Andy Serkis’ career has been defined by his decision to embrace motion capture technology. Over the years he used this process to capture his performance as Gollum in “The Hobbit” and “Lord Of The Rings” films, Caesar in the “Planet Of The Apes” trilogy, and now Leader Snoke in the “Star Wars” franchise, while he even founded the production company The Imaginarium that focuses on performance capture, too.
I recently had the chance to sit down and talk to Andy Serkis about his directorial debut “Breathe,” but our conversation soon turned to his penchant for using performance capture. The 53-year-old took this opportunity to wax lyrical about the endless possibilities that the technology throws up, even going as far as to call it the “greatest actor’s tool of the 21st Century” and insist it is the reason “typecasting is over.”
“What I love about performance capture is, I don’t see it as a challenge. I see it as this incredible tool that allows you to become anything. It really is, I see it as the greatest actor’s tool of the 21st Century, and this kind of egalitarian methodology that allows you to play anything, regardless of how tall or short you are, fat or thin, or what color or what sex you are. You can absolutely embody any character.”
“The epiphany for me was, after working on ‘Lord Of The Rings’ and going back to my normal life as an actor, and then being asked to play King Kong. I just thought, ‘Hang on a minute. I’ve just been playing this small Hobbit and now I am being asked to play a 25-foot gorilla. That’s it. Typecasting is over.’ Even more so now because storytelling is opening up in so many different areas.”
Andy Serkis’ use of performance capture technology will reach its zenith when “Jungle Book” is released on October 19, 2018, as it will feature motion capture performances from Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hollander, Cate Blanchett, Peter Mullan, Naomie Harris, Jack Reynor, Eddie Marsan, and, of course, Serkis himself.