The Dark Side of Andy Serkis

Andy Serkis is one hell of an actor.  He is probably the most accomplished and fortunate working in the business today regarding motion capture.  Not only has Andy Serkis been in one of the biggest and most successful franchises in films, but he is known as the original tool and poster child for motion capture acting.  Serkis was born in  Ruislip Manor in Middlesex London.  His mother was an English teacher who taught disabled children, while his father was a gynaecologist.  Serkis was schooled at St. Benedict’s school in Ealing and then later studied the Visual Arts at Lancaster University.  He also studied theater which he was quite fond of.  He performed in a few plays to which he received critical acclaim.  Serkis was really into comedy and frequently performed shows where he would experiment doing various voices of celebrities and some that were completely made up.  His comedy and humor also reflected in his acting as he performed in various Shakespearean plays, to which he also received acclaim.

Serkis acted in minor television shows before being discovered by Peter Jackson, the director of the “Lord of the Rings Trilogy.”  Jackson knew he found the right person to play Smeagol/Gollum for the “Lord of the Rings” films.  With Gollum, he was to be the first fully realised motion capture character ever put on film, and Andy’s charisma and odd talent of providing strange voices is what made Gollum such a unique and beloved villain for the movies.  Andy and Jackson worked tirelessly on the technology that created Gollum and Serkis’ acting helped pave the way for future motion capture characters in films.

After the enormous success of “The Lord of the Rings,” Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis teamed up for “King Kong,” in which Andy had a starring role as the cook, while also doing the motion capture for King Kong to great effect.  Jackson and Serkis worked yet again with Steven Spielberg on the “Adventures of Tin Tin” which pushed the boundaries of motion capture, creating completely animated characters with a comic book-effect that made the film look like it came directly from the comic pages.  Of course Andy’s biggest success compared to “Lord of the Rings” came when they announced a new “Planet of the Apes” franchise.  Andy would be motion capturing the part of Caesar, the King of the Apes for all of the subsequent movies and his work so far on two of them have been nothing short of incredible.  He is so real, so believable as Caesar and the emotions that he creates with his characters is mind-blowing.  Serkis also co-directed “The Hobbit” films with Peter Jackson in which Serkis played Gollum for one last time.  The scene stole the films and is the singular standout of the bunch.

Andy Serkis made his Marvel debut as Ulysses Claw, the villain of the comic book hero Black Panther which will be coming in 2018.  His character Claw however, had a brief scene in “The Avengers Age of Ultron.”  Claw will be coming back in the near future.  Serkis also worked with Mark Ruffalo perfecting the motion capture for The Hulk.  And now, in 2015, Andy is making his biggest entrance into a franchise yet.  He is playing the villain Supreme Leader Snoke in the new “Star Wars” trilogy.  Very little is known about Snoke, but we do know that he is playing a role similar to Ian McDarmid’s in the original trilogy as Emperor Palpatine.  Snoke is described as being a sort of puppetmaster, a villain that works behind the scenes and in the shadows.  He is very strong with the Force as well as the Dark Side, and will be a completely motion capture character.

There are many theories surrounding who exactly Snoke is.  Of course the biggest theory is that Snoke is a cover up name.  Many Star Wars fans believe that Snoke is actually Darth Plagueis.  Now if you don’t know who Darth Plagueis is then here’s a quick refresher.  Darth Plagueis was a Dark Sith Lord who was able to manipulate the midichlorians that give life.  Some theories go as far to say that Anakin Skywalker was created by Plagueis because Anakin was a miracle birth.  Plagueis was the Master of Palpatine.  Plageuis was so powerful with the Dark Side, he was able to prevent people from dying, therefore cheating death.  However, as Palpatine tells Anakin in the tale from “Revenge of the Sith,” Plagueis was betrayed and Palpatine murdered him in his sleep.  So if Plagueis had to ability to cheat death, all signs point to him being Snoke.  Plus some leaked concept art came out a while ago that fans speculate looks exactly like Plagueis.  It’s somewhat obvious that this might be the case, but even if it’s not and he is playing a brand new “Star Wars” villain, it will be welcomed.  Serkis will do an amazing job and I can’t wait to see him in “The Force Awakens.”

Andy Serkis is one of the most unique actors working today.  He is the only actor that has had major starring roles in the biggest film franchises of all-time.  Whether it being “Star Wars,” “Planet of the Apes,” “The Lord of the Rings,” and now the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Andy’s talents have taken him far and his success shows through the wonderful characters that he brings to life on-screen.  Andy is one heck of a performer and is considered to be the pioneer of motion capture acting.  His career has taken him from the Fires of Mount Doom all the way to a Galaxy, Far, Far Away and I hope he continues to entertain and make many more wonderful creations of characters.

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