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Andy Serkis Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (19) | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 20 April 1964Ruislip, London, England, UK
Birth NameAndrew Clement G. Serkis
Nickname Gollum
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

He was born Andy Serkis on April 20, 1964, in Ruislip Manor, West London, England. He has three sisters and a brother. His father, an ethnic Armenian, named Serkissian, was a Medical Doctor working abroad, in Iraq, and the Serkis family spent a lot of time traveling around the Middle East. For the first ten years of his life, Andy Serkis used to go backwards and forwards between Baghdad and London. His mother was busy working as a special education teacher of handicapped children, so Andy and his four siblings were raised with au pairs in the house. Young Andy Serkis wanted to be an artist; he was fond of painting and drawing, and visualized himself working behind the scenes in productions. He attended St. Benedict's School, a Roman Catholic School for boys at the Benedictine Abbey in London. Serkis studied visual arts at Lancaster University in the north-west of England. There, he became involved in mechanical aspects of the theatre and did stage design and set building for theatrical productions. Then, Serkis was asked to play a role in a student production, and made his stage debut in Barrie Keeffe's play, "Gotcha"; thereafter, he switched from stage design to acting, which was a real calling that transformed his life.

Instead of going to an acting college, Serkis, in 1985, began his professional acting career at the Duke's Playhouse in Lancaster, where he was given an Equity card and performed in fourteen plays, one after another, as an apprentice of Jonathan Petherbridge. After that, he worked in touring theatre companies, doing it for no money, fueled by a sense of enthusiasm, moving to a new town every week. He has thus appeared in a host of popular plays and on almost every renowned British stage. In 1989, he appeared in a stage production of William Shakespeare's "Macbeth", so beginning his long association with the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, where he would return many times, to appear in "She Stoops to Conquer", "Your Home in the West" and the "True Nature of Love", among other plays. In the 1990s, Serkis began to make his mark on the London stage, appearing at the Royal Court Theatre as "The Fool" in "King Lear", making his interpretation of "The Fool" as the woman that "Lear", a widower, could relate to - a man, in drag, as a Victorian musician. He also appeared as "Potts" in the hit play, "Mojo", playing in front of full houses and earning huge critical success. In 1987, Serkis made his debut on television, and he acted in several major British TV miniseries throughout the 1990s.

In 1999, Andy Serkis landed the prize role of "Gollum" in Peter Jackson's epic film trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's saga, "The Lord of the Rings". He spent four years in the part and received awards and nominations for his performance as "Gollum", a computer-generated character in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), which won 11 Oscars. "Gollum" was the collaborative team's effort around Serkis's work in performance capture - an art form based on CGI-assisted acting. Serkis's work was an interactive performance in a skin-tight CGI suit with markers allowing cameras to track and register 3D position for each marker. Serkis' every nuance was picked up by several cameras positioned at precisely calculated angles to allow for the software to see enough information to process the image. The images of Serkis' performances were translated into the digital format by animators at Weta Digital studio in New Zealand. There, his image was key-frame animated and then edited into the movie, Serkis did have one scene in "The Return of the King" showing how he originally had the ring, killing another hobbit to posses it after they found it during a fishing trip. He drew from his three cats clearing fur balls out of their throats to develop the constricted voice he produced for "Gollum" and "Sméagol", and it was also enhanced by sound editing in post-production.

Serkis spent almost two years in New Zealand and away from his family, and much of 2002 and 2003 in post-production studios for large periods of time, due to complexity of the creative process of bringing the character of "Gollum" to the screen. Serkis had to shoot two versions for every scene; one version was with him on camera, acting with (chiefly) Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, which served both to show Wood and Astin the moves so that they could precisely interact with the movements of "Gollum", and to provide the CGI artists the subtleties of Gollum's physical movements and facial expressions for their manual finishing of the animated images. In the other version, he'd do the voice off-camera, as Wood and Astin repeated their movements as though "Gollum" were there with them; that take would be the basis for inserting the CGI Gollum used in the released movie. In post-production, Serkis was doing motion-capture wearing a skintight motion capture suit with CGI gear while acting as a virtual puppeteer redoing every single scene in the studio. Additional CGI rotomation was done by animators using the human eye instead of the computer to capture the subtleties of Serkis' performance. Serkis also used this art form in his performance as "Kong" in King Kong (2005), which won him a Toronto Film Critics Association Award (2005) for his unprecedented work helping to realize the main character in "King Kong", and a Visual Effects Society Award (2006) for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture.

