Andy Serkis has been making headlines lately because of his recent motion-capture performances in The Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Adventures of Tintin. In the first, he plays Caesar, who is manifested onscreen as a believable, real-as-life ape, and in the second, he plays Captain Haddock, who in the film is portrayed in “a painterly, animated fashion.”
The Hollywood Reporter sat down with Serkis to talk about his views on the motion-capture technology that was used to play these roles and the many other roles he has become famous for. Speaking of The Adventures of Tintin and whether it should be nominated in the animation category, Serkis said, “The category of animation should be under review because Tintin is entirely derived from actors’ performances created in a conventional live-action way.” According to him, this category is not as black-and-white as it once appeared, and people should “think out of the box and start to embrace all these different methods and mediums.”
And with all of the recent Oscar buzz, what does he think of adding a motion-capture category for acting? He said, “It should be in the [regular] acting category because the acting part of the process is entirely the same.” Serkis said that he uses the same methods as an actor in a live-action film as he does with a motion-capture project. “You’re living and breathing and making decisions for that character from page 1 to page 120, the whole emotional arc,” he explained.
There have been numerous advancements since he first played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings. “The technology has come to the point where we could shoot Gollum and the hobbits in the same moment,” he said. “In the original, I’d have to shoot against empty plates that were shot on the day, then repeat the process on the performance-capture stage, sometimes months later. Now we get it in one hit, so it’s much more actor- and director-friendly.”