Andy Serkis is the kind of actor whose name not many people know of, but whose work most people have already seen. The fact that he is best known for his performance capture roles (comprising motion capture acting, animation and voice work) might have something to do with it. He has received an Empire Award, and two Saturn Awards for his motion-capture acting. It's high time he wins an Oscar too. Serkis has his own motion capture workshop – The Imaginarium Studios in London – which he will use for his directorial debut, Jungle Book.
Mo-cap is no easy task. Imagine having your face covered in numerous dots or your body covered in a tight green suit, and having to precisely emote every emotion on an animal's face. This is why Serkis is literally the face of motion capture. We wish the genius a happy birthday!
Apart from the ones below, he has also played Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) as well. Let's not forget that he is a 'normal' actor who has done 'normal' roles too, like Nikola Tesla's assistant, Mr. Alley, in the thriller The Prestige (2006). He also voiced Captain Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin (2011). Today, let's take a look at some of his most significant mo-cap roles.
1. Smeagol/Gollum in The Lord of the Rings Series (2001 – 2003)
He carried on with the same character in the new The Hobbit series (2012 – present). He plays a once happy hobbit, then a wretched hobbit-like creature whose mind was poisoned over centuries by the Ring. In addition to this, Serkis also voiced the Witch-King of Angmar. He is "precious" to director Peter Jackson.
2. Lumpy/King Kong in King Kong (2005)
Another film directed by Peter Jackson, he plays the normal role of sailor Lumpy who is also a cook, barber, and surgeon. Not just that, he also plays the titular role. Yes, he plays the giant ape, Kong. The fact that one would tear up during the scenes between him and Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) says enough.
3. Caesar in the Planet of the Apes series (2011 – present)
In another 'monkey business', he plays Caesar, who leads an ape revolution against humanity. The effects team considered that at times "Andy overcame the character.”
4. Baloo in The Jungle Book (2018)
The upcoming film is another reboot of The Jungle Book. But debut director Serkis says this version of his will be much darker and scarier. Not just that, he also applies his mo-cap skills on the beloved bear, Baloo.