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The Matrix Resurrections, the fourth Matrix movie, not only brings back Neo and Trinity, but the first film’s protagonist Agent Smith as well. While Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss came back to reprise their iconic roles, Agent Smith was admirably played by Jonathan Groff instead of Hugo Weaving.
While Groff did a great job as Smith and the movie explained why the character had a different face, it appears that the original intent was to have Weaving come back for the role. In an interview with iO9, The Matrix Resurrections co-writer Aleksandar Hemon shared the following:
“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.”
When iO9 followed up with Hemon to confirm he was referencing Agent Smith, the role initially played by Weaving, Hemon said the following: “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.”
While Hemon is being coy here, producer James McTeigue was more straightforward about the situation in an interview with Collider:
“There was always the Smith character in there. Hugo is a friend of both of ours of long standing. If we had a way of getting Hugo into the movie, we would have. But it didn't work out. That's just what happens in show making sometimes. Schedules can't work out. COVID was another curve ball in the middle of it, obviously. It was a little more complicated than usual.”
Having Weaving back as Agent Smith would undoubtedly be exciting to many a Matrix fan. Groff, however — as Hemon points out above — added new dimensions to the character who can, as he says, take on any face.
The Matrix Resurrections is currently in theaters and on HBO Max.