Andy Serkis: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked
1. Gollum - The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (2001-03) & The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
I last talked about The Lord of the Rings in my article on Christopher Lee back in December, in which I commented that he was "simply born to play the part" of Saruman. Obviously it's now very easy to say the same of Andy Serkis as Gollum, but back in the 1990s when the film was being developed, it was still very hard to believe that digital effects could believably interact with real people. The fact that motion capture has become such an integral part of modern special effects is largely down to Serkis' performance, which is arguably the best or most consistent aspect of the entire trilogy. While The Lord of the Rings is nominally the story of Frodo and Sam's journey to Mordor, it could equally be argued that Gollum is the central character. His tragic story arc is a harbinger of what Frodo could become if he does not destroy the One Ring; Smeagol was once a hobbit before the Ring turned him into an emaciated, self-loathing recluse. Gollum's constant, obsessive search for the Ring conveys the novel's underlying themes about temptation and how material desires can corrupt us, turning us into a shadow of our former selves. Serkis' performance as Gollum is the one aspect that could have made or broken the entire trilogy; if we didn't believe in the character or the way in which he was presented, the scenes with Frodo and Sam would have dragged and had a lot less tension. Fortunately, Serkis does brilliantly, relishing in the physicality of the role and capturing the desperation of the character in every line of his dialogue. Serkis apparently based the voice of Gollum on the sound that his cats made when coughing up furballs. If that's true, the world of cinema is eternally grateful to those cats, for helping to create what remains his finest performance. Having been mesmerised by Serkis' work both in and out of the mo-cap suit, now let's turn our attention to five occasions when he wasn't so eye-catching...
Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast (http://www.lionheartradio.com/ and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter (http://www.phonic.fm/). Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.