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Andy Serkis (1964)

Andrew C. G. Serkis

Type :  

  Summary  

Andrew Clement "Andy" Serkis is an English film actor, video game voice actor, director and author.

He is popularly known for playing through motion capture to animate and voice computer-generated characters: Gollum in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and its upcoming prequel The Hobbit, King Kong in the eponymous 2005 film, Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin.

He also earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his portrayal of Ian Brady in the British television film Longford. Serkis's motion captured prestations have been critically acclaimed, especially as Gollum for which he earned several award nominations, becoming the first motion captured actor to win a Saturn Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

  Biography  

 early life
Serkis, one of five children, was born and brought up in Ruislip Manor in west London. His mother, Lylie (née Weech), was English and taught disabled children; his father, Clement Serkis, was an Iraqi gynaecologist of Armenian ethnicity. His family's original surname had been "Sarkisian".

Serkis was educated at St Benedict's School, Ealing, and then started studying visual arts at Lancaster University, choosing theatre as a second subject so he could design posters. Serkis was a member of The County College, and part of the student radio station Bailrigg FM.

As part of the first year of his visual arts course at Lancaster University, Serkis had to choose a secondary subject as part of a broad-range based arts foundation. He chose to study theatre and joined the Nuffield Studio, getting involved designing and producing plays. Having agreed to act in a couple of productions, towards the end of his first year he played the lead role in Barrie Keeffe's play Gotcha, as a rebellious teenager holding a teacher hostage. As a result he changed his major subject in the subsequent two years to acting, constructing his modular Independent Studies Degree around acting, set design studying Stanislavski and Brecht, and minor modules in art and visual graphics.

 career
In his third year at college, Serkis joined the backstage team at the local Dukes Playhouse to earn his Equity card. On graduation, although advised to take a one year post-graduate acting course, he joined Dukes as an actor, and under director Jonathan Petherbridge who used workshops based upon the methods of Augusto Boal, spent 18 months acting in a broad range of productions from Brecht through Shakespeare to modern British playwrights.

After 18 months, and having gained his Equity card, Serkis joined a series of touring companies, including productions of: Bouncers opposite Hull Truck; Florizel in The Winter's Tale; and the fool in King Lear with Max Stafford-Clark. In the early 1990s he settled in London, and took roles in Dogboy, the Royal Court Theatre's production of Mojo, Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist, and Wilson Milam's 1997 production of Hurlyburly at the Queen's Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, opposite Rupert Graves and David Tennant.

Like many British actors, Serkis made the move to television through the BBC, appearing in the joint BBC/HBO production of Einstein and Eddington. Serkis played Albert Einstein, following the development of his theory of relativity, while David Tennant played British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington. Serkis joined director Mike Leigh's ensemble for two film productions, and appeared in the 1999 romantic comedy Loop alongside Susannah York.

Serkis's most critically acclaimed roles have been Sméagol/Gollum, in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy (2001–03), the title character in the 2005 version of King Kong, in which he provided both the voice and movements for the CGI character as well as the ship's cook, and as 1970s new wave star Ian Dury in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll .

His work on The Lord of the Rings started a debate on the legitimacy of CGI-assisted acting. Some critics felt Serkis should have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, since his voice, body language, and facial expressions were used. There is the argument that his CGI actions were partially, or in some cases fully, animated without his movements, but the same is true for actors in a traditional movie with CGI .

Serkis worked with game developers Ninja Theory on the 2007 release Heavenly Sword, providing the motion capture and voice for King Bohan (the game's main villain), as well as acting as Dramatic Director for the game. He has played 30 roles in film and television productions. One of his earliest feature film appearances was alongside Sacha Baron Cohen in The Jolly Boys' Last Stand.


Serkis was cast as serial killer Ian Brady in the BAFTA-nominated Longford, co-starring Samantha Morton as Myra Hindley and Jim Broadbent as Lord Longford. The film was attacked by relatives of Brady's and Hindley's victims. The mother of Keith Bennett, whose body has never been found, publicly criticized Serkis for requesting a meeting with Brady in preparation for the role. Serkis only portrayed Brady in two scenes in the film – both while he was in prison and meeting with Longford, urging him not to support Hindley as she is a manipulative woman who will "destroy" him.

In 2006, Serkis appeared in the role of Mr Grin in the film rendition of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider novel Stormbreaker. In 2006, he was in the film The Prestige as Mr. Alley, assistant to Nikola Tesla, and as the voice of Spike, one of the henchrats in the Aardman Animations film Flushed Away. In 2006 Serkis appeared in Jim Threapleton's improvised feature film, Extraordinary Rendition, which premiered in 2007.

Serkis appeared in Sugarhouse, a low-budget independently made film, playing local crime lord Hoodwink, who terrorises an east London housing estate. For the role, Serkis shaved his head and had sessions lasting 20 hours each to have temporary tattoos stencilled onto his body. The film premiered at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival and released in the UK on 24 August 2007.

In 2007, Serkis provided the voice over for Monkey Business, Five broadcast for three weeks from 13–31 August 2007. This series is about Monkey World, the popular ape and monkey sanctuary and zoo near Wool, Dorset. Serkis reunited with Peter Jackson, as a cast member in Jackson's and Steven Spielberg's Tintin trilogy, based on The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Filming began in January 2009 and the film was released in 2011. Filming was due to begin in September 2008 but was delayed due to Universal pulling out of backing the project. In 2008, Serkis appeared as Rigaud in the BBC Television adaptation Little Dorrit.

In 2009, Serkis voiced the role of the demon Screwtape in Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre audio drama of The Screwtape Letters.

In 2010, Serkis was cast as William Burke for the John Landis film Burke and Hare opposite Simon Pegg.

In 2010, Serkis features in the TV series The Accused, in "Liam's Story", written by Danny Brocklehurst and Jimmy McGovern. He plays "Caesar" in the 20th Century Fox science-fiction film Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

In January 2011, it was confirmed that Serkis would reprise the role of Gollum in the two-part The Hobbit films which will be released in 2012 and 2013.

 personal life
Serkis lives in Crouch End, North London with his wife, actress Lorraine Ashbourne, and their three children: Ruby , Sonny and Louis .

Serkis was a vegetarian but started to eat fish during the filming of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He writes about it in his book Gollum: How We Made Movie Magic, published in 2004.

Serkis was born to Catholic parents and though he has been described as an atheist since his teenage years, he is drawn to the karmic possibilities of energy transference, specifically "the idea that your energy lives on after you".

Serkis is an Arsenal F.C. supporter.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Andy Serkis", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.