Apart from his line of CGI-driven characters, Serkis continued with traditional acting in several leading and supporting roles, such as his appearances as "Richard Kneeland" opposite Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30 (2004), and "Alley" opposite David Bowie in The Prestige (2006), among other film performances. On television, he starred as 'Vincent Van Gogh' in the sixth episode of Simon Schama's Power of Art (2006), the BBC2 series about artists. Serkis is billed as "Capricorn" in the upcoming adventure film, Inkheart (2008). At the same time, he continued the development of performance capture while expanding his career into computer games. He starred as "King Bothan" in the martial arts drama, Heavenly Sword (2007), a Playstation 3 title, for which he provided a basis for his in-game face and also acts as a dramatic director on the project.

Andy Serkis married actress and singer Lorraine Ashbourne, and the couple have three children: daughter Ruby Serkis (born in 1998), and two sons Sonny Serkis (born in 2000) and Louis George Serkis (born on 19 June 2004). Away from acting, Andy Serkis is an accomplished amateur painter. Since his school years at Lancaster, being so close to the Lake District, Serkis developed his other passion in life: mountaineering. He is pescetarian. Serkis has been active in charitable causes, such as The Hope Foundation, which provides essential life-saving medical aid for children suffering from Leukemia and children from countries devastated by war. In October 2006, he was a presenter at the first annual British Academy Video Games Awards at the Roundhouse, London. Andy Serkis lives with his family in North London, England.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (1)

Lorraine Ashbourne (22 July 2002 - present) (3 children)

Trade Mark (5)

Turquoise eyes
Known for his frequent motion-capture performances
Unkempt hair
Known for his expressive facial movements with CGI characters
Often cast by Peter Jackson

Trivia (19)

His father was a doctor in Iraq. His mother taught handicapped children.
Has three children, two sons and a daughter.
Was required to don a wetsuit and flail around in literally freezing water during re-shoots for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).
He went to St Benedict's School, London, UK.
Is a vegetarian.
Owns one of two prop rings used in "Lord of the Rings." The other went to Elijah Wood, who played Frodo Baggins.
Although he was critically acclaimed for the performances, he was ruled ineligible for Best Supporting Actor nominations at the 2003, 2004 and 2012 Academy Awards because his characters Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) were computer generated.
September 2004 - Attended the Armaggeddon Pulp Culture Expo Convention in Wellington, New Zealand as a Lord of the Rings guest
Based the voice of Gollum on the sounds his cats made while coughing up furballs.
His last day of filming on the Lord of the Rings trilogy was only a few weeks before the theatrical release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). On the carpet of Peter Jackson's living room, they filmed the facial reaction of Smeagol/Gollum when he realizes Frodo intends to destroy the ring. The resulting video was e-mailed to Weta Digital so the animators could replicate the shot with the CGI character.
His family name, Serkis, is of Armenian descent like Mikhail Vartanov's and Sergei Parajanov's but originally would have been Sarkisian, Vartaniantz and Parajanian (respectively)
Uses his "Gollum" voice on his children, for fun and/or when they misbehave.
Children: Sonny, Ruby and Louis George (born 19th June 2004).
Has three sisters and a brother.
His performance as Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy is ranked #10 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Completing and Directing Motion Capture for Playstation 3's game 'Heavenly Sword' at Weta Digital in Wellington, New Zealand. Plays the Character of 'King' in the game.
Has twice played computer-generated apes: in "King Kong" (as the giant title character) and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (as Caesar, the chimpanzee who leads the rebellion).
Has thrice co-starred with Jamie Bell: Deathwatch (2002), King Kong (2005) and The Adventures of Tintin (2011). Of these, "Deathwatch" is the only one in which Serkis plays only a live-action character.
His father was a gynaecologist who opened a hospital in Baghdad and was briefly imprisoned under Saddam Hussein's regime.

Personal Quotes (6)

[on playing Gollum in Lord of the Rings:] "Everyone has their own interpretation of what he is, what he looks like and how he sounds. So it was up to me to just trust my own instincts."
"We didn't want to anthropomorphize him to the point where we were explaining every single little gesture. Gorillas, both in captivity and the wild, have an enigmatic quality - a sense of disconnect, of otherness" - on his title character in King Kong (2005).
I do feel incredibly liberated when I'm inside another's skin, basically, and so method does afford you that, hugely.
I've always been really in touch with my primal instincts. In my profession you have to be. You have to be open to going where your emotions take you. Acting is a sort of pressure cooker that allows the fizz to come out the top. God knows what I'd be like if I didn't have that. Even more animal, perhaps.
[on learning at 'ape school' how to walk and move like a simian, playing Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)] When you are watching yourself as an actor who has played a computer-generated role [King Kong], obviously you are looking to see if your performance has fully manifested itself on the screen, and if it contains all the original intention that was put there. And what I've seen,so far, has delighted me, because I know Rupert [Wyatt] has been devoted to try and push the emotional core of all the performances right through the post-production phase.
[ on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)] Trying to get back into the head of "Gollum", it felt like kinda doing an impersonation if a character I had played. It was weird 'cause it was like having to re-own it again.

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