Andy Serkis interview: ‘Andor’
“It was a gift of a role, to be honest,” reveals Andy Serkis about portraying the charismatic inmate-turned-revolutionary Kino Loy in “Andor.” For our recent webchat he adds that, “the series as a whole, I adored, but then I adored “Rogue One.” When you’re working with someone like Tony Gilroy,” he says, “he is a man who has a lot to say about the world that we live in,” adding, “Tony is one of those writers who just hits the bullseye with character. He just knows the turns and the levels and the layers.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
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“Andor” is the fourth Disney+ live-action series in the “Star Wars” franchise (after “The Mandalorian,” “The Book of Boba Fett” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi”), serving as a prequel to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016) and also by extension to the original Oscar-winning classic “Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope” (1977). Star Diego Luna reprises his “Rogue One” role as the interplanetary titular thief-turned-Rebel spy Cassian Andor and also serves as an executive producer on the series. The political sci-fi thriller focuses on Cassian’s origin story over the five years leading up to the end of “Rogue One,” when he and fellow renegade Jyn Erso (Oscar nominee Felicity Jones) spectacularly sacrificed their lives to successfully steal and transmit the top-secret Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance led by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher).
The prequel series (currently in production for its second and final season) was created by Oscar-nominated writer/director Gilroy (“Michael Clayton”), who was pivotal in getting “Rogue One” made by directing re-shoots and reworking its screenplay. Alongside Luna, its ensemble cast includes Kyle Soller, Adria Arjona, Emmy nominee Fiona Shaw (“Killing Eve,” “Fleabag”), Emmy nominee Stellan Skarsgård (“Chernobyl”), Denise Gough, Genevieve O’Reilly, Faye Marsay, Varada Sethu and Elizabeth Dulau., with Serkis joining the cast for a memorable three-episode guest arc.
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In his latest foray into the “Star Wars” universe, Serkis portrays Kino Loy, an inmate in the Narkina 5 penal colony over three episodes that culminate in the fan-favorite eighth episode of the first season (“One Way Out”), in which Cassian and Kino hatch a high-stakes plan by galvanizing his fellow men to rise up, inciting a mass escape from the impenetrable facility. “You can still delight people and entertain people, but at the same time say something quite profound with every character. There isn’t a character in the series that doesn’t in some way have real emotion, a real story to tell,” Serkis explains about developing the character so that when he meets his ultimate fate, the audience is as shell-shocked as the characters on screen. “That’s quite unique and quite rare. When we talked about it and he told me the arc and then I read the script, I was just like, ‘oh, this is something else. It’s a really beautifully drawn character, a really interesting journey,” he says. “He was so human and it was such a great thing to be able to play with him.”
Serkis is undoubtedly the most prolific performance capture actor of all time, having pioneered the craft with iconic roles like Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies, Caesar in the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy, the titular “King Kong,” and recently as the nefarious Supreme Leader Snoke in the first two films of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, “The Force Awakens” (2015) and “The Last Jedi” (2017). He is also an accomplished actor in a diverse slate of roles like Klaue in “Black Panther” (2018) and Pennyworth in “The Batman” (2022), and is also a feature director on films such as “Venom: There Will Be Carnage” (2021) and the upcoming animated “Animal Farm.”