Andy Serkis is Also Working as Second Unit Director on 'The Hobbit'
Looks like Gollum has more than two sides. THR reports that actor Andy Serkis, who is returning to play Gollum/Smeagol in both of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit movies, is also going to work as the second unit director on the two films, which are currently shooting in New Zealand. "There is really a sense of Peter wanting people around him who totally understand the material and the work ethic," Serkis told THR. We reported last year that Serkis was going to make his directing debut on an unnamed "psychological thriller," but with The Hobbit underway, it looks like he'll have to sharpen his skills working with Peter Jackson first.
"I think I understand Peter's sensibility and we have a common history of understanding Middle Earth," Serkis said. "A lot of the crew from The Lord of the Rings was returning to work on The Hobbit. There is really a sense of Peter wanting people around him who totally understand the material and the work ethic." Apparently Serkis didn't even apply for the job, he just got asked. "When Peter asked me. There was this email out of the blue. It was a fantastic surprise." And what are his duties? Besides performance capture, it "encompasses a lot of directing aspects of filmmaking and story. Yes, there is some performance capture, but I will be very much on the live action sets and locations helping Peter to tell the story." Sounds perfect!
As someone who is already crazy excited for The Hobbit, I can't pass up including more of Serkis' quotes from the THR piece, as he talks a bit about everything, from 3D to how different/fresh it will feel, to Gollum and pushing the performance capture boundaries again. Here's a few more Hobbit details from Andy Serkis:
"The learning curve is The Hobbit is being shot in 3D," he added, noting that the 3D would be used "dramatically, to give a point of view."
"In the same way Lord of the Rings was an interpretation of the book, The Hobbit is being treated the same way," Serkis said. "It will be faithfully represented with a fresh interpretation."
"When we created Gollum the first time, performance capture was it its infancy," he said, noting that today, "within the industry, there is more appreciation for it as an acting art form. It's all about character, learning what the character thinks, feels, how he carries pain." Serkis said it's "thrilling" to reprise the role of Gollum. "I was looking forward to doing it. He never really left me."
This is all just so fantastic to hear. It's easy to see there is already a tremendous amount of passion being put towards The Hobbit, which hopefully means this is going to turn out as good as if not better than Lord of the Rings. Serkis also stars in Rise of the Apes as Caesar and Jackson/Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn as Captain Haddock, but he will get back to directing that live-action feature once work on The Hobbit is complete. He's also launching a performance capture studio and training center, dubbed The Imaginarium, which will produce its own material as well as service other projects. Serkis is an awesome guy and I've seen some of his work in Apes and I can't wait to see him in that, too. This is just great news all around to report on. We'll definitely continue to keep you updated on all things The Hobbit!