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I’m not sure how to break this to you. I have thought long and hard, considered all the possible angles to take, searched in vain for a chance to soften the blow, but in the end it seemed cleanest and fairest to just speak the truth, let the chips fall where they may, and help to clean up the mess afterwards. Especially as chips are so hard to vacuum up, once trodden into a carpet.
So the thing is, y’know the Transformers films? And you know how there’s a bad guy robot fella called the Megatron? And y’know how the Megatron is voiced by the British/Australian actor Hugo Weaving: him out of the Matrix and Lord of the Rings movies?
Well, much as it pains me to admit it. It seems Hugo, when voicing the Megatron, abandoned YEARS of acting training, left behind the best advice of theatrical practitioners going back to Shakespeare’s time and beyond, and failed to do even the tiniest bit of research into the character’s backstory or emotional landscape. He just turned up and read the lines as they were written, off a script he held… he held… (come on, you can DO this)… in his HANDS.
I know. It’s appalling. Just appalling. Did Romeo die in vain? And Juliet, for that matter?
This is what he had to say on the subject, to the Collider blog. Be warned, it is NOT a sufficient apology:
“It was one of the only things I’ve ever done where I had no knowledge of it, I didn’t care about it, I didn’t think about it. They wanted me to do it. In one way, I regret that bit. I don’t regret doing it, but I very rarely do something if it’s meaningless.
“It was meaningless to me, honestly. I don’t mean that in any nasty way.”
Meaningless to you, Hugo, but what of all the millions of Transformers fans who believed in the Megatron, heart and soul, without realising the fragile, barely-there foundation on which his character was built? What about them? Are they meaningless too? And what about poor, gentle, trusting Michael Bay, the film’s director? Is he meaningless? Is his visionary vision of massive fighting robots (that can fold up into other shapes) meaningless?
Oh, it turns out Hugo hasn’t even MET Michael Bay. How callous.
“My link to that and to Michael Bay is so minimal. I have never met him. I was never on set. I’ve seen his face on Skype. I know nothing about him, really. I just went in and did it. I never read the script. I just have my lines, and I don’t know what they mean. That sounds absolutely pathetic!”
Not just pathetic, Hugo. Downright deceitful. How is anyone going to be able to believe in the Megatron now? Is Elrond even a real elf? Is the Matrix just some made-up hooey for one pretty good movie (and two ropey sequels)?
It’s like the whole world has been turned upside down. You’re a disgrace, man!
See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic