director Lana Wachowski not to do an impression of Weaving’s Smith, but to use it more as the basis and inspiration of what an upgraded version would feel and act like.
“So I knew from the beginning of the process that this was going to be a new programming of Agent Smith. And [Lana Wachowski] told me that she didn’t want me doing the entire performance as an impression of Hugo Weaving, and at the same time, in the script, there were those fun moments where my business partner character says, ‘Billions of people just living out their lives… oblivious.’ So there were moments like that, but on the whole, she was ready and interested in seeing a new version of the Agent Smith character.”
Groff does get to ape some of Smith’s most iconic lines, though, and it definitely suits the self-referential nature of the opening act, although part of us wishes that Weaving had managed to commit to The Matrix Resurrections now that his doppelganger’s role in the story is out there in the open for the world to see.