Does Gollum sound familiar to you? King Kong? Supreme Leader Snoke?

How about Andy Serkis?

The real Gollum. Credit: Andy Serkis Facebook Page

The real Gollum. Credit: Andy Serkis Facebook Page

Well, his name should ring a bell, because he’s the motion capture performer for all of these roles. In fact, many of the CGI characters we’re familiar with today owe their memorable performances to Andy Serkis. His body of work is so prolific that he’s even been critically acclaimed for it, and there have been calls for him to be nominated for an Oscar for his motion capture work, although he has earned a Golden Globe nomination for his acting work before.

Now that you know what he looks like, here are six roles he’s played that will show you just how versatile he is in this field.

 

1. Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Andy Serkis doing motion capture for Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Credit: IGN Facebook Page

Andy Serkis doing motion capture for Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Credit: IGN Facebook Page

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it was revealed that Kylo Ren reports to an older, nastier, and more powerful Sith Lord – Supreme Leader Snoke. He’s clearly a CGI character, since his face is much longer, whiter, and more gaunt than any normal person could hope to be.

He’s also played by Andy Serkis. Yes, the character who could turn out to be the Emperor Palpatine of the new Star Wars trilogy is played by Andy Serkis (who also reprises the role for Star Wars: The Last Jedi). If you remember, Emperor Palpatine was played by Ian McDiarmid, an award-winning British actor who took on the role in both the classic trilogy and the prequels.

This means that Andy Serkis’ motion capture work is akin to the performances of an acclaimed stage performer.

 

2. Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Gollum/Smeagol/Andy/Serkis in The Lord of the Rings. Credit: You, Me & Cinema Facebook Page

Gollum/Smeagol/Andy Serkis in The Lord of the Rings. Credit: You, Me & Cinema Facebook Page

But what propelled Andy Serkis to fame was his role as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. That’s right, a trilogy of only three movies – this was before everybody started splitting the last instalments of trilogies into as many parts as possible.

Who could forget that gnarled creature’s perverted lust for the One Ring? Or his eerie conversations between the two parts of his personality, Smeagol and Gollum? That’s due largely to Andy Serkis’ nervous twitchiness, and the expressions he lent to the role. If Gollum still gives you nightmares, it’s thanks to Andy Serkis.

 

3. King Kong in 2005’s King Kong

Andy Serkis is King Kong. Credit: King Kong: 8th Wonder of the World Facebook Page

Andy Serkis is King Kong. Credit: King Kong: 8th Wonder of the World Facebook Page

Not all of Andy Serkis’ characters are pale, gaunt characters. He also plays apes, like he did in 2005’s King Kong.

After working with director Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings, the duo collaborated for King Kong, where Andy Serkis took on motion capture work for the title character. So instead of playing a puny little Hobbit (Gollum used to be a Hobbit before the One Ring corrupted him, remember?), he was now playing this gargantuan ape stomping all over New York.

 

4. Baloo in 2018’s Jungle Book

Andy Serkis is Baloo in the upcoming Jungle Book movie. Credit: Fan Actu Facebook Page

Andy Serkis is Baloo in the upcoming Jungle Book movie. Credit: Fan Actu Facebook Page

He’s also playing Baloo in next year’s Jungle Book, which is, admittedly, a surprising departure from his usual roles. After all, Baloo is this big friendly lug that you just want to hug, because he’s got this sleepy mug and the hide of a coarse black rug (try rapping that last sentence out loud).

What’s pretty amazing is that Andy Serkis isn’t just starring in Jungle Book – he’s also directing it! Yes, Andy Serkis will be on both sides of the camera for Jungle Book. It’s not his first turn as a director though – he’s also directed Breathe, an upcoming biographical drama starring Andrew Garfield.

 

5. Captain Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Steven Spielberg directs Andy Serkis' performance of Captain Haddock in : The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Credit: Peter Jackson Facebook Page/DW Studios L.L.C.

Steven Spielberg directs Andy Serkis’ performance of Captain Haddock in : The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Credit: Peter Jackson Facebook Page/DW Studios L.L.C.

In case you thought that Andy Serkis only plays monsters or animals, here’s a famous human role that you may not have realised he was in. Andy Serkis took on the role of Captain Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, bringing that classic character to life with his motion capture work.

The curmudgeonly old captain was animated thanks to the efforts of Andy Serkis, who provided the motion capture work for that role. And Captain Haddock is a pretty normal as far as humans come, right? So yes, Andy Serkis isn’t just good at playing nightmarish creatures. He’s also great at playing his own species.

 

6. Caesar in the Planet of the Apes trilogy

The evolution of Caesar (Andy Serkis) over the Planet of the Apes films. Credit: Nerd Lowdown Facebook Page

The evolution of Caesar (Andy Serkis) over the Planet of the Apes films. Credit: Nerd Lowdown Facebook Page

Andy Serkis really has thing for bears and apes though, since one of his most famous roles to date is Caesar, the angsty ape in the Planet of the Apes trilogy. If you’re wondering why Caesar has such human expressions, it’s because he’s literally played by a human. A human named Andy Serkis.

And as the picture above has pointed out, Caesar is starting to look more and more like Andy Serkis with each movie.

War for the Planet of the Apes. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

War for the Planet of the Apes. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Catch Andy Serkis’ performance as Caesar in War for the Planet of the Apes! In the third instalment of the series, humans and apes struggle for dominance over a broken planet. But Caesar doesn’t just have to contend with the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), the leader of the humans – he also has to deal with the traitorous Red (Ty Olsson), a gorilla who has defected to the humans.

Will Caesar lead the apes to victory? Will we humans recapture our planet?

Who will you root for in the War for the Planet of the Apes?

 

Credits: Andy Serkis Facebook PageIGN Facebook Page, You, Me & Cinema Facebook Page, King Kong: 8th Wonder of the World Facebook Page, Fan Actu Facebook Page, Peter Jackson Facebook Page/DW Studios L.L.C., Nerd Lowdown Facebook Page, Golden Village Cinemas