A graduate of Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art, blond, idiosyncratic leading man Hugo Weaving made his feature film debut in the socially conscious low-budget drama The City's Edge (1983), purportedly one of the first Australian films to sympathetically portray the adverse conditions suffered by aborigines. In 1991, Weaving received Best Actor kudos from the Australian Film Institute for his portrayal of a blind photographer in Jocelyn Moorhouse's Proof. In 1994, the actor earned international acclaim playing Tick, a drag queen with a secret, in the cult favorite The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994). The following year, Weaving was involved in another audience pleaser when he lent his voice to play the sheep dog Rex in Babe. Weaving occasionally appears in U.S. television productions, notably the CBS miniseries Dadah Is Death, in which he played opposite Julie Christie and Sarah Jessica Parker. He also continues to work steadily in Australia, in addition to appearing in big-budget Hollywood affairs such as The Matrix, in which he starred as an evil agent opposite Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne. Following his turn in The Matrix with a few low-key romantic comedies (Strange Planet [also 1999] and Russian Doll ), Weaving made a return to big-budgeted special effects extravaganzas with his involvement in director Peter Jackson's enormous adaptation of author J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. For the sequels to The Matrix, Weaving would return with a vengeance; with hundreds of Agent Smith clones sent to stop Neo (Keanu Reeves) from leading the revolution against the machines. An affiliation with another hit sci-fi series emerged when Weaving provided the voice of Megatron in Michael Bay's Transformers (as well as its two sequels), though it was the actor's affecting performance in 2009's Last Ride that earned him a nomination for Best Lead Actor at that year's Australian Film Institute awards. Cast as a dangerous Australian fugitive who flees from the law with his young son in tow, Weaving gave viewers a glimpse of the talent that was often overshadowed in his many larger-than-life roles, though it was his scenery-chewing performance as Johann Schmidt/Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger that got him back on the big screen in the U.S. following the disappointment of The Wolfman. Meanwhile, the busy screen veteran prepared for roles in Cloud Atlas (a sprawling sci-fi epic from Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski), and Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy.
Biography by Rebecca Flint Marx
- Lived in South Africa, England and Australia as a child.
- Became interested in acting after seeing a ballet production of Romeo and Juliet as a child.
- Studied under future Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush at NIDA.
- Won the Australian Film Institute award for Best Actor in a Lead Role for Proof (1991), The Interview (1998) and Little Fish (2005).
- Plays major roles in both The Matrix (as Agent Smith) and The Lord of the Rings (as Elrond) film trilogies.
- Voices Decepticon leader Megatron in the Transformer film series.
- Promotes Voiceless, the Animal Protection Institute, an Australian nonprofit that seeks to stop the institutionalized suffering of animals.
- In 2013, reprised The Matrix role of Agent Smith for a General Electric commercial promoting its medical equipment.