Thursday, September 1, 2011

Andy Serkis: The Man, the Myth, the Legend

Andy Serkis in Rise of the Planet of the Apes
While sitting in the theatre and watching one of the two worthwhile films released in August, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the performance that I noticed most was Andy Serkis.  Serkis played Caesar the chimpanzee that James Franco's character adopts in order to help cure his father's Alzheimer's disease.  In the film Serkis takes Caesar from sheltered chimp to an enraged almost human creature.  Serkis has been in other films where we get to him like 13 Going on 30,  and The Prestige, but most people would know him from his work where we never get to see him.

Serkis is most famous for his work as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  This role should have potentially landed him an Academy Award nomination for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.  Even though Serkis himself is clouded in CGI his acting is beyond stellar; he proves that even with more and more CGI being used that the actor is still important.  Serkis also played Kong in Peter Jackson's adaptation of King Kong (2005); he brought humanity to the "beast."

When I watched him on screen as Gollum, Kong, and Caesar I was amazed at the humanity he gave to each of these characters.  Gollum is the closest thing he has played in this form that was somewhat human, and even then he adds nuances to the character development.  Playing an animal or Gollum and giving them human characteristics has to be a challenge, but Serkis appears to be up to the challenge and tackles these characters with finesse.  Every time I watch any of the Lord of the Rings films I am blown away by how Gollum was portrayed, and how it seems as though no one but Serkis could have done played that role.

Serkis will of course reprise his role in both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.  He will also be lending his voice to the animated film directed by Steven Spielberg The Adventures of Tin Tin.  I hope in the near future he is rewarded for immense talent.  I doubt the Oscars will pay attention to his work as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  Just like with Gollum the Academy does not understand this evolution of acting.  Serkis brings things to a new level, and I am excited to see where he goes next.

No comments: