Andy Serkis: The Biggest Movie Star You Haven’t Seen
Photo by Eric Charbonneau, WireImage.com
Serkis is one of the preeminent actors in the field of "performance capture." That's the process where an actor's movements are recorded in three dimensions and used to create the animation of a fully digital character. Serkis broke new ground when he portrayed the computer-generated Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" films, and he is taking the form to another level in the new film "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."
A native of London, Andy Serkis started his acting career on the stage. He appeared on British television throughout the 1990s, and scored the occasional film role like in Mike Leigh's Oscar-winning "Topsy-Turvy." But his career took off in a new and unexpected direction when Peter Jackson cast him in his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
Photo: New Line Cinema
By using a talented actor as the basis for a digital creation, "The Lord of the Rings" revolutionized how CG characters could be used on film. Serkis gave such a layered, moving performance many critics argued that Oscar rules should be amended to allow acting nominations for digital characters. Serkis's face wasn't entirely absent from the trilogy, though. He did appear on camera briefly in the opening of the third film as Smeagol, the same character before he was driven mad by the power of the ring.