While Agent Smith does play a big role in The Matrix Resurrections, the character was not played by original actor Hugo Weaving this time around. The part ending up being played by Jonathan Groff, who was great, but the original plan was to bring Weaving back for the role. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get the actor due to scheduling conflicts.
This bit of news was revealed by co-writer Aleksandar Hemon during an interview with io9. He explained:
“A new Morpheus was there from the beginning. During my brief career in the movies, I’ve learned that moviemaking, it’s a world of contingency. And so people might or might not, you know, sign on-or if they sign on, some things may change. So we did write some roles, I’m not going to give it away, but we wrote a character for someone we thought would play [it] and then it was not possible. And so still, we didn’t change anything radically, but we were just imagining this actor in the role. And then it turned out that it was not possible, but we didn’t change any lines with that. So that actor is still inscribed in the role.”
Herrin went on to reveal that Hugo Weaving was the someone they thought would play Agent Smith. He went on to say:
“There were preliminary talks (with Weaving) and so we were not involved in them with people, but it was not entirely resolved. Because the premise of The Matrix and (this) movie is somewhat different, Agent Smith would have been different in some ways, no matter who played it. And Jonathan Groff is amazing in that role. He added a dimension that I could not foresee while we were writing. But there’s an increased emotional emotionality in the movie and then he fits into that pattern.”
Weaving himself offered his side of the story during an interview with Coming Soon, saying that he intially said yes to the role, but it was director Lana Wachowski who ultimately pulled the plug on bringing him back:
“Lana Wachowski had rung me at the beginning of last year. We’ve worked together five times, the Wachowski’s and I on three Matrix films, V for Vendetta and Cloud Atlas. I’ve hung out with them all over the world for many, many years. So, yes, Lana was very keen for me to be involved in The Matrix.
“There was a reading with Keanu, Carrie and myself and a few others from the old family… I loved a lot of it and wasn’t sure about other bits. Ultimately, we talked about it and when the offer came through to do it for Warners, I said yes the next day and I talked to Lana. I thought we could have done my scenes in May, June and July ; and we talked about money and we talked about — they were negotiating. And we were all pretty much sorted and agreed on dates and it was all fine, but then Lana decided she didn’t think it was going to work. So, she pulled the plug on the negotiations… that was her call. So, that was it really…. but, yeah, it would be lovely to be over there to hang out with them all. I’m very fond of Keanu and Carrie. I haven’t seen them for a while. But I look forward to seeing it.”
In the end, some footage of Weaving did appear in the movie from the previously Matrix films. It made for some interesting moments. There’s no reason given as to why Wachowski ended up not wanting to bring Weaving back. Maybe she just liked Groff for this version of the character more?
Regardless of all of this, what did you think of how Agent Smith was handled in the film?