Whatever Happened to Marcus Chong?

Whatever Happened to Marcus Chong?

Normally an actor doesn’t get cut from a movie so long as their character is alive and they’re able to get along with the director and producers. But in the case of Marcus Chong, the story has been since the first Matrix movie that he was in a dispute with the Wachowski’s, and things had escalated to a place where his behavior was said to be threatening and disturbing. It’s still difficult to know just whose side to stand on so it’s better to view this from a distance and think that the rest of the cast didn’t have these problems, but somehow Chong did. It’s hard to think that every single person on the set didn’t have a single issue with the Wachowski’s and that they decided to single out Chong, but the idea that he sent threatening messages and phone calls to make his point about a dispute over being cast in the next two Matrix movies kind of leans towards the Wachowski’s. At this time it doesn’t appear that Chong’s career made it past 2013, but if he has been working then it’s a well-kept secret. He did manage to write a bit about the experience and get a book published.

In Hollywood, it’s tough to know sometimes just who’s in the wrong since it doesn’t take much of an effort sometimes to make a person look unbalanced and incapable of doing anything other than acting in a manner that makes them appear unbalanced and difficult. His role as Tank in The Matrix was seen as a necessity, but it’s kind of obvious that replacing Tank wasn’t really that hard. After the behavior that Chong supposedly displayed it wasn’t much of a choice to take him out of the movie and replace his character. It’s fair to hope that Chong saw that as a serious slap in the face that also might have been a wake-up call. Fighting with those that are capable of kicking someone off the set and possibly ruining their career isn’t wise, even if those same individuals can be ruined for doing such a thing depending on the circumstances.

Siding with actors over directors in a dispute usually takes knowing the whole story, and the unfortunate fact here is that a lot of the story is still fairly unknown since it would appear on one end that the Wachowski’s might be in the wrong for violating a contract. But on the other end, Chong appears to be in the wrong for the behavior he exhibited. One would hope that matters in Hollywood could be handled in a civil manner, but obviously discourse among celebrities isn’t much better at times than that which occurs between one average person and another. Whoever a person wants to believe, Chong or the Wachowski’s, there’s one glaring fact that a lot of people don’t point to as often as they should, and it’s one that a lot of actors have had with studios in the past. Chong wanted too much for his role, and like it or not, $400K for the role of Tank, someone that might have been needed but could be easily replaced, was more than enough.

Despite his acting career prior to The Matrix, Chong wasn’t exactly a well-known celebrity and he wasn’t an A-lister by any means, but it would appear that in The Matrix he saw what he felt would be a huge payday, and decided to ask for $1 million, but was given less than half of that. A lot of people, especially actors that had been making far less at that time, would have been more than happy with such a payday, but this is where standing on Chong’s side might be a bit untenable since the idea of asking for more than you’re worth is a common theme in Hollywood, and it’s done by nearly everyone at some point. But being a supporting character and wanting more money can lead to a rather easy solution for those in charge. The contract dispute is the toughest part of this deal since it’s not certain what went on with this and who is really in the right. But asking for more than he was worth at that time was a pretty big mistake for Chong, who wasn’t the greatest actor in the movie, to begin with.

This kind of goes to show that some actors tend to think far more of themselves and their acting abilities than they’re really worth. Granted, they made it into the business, but fighting over money and thinking that they’re worth over double what they’re getting paid is just another way to tell people that they don’t really want to be there.

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