Performance capture artist and actor Andy Serkis may not look familiar to the average moviegoer, but his work can be seen in many popular films. He was Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and King Kong in Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” plus many more roles in a ton of different films. Now, Serkis has expanded his career from performing in front of the camera to teaming up with producer Jonathan Cavendish (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age.”) They’ve co-founded Imaginarium, a performance capture studio, which serves as a consultant on films, including the recent “Godzilla” blockbuster. Serkis went on to discuss his involvement with motion capture on the upcoming “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Star Wars: Episode VII” films. This is what he had to say during a Q&A with Variety.
You’re involved with both “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Star Wars Episode VII.”
“The Imaginarium is the performance capture consultant, and I’m playing a role (in both films). On ‘The Avengers,’ I’ve been working closely with Mark Ruffalo.”
Will we actually see your face?
“I’m not at liberty to mention. But it’s all the same to me. I’ve never drawn a distinction when playing a role, whether it be live action or performance capture. Acting is acting. It’s just basically what you wear to the set that’s different.”
Mark Ruffalo has played the Hulk before. Why does he need coaching?
“Performance capture was used on the previous “Hulk,” but not to the same extent Mark is using it now. There are tools and ways of working with an actor that makes them feel that they own the character. And a character the size of the Hulk needs ownership, which Mark has now.”
What’s more gratifying for you, playing these parts yourself or seeing performance capture more widely adopted by others?
“The latter, definitely.”
Are there any great movie monster roles you want to take on?
“I’ve always been a huge admirer of Charles Laughton’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, not that he’s a big monster really, but that is absolutely a role I might like to play.”