Andy Serkis is back as Gollum, so accept no imitations
December 6, 2012 7:46PM
Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum, arrives at the "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" world premiere at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand,Nov. 28, 2012. | Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
Updated: January 10, 2013 6:18AM
NEW YORK — Andy Serkis’ eyes go wide when he’s asked what’s different about Gollum in “The Hobbit.” But it’s not those XL baby blues from the big screen.
“In ‘The Hobbit,’ the Gollum is only 540 years old instead of 600 years old from ‘Lord of the Rings,’ ” jokes Serkis. “He’s much hotter. He’ll have a huge fan base with the girls.”
Serkis, 48 and a native of West London, is reprising his role from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which won 11 Oscars.
“The only weird thing about getting back into Gollum was that this character has been absorbed by the public consciousness,” he says. “There was a sense of, ‘Am I doing an impersonation of a character I played 12 years ago?’ I had to be sure that this was my version.”
Compared to the earlier movie, “The Hobbit” was a much easier project for Serkis. “When we did ‘Lord of the Rings,’ I did every scene with Elijah Wood, and then came back later to film the Gollum,” he says of his green-screen work.
The screen is now gone.
“What he did in ‘Rings’ wasn’t captured,” says director Peter Jackson. “He had to come back and re-create that later for those movies. This time around, we recorded him in motion capture. It’s a much more organic process.
“The muscles on Gollum’s face are much more detailed. All the nuances of what Andy does as an actor are captured. The technical side is quite advanced.”
Originally, the role of Gollum in “The Hobbit” wasn’t so big.
“It went from being a two-week job to a year and a half,” Serkis says. “Of course, I was totally thrilled.”
The show-stopper of “The Hobbit” is a close encounter of a Gollum kind in a cave.
“We played our scene out and it was like doing theater. The scene lasted for 12 minutes,” Serkis says.
With another three-film franchise to complete, he says, “it’s like being pushed out to sea in a rocky boat and seeing a churning sea out in front of you for a long, long time. You can’t get off the boat.”
Does he think “The Hobbit” warrants three films?
“It definitely warrants three films. These films are layered with incredible detailed. The dwarves in the book are thinly sketched. You will get to know every single dwarf throughout this journey, and you will care about how they cope with the world,” he says. “To condense it into two films is impossible.”
Serkis will also resume his role of Caesar in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” due in 2014. It’s a popular role, but not his most popular.
One wonders: How many times in Serkis’ everyday life does someone come up and say “my precious” to him.
“Oh, 432 times,” he jokes. “It’s a good amount every single day, but the last time I counted it was about 432.”
Big Picture News Inc.