Andy Serkis plays dual roles for 'The Hobbit'
05:00 AM, Mar 18, 2013
Andy Serkis was important on both sides of the camera for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
The English actor reprised his motion-capture Lord of the Rings role as the weathered little weirdo Gollum in the first of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies, but also was a second-unit director for many scenes of the film, including several battles.
The special features of The Hobbit Blu-ray and DVD (out Tuesday) include a slew of Jackson’s behind-the-scenes production videos, with Serkis and others part of a special look at location scouting, filming in 3-D and other production ins and outs. (The home-video release also includes a code for Jackson’s live first look this Sunday at the second Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug, in theaters Dec. 14.)
Camera crews were constantly documenting Jackson’s video diaries, Serkis says. “There isn’t a single second of a day that isn’t recorded in some way, shape or form and you just got used to it. You become so used to conversing with the cameras it is like this other character which is there monitoring what is going on.”
The first thing Jackson filmed for The Hobbit two years ago was the memorable meeting between Gollum and Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) in the Misty Mountains, where Gollum the transformed former hobbit named Smeagol has been hanging out while going on a downward spiral of crazy for 500 years.
It’s a different Gollum than we saw in Lord of the Rings, though, according to Serkis. He hasn’t been tortured by Sauron, still is in possession of the One Ring and is simply delighted to have some company.
“Suddenly, to have someone who he recognizes as a fellow hobbit because of course, he was a hobbit before he became addicted to the ring and to be able to have a game of riddles, nothing could be better. Life is good,” Serkis explains.
“Of course, the Gollum side of his personality just wants to kill Bilbo in a very expedient way so that they have some dinner. Therein lies the conflict in the character.”
Serkis also enjoyed his behind-the-scenes role as a director, and found that the key to a great battle scene and adding to the “hack and slash of it all” is having human beats in the storytelling that make it poignant. (He’s also taking on the role of second-unit director for The Desolation of Smaug as well as the third Hobbit movie, next year’s There and Back Again.)
“In Helm’s Deep, for instance, as much as it is people hacking on the battlements, it is the women and children who are hiding underneath that you cut away to which gives you the import and the fear and the implications and the ramifications of the battle,” Serkis says. “So it is always the human cause and cost within that conflict.”