Happy Birthday Andy Serkis!

English actor Andy Serkis turns 47 today. Best known for playing the computer-generated character Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he was easily the hardest working actor on the set due to the complexity of the creative process of bringing Gollum to the screen.

According to IMDb, Serkis spent almost two years in New Zealand and away from his family, and much of 2002 and 2003 in post-production studios for large periods of time. Before Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana did in Avatar, Serkis was already a master in motion-capture acting, which I’d imagine is just as tough, if not tougher, than standard live-action acting.

I think Gollum is easily the most iconic character in the LOTR trilogy, so all the recognition Serkis received for his groundbreaking work in that franchise is very well deserved! Check out this clip of the actor in the flesh versus his computer generated (roto-animated) version as Gollum:

It’s amazing how expressive he is, that’s definitely an art in itself. He used the same art form for his performance as Kong, once again working with Peter Jackson in King Kong, two years after The Return of the King was released. He’s not limited to only doing CGI characters though, he’s had supporting roles in 13 Going on 30, The Prestige, Inkheart, Burke & Hare, and the recently-released trailer Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Not to mention his lead role in the biopic of punk-rock star Ian Dury, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, where he nabbed Best Actor BAFTA award. I’m highly anticipating two of his upcoming movies, one is The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn that’ll be released on December 23 where he’ll play Captain Haddock. The other is The Hobbit coming in 2012. Some of you’ve probably seen Jackson’s first video journal from the set, but in case you haven’t, here it is below:

Man, as if I weren’t excited enough about this movie… this video blog got me practically drooling for The Hobbit! You can see Serkis on the make-up chair somewhere in the clip and of course, the soon-will-be-the-hunkiest dwarf ever Richard Armitage (yes Mr Thornton himself!) introducing himself to the cast and crew [sigh] Oh, and I also found this fan-made trailer on YouTube that I thought was really well-done:

Well, let’s all wish Mr. Serkis a very happy birthday! Now, are you excited about The Hobbit and Tintin movie?

23 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Andy Serkis!

  1. I’m going to pretend that somewhere today, Andy Serkis was standing over a birthday cake, muttering, “My preeeecious, I wants it. I needs it. I must have the cake!”

  2. Paula

    one of THE funniest things i ever heard was Andy Serkis doing the traffic in the Gollum voice on a UK radio show…i haven’t been able to find it again online anywhere. “there’s a jam up precious”

      1. Paula

        Ruth, i managed to record the traffic report, the file is about 5-1/2 Mb. how can i get it to you? i don’t have a blog or tumblr…please advise 🙂

  3. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this film Ruth… oh yes I can! I am really excited about this film Ruth 🙂 Like, seriously excited. Remember when the extended edition of LOTR came out? I was in UNI, I spent a chucnk of one of my loan installments on all three, they are just a stunning work of art, and I mean the extended box set, not just the films, which I think benefit from the added scenes and keep the films more closely aligned to the books, which I loved.

    I sat up one night in my room at the student halls, all by myself, and watched full extended edition of Fellowship, followed by the full 6 hours of extra features. It was a defining point in my cinematic career. Just wish I didn’t have to wait until 2012 to see The Hobbit, hope the Mayan prediction doesn’t come true between then and now! I used to fall asleep to the Hobbit audio books every night, before I moved out of my parents house. I’m hoping my wife will lift her ban on audio-books at night 🙂

    1. Hope it’s ok to reply to myself 🙂 Just have to add that my wife, in her defence, did read the Hobbit to me until I fell asleep. Just had to let that be known. Got told off a bit 🙂

    2. I love your enthusiasm Ronan… glad we share the love for this Tolkien masterpiece works. Now that is a true passion when you had to set aside your university loan to get ’em… I’m sure they’re well worth it! I also LOVE the box that they came with, sooo artistic and perfectly captures the look of the films, y’know.

      I had been meaning to do a LOTR marathon myself, believe it or not I haven’t got time to see all of the special features.

      Btw, I’ve been wanting to ask you, is your wife Irina? I know she’s of Russian descent. That’s so cool that she read the Hobbit to you… what a lovely wife she is 😀

  4. Happy B-day to our dear Gollum, I hope he will do some role so that we will stop remembering him only as Gollum 🙂

    I want to see THE HOBBIT, but I have a total lack of interest in TINTIN. Even though the premiere is close, we really haven’t seen much of it, and there’s almost no buzz around it. I feel it will be a flop like KING KONG was.

    1. Well I don’t only remember him as Gollum but it is such an iconic performance. I’m sure he doesn’t mind though. Yeah, I’m a bit worried about Tintin, it’ll be a tough sell in the US for sure but I’m hoping there’ll be enough interest elsewhere in the world that they’d make more Tintin movies. Of course it remains to be seen whether it would actually look good and translate well to screen, I’m cautiously optimistic though as I adore that character.

      Did you like King Kong, Dezzy? I quite enjoy that one actually, too bad it bombed.

      1. I didn’t enjoy KING KONG, I have to admit that while I adored LOTR, I hated all other of Jackson’s films, KONG especially with the really ill-chosen cast of mediocre actors and chaotic plot and visionless direction. That’s why I’m afraid about THE HOBBIT too, will he be able to make another miracle or not?

  5. dum di dum…. Day late but I am here!!!!

    Happy Birthday to Mr Serkis!

    What a lovely post to honour a great man, truly humble and a Gent in every way.

    Bring on the Hobbit!! I can’t wait to see it.

    Didn’t someone already make a film or cartoon of it? I am sure I have seen one. It was rubbish anyway what ever it was.


    1. Hi Custard, glad to see you, as always. I actually wanted to post something on The Hobbit and when I found out about Serkis’ birthday, I just had to dedicate it to him. He’s kind of the unsung hero of the LOTR trilogy, people remember Gollum but not realize he’s the one that made that character came to life.

      I think there is a cartoon version but nah, I’d rather see Peter Jackson’s version. Did you check out the video journal? Yes, bring it on is right!!

  6. There and back again indeed. There’s something really warm and comfortable and inviting about the video blog, which frankly doesn’t show off all that much and doesn’t inform us of all that much but still feels like a welcome introduction to the new film and a suitable teaser nonetheless. Amazing how something so minimal can ratchet up my excitement for the movie so much.

    1. You’re absolutely right, there’s not much in the videolog that we haven’t seen but the way it was shot is so warm and welcoming, it’s as if we’re ‘included’ in the franchise family. Even the way the actors introduce themselves feel so informal and fun. Man I’d work for free for this project if I could!! 😀 Thanks for the comment, Andrew.

      1. “Included in the family” is spot-on accurate. I feel like I’m part of this project despite being all the way across the world from where it’s happening.

        I think that’s part of the magic P.J. wields.

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