Andy Serkis has mastered performance capture in front of the camera having played Gollum in Lord of the Rings, King Kong, and most recently the lead ape in Rise of the Apes. But now he’s going to put his knowledge to use behind the camera, as The Hobbit director Peter Jackson has asked the actor to serve as Second Unit Director on the films.
“I think I understand Peter’s sensibility and we have a common history of understanding Middle Earth,” Serkis told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
Serkis has already done some directing, including performance capture on a couple video games including Heavenly Sword. But, he said, “When Peter asked me. There was this email out of the blue. It was a fantastic surprise.”
Apparently Serkis has already completed shooting his performance in The Hobbit, and said it was “thrilling” to reprise the role of Gollum.
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.”
“I was looking forward to doing it. He never really left me.”
The Hobbit follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild (Richard Armitage). Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.