Andy Serkis, the King of Motion-Capture Acting and the man who brought Gollum to life on the big screen, is 54.
Andy Serkis is the king of motion-capture acting, but that’s not all he does. Serkis, born April 20, 1964 in London, England is an actor, a voice actor, a director, and an author. He is also a husband and a father, and has acted with two of his three children, his daughter Ruby in A Letter for the King and his son Louis in Mowgli:Legend of the Jungle, which he also directed. Serkis has appeared on stage with his wife, actress Lorraine Ashbourne several times, most notably in Shakespeare’s Othello, where he was Iago and she was Emilia. Elder son Sonny has not yet been bitten by the acting bug.
Andy Serkis is best known for his motion-capture acting as Gollum in Lord of the Rings, Kong in the 2005 King Kong, and Caesar in the 2011-2017 reboots of the Planet of the Apes movies. He was also Lumpy the cook in King Kong and villain Ulysses Klaue in the MCU (Age of Ultron and Black Panther).He voiced Supreme Leader Snoke in the final Star Wars trilogy and Captain Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin.
Serkis’ masterful performances as a motion-capture artist have raised the question, with CGI becoming more common in modern Hollywood, if motion-cature artists should be judged by the same standards as other actors, or possibly given their own category in the Oscars, BAFTAs, and other awards competitions. Actor James Franco said,
“Andy Serkis is the undisputed master of the newest kind of acting called performance capture, and it is time that Serkis gets credit for the innovative artist that he is,” comparing Serkis’s work to prosthetically-aided Oscar-winning performances by Nicole Kidman and John Hurt. “This is not animation as much as it’s digital ‘makeup’. There are plenty of Oscar-winning performances that depended on prosthetic makeup to help create the characters: John Hurt’s in The Elephant Man, Nicole Kidman’s in The Hours, Sean Penn’s in Milk. Those actors depended on makeup artists to augment the look of their characters, but the performance underneath came solely from the actors.
“Well, that’s exactly the same position that Andy is in, his problem is that the digital ‘makeup’ is so convincing that it makes people forget that he provides the soul of Caesar. That soul, the thing that was so compelling about that film, came from Andy, and the way he rendered that soul is of equal importance, if not more important than the photo realistic surface of the character.”
Critics from the Daily Telegraph and other periodicals suggested that Serkis be considered for an Oscar for his performance capture work.
In addition to Shakespeare and Tolkien, Serkis has also done Dickens, playing Marley’s Ghost and the Ghost of Christmas Past in two different adaptions of A Christmas Carol and Rigaud in Little Dorrit. In the upcoming The Batman, due to be released March 4, 2022, he will follow in Sir Michael Caine’s and Alan Napier’s footsteps as Alfred Pennyworth.
Happy Birthday, Andy Serkis! May your career continue to thrive!
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.