The Matrix: Reloaded is certainly a movie, that much we can all agree on. Although the quality of the film’s story is somewhat contentious, most people are in agreement that the action scenes are fucking awesome. But did you know that one of them made Hugo Weaving realise he was losing his lovingly maintained man-mane?
Yes, the Burly Brawl, AKA, the scene where Keanu Reeves uses punch-fu to kill endless waves of Hugo Weaving clones made Agent Smith realise he was losing his hair.
According to Weaving right up until he recorded that scene he’d always assumed that he had a pretty decent head of hair and even notes that he’d check out his man-mane in the mirror. All, presumably, while muttering “I’d still do me” under his own breath.
This changed though when he arrived for work one morning and saw a dozen stuntmen staring back at him wearing his own fucking face. Oh and to be clear, that’s not hyperbole. You see to give the illusion of there being multiple Hugo Weavings in the same shot during the Burly Brawl the special effects crew created multiple Hugo Weaving masks for extras in the background of scenes to wear, using CGI to map Weaving’s face onto actors closer to the foreground. Here’s a picture of Weaving dicking around behind the scenes with a few of the more high-quality masks to show what we mean.
According to Weaving he took one look at these masks and realised that his hair had receded far further than he’d assumed. A suspicion that was confirmed when he met up with a group of stunt actors whose hair had been styled by the makeup department to look exactly like his so that they could CGI his face onto there’s, allowing him for the first time to look at his own head from the side. In a behind the scenes featurette you can actually see Weaving point directly at one of these extra’s heads while laughing at how bad it looks as it dawns on him that this is what everyone else sees when they look at him.
Weaving took the whole thing in his stride and can be seen laughing about it behind the scenes, which is actually kind of terrifying considering he’s in full Agent Smith costume and surrounded by people wearing masks of his face, but it’s nice to know he wasn’t upset.
Oh and speaking of masks, before we end this piece we should mention that not every mask made for this scene was of the same quality as the ones pictured above since they were only meant to be seen for about a quarter of a second. This means if you pause certain parts of the scene at just the right moment and zoom in you can see shit like this.