Hugo Weaving participated in some of the biggest film franchises with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tolkien, and The Matrix. The 59-year old actor completed Peter Jackson's Tolkien-related projects in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and final The Hobbit film. Weaving spoke to Time Out on what happened in his talks with Marvel and Warner Bros that fell through.
Following Weaving's time as Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel approached him about reprising. Plans fell through on the two recent Avengers films in Infinity War and Endgame.
"I loved playing that character Red Skull – it was a lot of fun. We were all obliged to sign up for three pictures: I was thinking [Red Skull] probably wouldn't come back in 'Captain America' but he may well come back as a villain in "The Avengers". By then, they'd pushed back on the contracts that we agreed on and so the money they offered me for "The Avengers" was much less than I got for the very first one, and this was for two films. And the promise when we first signed the contracts was that the money would grow each time. 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.'"
When it came to the fourth Matrix film, Warner Bros and director Lana Wachowski approached Weaving about reprising his role as Agent Smith. Unfortunately, a scheduling conflict dashed those plans.
"'The Matrix' is a very different story. 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. 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 [director] 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."
Chris Evans is likely retired from the role of Steve Rogers' Captain America. We also saw Red Skull's likely permanent fate as guardian of the soul infinity stone. Have we seen the last of the former HYDRA leader? As far as Agent Smith goes, the fourth untitled Matrix film's tentative release date is May 21st, 2021. Should there be a fifth one, which won't be for some time, Smith could pop up again.