“Are the performances worthy of awards? Do they touch an audience? Do they move them? Do they make them think or feel?” asks Andy Serkis about his pioneering work in performance capture. And during our revealing chat (watch below), he concludes: “That’s why they should be judged alongside any other form of live action acting.”
Serkis is being campaigned in supporting actor for his work as Caesar, the leader of an ape uprising, in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” a role he originated in 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” “Dawn” jumps 10 years forward, and he is now a father and husband torn between the world of humans who raised him and the apes that he now commands.
While no performance capture role has been recognized at the Oscars, Golden Globes, or SAG Awards, Serkis reaped a Critics Choice bid for “Rise.” For the actor, “It’s a very important thing for the awarding bodies to understand that it is only acting that we do. In terms of post-production, the actor’s performance begins and ends on set in any form of filmmaking or any live action performances.”
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Serkis first gained widespread acclaim in 2002 and 2003 for playing Gollum/Smeagol in the final two “Lord of the Rings” films. He was part of the Best Film Ensemble win at the SAG Awards in 2004 for “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.” His career has also brought a 2008 Globe bid for “Longford” and a 2009 Emmy nod for “Little Dorrit.”
He reprised the role of Gollum in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 2012 and has also directed second unit for Peter Jackson on those films. He will next be seen in the 2015 movies “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Star Wars: Episode VII.”
In the meantime, he is directing his own film “The Jungle Book: Origins,” which will be released in late 2016. He says that he has been “watching some incredible performances from great actors like Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, and Christian Bale, who maybe three of four years ago might not have considered taking performance capture roles. But now they’ve seen it, that it is acting and their choices are being manifested on screen.”