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Underappreciated Actors... Andy Serkis

Probably best known for his defining role as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) and The Hobbit (2012-2014) franchises, Andy Serkis is one of those versatile actors that everyone knows but not to the fullest extent. He has become synonymous with motion-capture animation as he adapted to a new style of movie making. He is also becoming very well known as a director, having been second unit director in The Hobbit and going on to create his own production company, The Imaginarium.

While Gollum is probably Serkis' most iconic role, it can't be far ahead of Caesar in The Planet of the Apes reboot series (2011-2017). The thing that makes Serkis stand out as such a unique individual in these motion-capture roles is his attention to details that make the movements and characters so special. His dedication, especially to Gollum, completely pulls you away from the fact that these are animated individuals.

As Ian Dury in 2010's Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Another aspect of Andy Serkis I find fantastic is his range of accents. Much like Daniel Radcliffe, Serkis has not shied away from putting on broad accents in roles. He is South African in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) as Ulysses Klaue, a Scotsman in The Adventures of Tintin (2011) as Captain Haddock, and as West Londoner Ian Dury in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010). Not to mention his American accents that pop up in countless other roles.

In 2011, Andy Serkis co-founded The Imaginarium, a production studio that focuses "on the invention of believable, emotionally engaging digital characters using performance capture technology". The studio has been involved in huge productions including Marvel, Star Wars and Planet of the Apes and their work is not going to slow down.

Mr. Alley

Serkis' live-action, human acting roles are just as brilliant. As Capricorn in Inkheart (2008), Andy's villainous streak shines and he steals the show in a mediocre piece (along with Helen Mirren). He also got to work alongside Hugh Jackman and David Bowie in The Prestige (2006) as Mr. Alley, the assistant to Bowie's role as Nikolas Tesla. He is quirky, eccentric and charismatic and I loved it.

You can't miss a film with Andy in it. As flexible as he is, you know he is there. He steals the show, outshines the main stars if he is supporting and is taking the industry in a new direction. I believe he will win more awards as the industry develops, but I also feel he deserves more acting awards than he has received already.

Gollum is my picture of Dorian Gray. He will be with me for the rest of life, and I will grow to look more like him as I get older.

Other Selected Filmography

Prince of Jutland (1994) - First film.

Topsy-Turvy (1999) - as The Mikado's choreographer, John D'Auban.

King Kong (2005) - Kong, in motion capture.

Brighton Rock (2010) - as Mr Colleoni.

Arthur Christmas (2011) - Voice of the General Elf

The Batman (2022) - as Alfred Pennyworth

Andy raised over £283,000 for charity reading "The Hobbit" on a live stream during the Coronavirus lockdown

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