Well here’s something you don’t hear everyday. Actor Andy Serkis, who served as the visual map and voice for Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has just announced Peter Jackson asked him to serve as the second-until director on both of The Hobbit films.
Serkis said it was a fantastic surprise when Jackson emailed him out of the blue. “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.”
IMDB.com lists the actor as having acted as a second unit director just once before, on the video game Heavenly Sword, but even that is sublisted as “dramatic director.” Though Serkis is named as a director on another project called Freezing Time, listed as announced.
Serkis told the website his directing duties would go beyond performance capture. “It is wide ranging and encompasses a lot of directing aspects of filmmaking and story. Yes, there is some performance capture, but I will be very much on the live action sets and locations helping Peter to tell the story,” he said. In the same way Lord of the Rings was an interpretation of the book, The Hobbit is being treated the same way,” Serkis said. “It will be faithfully represented with a fresh interpretation.”
“The learning curve is The Hobbit is being shot in 3D,” he added, noting that the 3D would be used “dramatically, to give a point of view.” Or, to make extra money, in this authors opinion.
Serkis just completed his role in the film which is still shooting currently in New Zealand. “He is very much a Gollum that people will recognize,” Serkis said, also adding that the character would be seen in his “truest form.” “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.”
THR also mentioned Serkis has two more motion capture roles set for the near future. He will play Caesar in the Planet of the Apes prequel Rise of the Apes and Captain Haddock in The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn.