I happened to be watching an episode of the 80's show Cosmos which was hosted by Carl Sagan. Sitting and listening to his voice, I was puzzled, thinking "Who's voice does this sound like?". I came to the conclusion he sounded just like Agent Smith from The Matrix.

My question is, Did Hugo Weaving copy the voice mannerisms from Carl Sagan for the part of Agent Smith? Is there any evidence in the media or through interview why Weaving portrayed Smith like this? It's definitely not his normal speech pattern.

NOTE: I know it is hard to prove a negative. If someone has any information as to why Weaving played the part this way would be sufficient for an answer.

For reference, here are two clips, one of Carl Sagan describing the 4th dimension and one of Agent Smith while interrogating Morpheus.

Carl Sagan

Agent Smith

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    You're not the first to notice it, it's a somewhat popular view. But I think it always remained an urban legend, and I don't think Weaving ever mentioned Sagan as an inspiration. – Walt Apr 25 '15 at 16:52
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    Hugo Weaving says he emulated a “50′s news reader. (maybe it's worth mentioning that Weaving is Australian/British, therefore he had to emulate an american accent) – Oliver_C Apr 25 '15 at 17:17
  • After watching the video I am sure the voice was a copy but body language is still original – war_Hero Apr 26 '15 at 3:40
  • @war_Hero - I was just talking about the voice. I'm sure Carl Sagan wasn't into Bullet Time. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Apr 26 '15 at 12:52
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    Carl Sagan spoke with little ego. Agent Smith is A.I and A.I lacks ego. We see over the course of the three movies Agent Smith (in his different forms) changes from egoless to egoist. This may just be a result of the story flow but it would be awesome to know that Carl Sagan was an influence in the dialogue. I am sure he is an influence to the Wachowskis. – user41204 Sep 16 '16 at 3:02
up vote 13 down vote accepted

In the documentary The Matrix Revisited (WikiIMDBAmazon) features an interview with Hugo Weaving (starting at approximately 48 minutes in, a segment called "The Interrogation Room") in which he says that he wanted a "neutral accent" for the character and for him to be "not robotic but not really human. I kept thinking about a '50s newsreader or someone like that." This is (in the documentary) followed immediately by Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus) saying that he sounds like Walter Cronkite. Here's Cronkite's final broadcast for comparison:

After Fishburne's comment, Weaving says:

And also the more I hung out with Larry and Andy [Wachowski] the more I think I picked up on their rhythms. Larry and Andy both have an incredibly deep voice and I think that kinda -- Agent Smith started to kinda talk like that a bit as well.

So in conclusion, his influences were an archetypal 1950s newsreader and the Wachowski brothers. While I agree that he sounds uncannily like Carl Sagan when he plays Agent Smith, he doesn't seem to have acknowledged Sagan as an influence for the portrayal.

  • I don't know what Fishburn was on, but Agent Smith sounded nothing like Walter Cronkite ... Mr. Cronkite's cadence is way different. Inflection is nothing the same ... maybe Mr. Fishburn needs to have his hearing checked? No matter, I +1'd your answer because it is pretty good detail and nice research. I'll let it stew for a little while longer but this will probably get the check. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 May 5 '15 at 0:16

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