There’s the $200 million Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen , in which he provides the voice of Megatron. Despite poor reviews, this mega-blockbuster hauled in $450 million in its first five days.
At the other end of the scale there’s the $4 million Last Ride , a South Australian road movie about a criminal on the run with his young son, Chook. It opens today and has received excellent reviews.
"Totally different budgets, totally different perspectives, totally different ways of making films really," says the thoughtful actor on the phone from Melbourne, on his way to the airport.
Last July when he arrived in Adelaide, Weaving made it clear which type of filmmaking he prefers.
He’d been making the $88 million Wolf Man opposite Anthony Hopkins, and complained the film’s shooting schedule had just kept expanding.
"The thing with big-budget films is they tend to keep throwing money at the production and it just keeps growing," he complained at the time. "I really wouldn’t know where it’s going."
By contrast, Last Ride was a compressed six-week shoot with no money in the budget for error. The production travelled 6000km around the state, including to Port Augusta, the Flinders Ranges and the amazing salty expanse of Lake Gairdner.
"Beautiful landscapes – really desolate and stunning colours. A really wonderful part of the world," Weaving says. "It felt like a six-week school camp to some extent. We were working very hard, but it was invigorating."
The rehearsal process was focused, too, with Weaving and Palme d’Or-winning director Glendyn Ivin sitting around a table at the appropriately named Directors Hotel on Gouger St for a week.
To help Weaving understand his character’s background and perspective, Ivin filmed a number of interviews with former criminals.
"It was a great way of keying into the way people think, while I was trying to work out how Kev thought, so that material was really invaluable," Weaving says.
He also worked his way through Denise Young’s award-winning novel, upon which the film is based.
Adelaide schoolboy Tom Russell plays Chook and Weaving says he enjoyed how unselfconscious the young actor was. "I liked the fact that if he got bored he’d drift off. If he wanted to tell me a joke or sing a song, he did," he says. "It was a delightful experience."
Over the past fortnight the actor has been traversing the country attending question-and-answer sessions in support of Last Ride.
"Most people find the nature of the relationship between Chook and Kev very confronting and some find it enormously rewarding," Weaving says. "We’ve been having wonderful feedback from all sorts of people."
Of course, as interesting as his "small film" is, most people want to know what’s going on with his "big films". Namely, whether he is going to return as Elrond in The Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit.
"I haven’t had a conversation with anyone yet about it," he says. "I know Elrond is in The Hobbit so I expect that conversation will be held quite soon." And is he keen to return? "Absolutely."
Weaving also does a lot of voice work, including the films The Magic Pudding, Happy Feet and Transformers . His latest voice project is the big-budget animation Guardians of Ga’Hoole from Watchman director Zack Snyder, which is being made in Sydney.
He says a unique aspect of the project is that, despite being funded by a Hollywood studio, the Australian actors have been allowed to speak in their own accents.
Weaving says the voices on Babe were originally recorded using Aussie accents, but the studio ordered them re-recorded before it would release the film. "It’s interesting now with Guardians of Ga’Hoole – which I suspect will be a pretty large production – the voices you hear will be unashamedly Australian, and that’s great."
There seems little doubt this has to do with Aussie actors who, like Weaving, have found success in Hollywood and helped accustom American audiences to the way we sound.
"I suspect that’s true, and possibly the American ear is attuned in a way that it wasn’t even 10 years ago to the Australian sounds," Weaving says. "Hopefully it will happen more often."
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Tom Russell
Verdict: Impressive and moving