Andy Serkis returns to the character that made him famous for ‘The Hobbit’

A hobbit hole is no place for actor Andy Serkis.

It hardly sounds favorable to say that Andy Serkis looks like the character he’s known best for inhabiting — Gollum is one homely ex-hobbit — but the piercing blue eyes that both possess do have a habit of captivating those on whom they’re set. Take us for example, sitting down with Serkis to discuss his re-entry into J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe with Peter Jackson’s new trilogy, “The Hobbit.” The ever-charming British actor spoke to us about limbering up for motion-capture acting and the tedium of being Hollywood’s go-to man for animated roles.



After playing this physically demanding role for a six films, you must have some sort of Gollum calisthenics routine.


I have to stretch out every day now, because a lot of the roles I have played in recent times have been physical. …  My back took a hit when I did Gollum the first time around.



Well you have a lot more to go, playing the ape Caesar in the “Planet of the Apes” sequel.


That’s absolutely right, because the most exhausting part of that role was playing him as a young chimp. That was pretty tortuous. That was hard work. He had the fast energy, but [he is] low and crouched and then spinning around. I was pretty exhausted doing that.



In “The Hobbit,” Gollum has a scene with Bilbo Baggins that is said to be the most iconic of anything Tolkien wrote. Had you rehearsed this in your mind, even before you started shooting the first “Lord of the Rings” film?


Absolutely, because it’s the source, obviously, of losing the ring and from then on it becomes Gollum’s revenge. The desire to kill Baggins and get back the [ring] is what drives the entire Rings trilogy, so this is the source of it and its that which makes it, because obviously it was back-engineered. “The Lord of the Rings” was written after “The Hobbit,” so the subsequent publications of “The Hobbit” have more about the ring which Tolkien went back and wrote. The effect of the ring on Bilbo and his constant memories of it are what Tolkien went back and wrote in, because he realized how obviously the ring was going to be very important.



After playing Gollum, King Kong, Caesar and Captain Haddock in “The Adventures of Tintin,” your name has become synonymous with this motion-capture technology. Are you happy with being known firstly as a motion-capture actor?


I suppose by definition I’d rather it be that they understood what it is and then it wouldn’t be so much of a big deal. It’s a double-edged sword because it’s nice to have been a part of a pioneering technology and to align acting with that and to actually say to the acting community this technology offers you unlimited possibilities in terms of what you play –  you’re not limited by sex, by size, by anything, apart from your acting. … I suppose I’ve been given the task of explaining what it is, so I’ve become a kind of spokesperson for it, unwittingly.

Have you become more comfortable doing motion-capture roles as opposed to showing your face on camera?

No, no. In terms of acting it’s the same thing. There’s no difference. It’s technology. That’s the thing; performance capture is a technology which is another way of recording an actor’s performance. … That’s the thing that people find hard to understand — that’s it a type of acting. To play Gollum is no different to playing Ian Dury or to play King Kong is no different to playing Ian Dury. It’s all about characterization and embodying that role and finding a physicality and physical vocabulary, a mental understanding, building the emotional arc of the character and just getting into the role — and that’s the same whether you’re wearing a costume and makeup and a caliper on one leg or crawling around as Gollum.




News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.