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Hugo Weaving Cast in Peter Jackson’s ‘Mortal Engines’

”Lord of the Rings“ director is writing and producing adaptation of Philip Reeve book series

Hugo Weaving, best known as Agent Smith from “The Matrix” franchise, has reunited with “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson in Universal’s “Mortal Engines,” adapted from Philip Reeve’s book series of the same name, TheWrap has learned.

Weaving will play the role of Valentine, joining a cast that already includes Hera Hilmar, Robbie Sheehan, Ronan Rafterty, and Stephen Lang. “Mortal Engines” will hit theaters Dec. 14, 2018.

Christian Rivers, who has spent much of his 25-year career working closely with Jackson, is directing the film. Jackson and Fran Walsh, who were behind “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies) are producing the movie. The duo has been involved with the project for several years after optioning the rights from Scholastic, and co-wrote the screenplay with Philippa Boyens.

Zane Weiner, Amanda Walker, and Deborah Forte are serving as producers, in addition to Walsh and Jackson. Ken Kamins will executive produce, while Boyens will co-produce.

MRC and Universal are co-financing the film, and Universal will distribute the film worldwide. Production recently began in New Zealand.

“Mortal Engines” is the first in a planned series of movies based on Reeve’s four-book series, which also includes “Predator’s Gold,” “Infernal Devices” and “A Darkling Plain.”

Weaving is represented by CAA and Shanahan Management in Australia, and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.

Variety first reported Weaving’s casting.