Monday, August 1, 2011

Andy Serkis, the great ape


More Rise of the Planet of the Apes Videos

Just as man raised Caesar the chimpanzee in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," there is a man behind the animal. That man is motion-capture superstar Andy Serkis.

Serkis has been the human force behind such characters as Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the soon-to-be-filmed "The Hobbit." He has also played cinema's other ultimate primate, King Kong. With those films in his pocket, it's not surprising that many people don't know he's a real person. So we're going to talk about a few of his other film credits, including some in the horror genre.







Serkis stars with Simon Pegg in the new John Landis ("An American Werewolf in London") film "Burke and Hare." The film turns the story of two grave robbers into a comedy. Personally, I hope the film gets a wide release. With Landis and Pegg on the bill to drive box office, it could be the opportunity Serkis needs to show people he isn't just a motion-capture actor. OK, he's goofy-looking and maybe that's kept him from breaking through in the traditional way. You know who else was goofy-looking? Humphrey Bogart.



Serkis was part of an amazing ensemble in the 2002 World War I horror film "Deathwatch." He plays Private Quinn, a member of a squad of british soldiers caught in the trenches. He has an amazing fight scene that, according to IMDB trivia, took four days to film. "Deathwatch" is an atmospheric film that not only captures the horror of war, but is also a ghost story. Don't worry, even if I tell you now that the entire squad is already dead, it won't matter. If you watch it, you'll get so sucked in, you won't even remember the twist until it hits you.

Serkis made appearances as record producer Martin Hannett in "24 Hour Party People" (2002), Alley in Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige" (2006) and Capricorn, the villain of "Inkheart" (2008). In other words, his body of live work far outweighs his motion-capture work. Serkis is a vastly underrated actor worthy of your attention.

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