Using the cinematic masterpiece The Lord of the Rings trilogy as his springboard, Andy Serkis has continued to develop motion-capture technology and is now one of the biggest names in the industry.
Rising to prominence in the role of the twisted creature Smeagol and his alter-ego Gollum, Serkis has continued to add to his impressive list of motion-capture performances. Not only did the Englishman reprise his role as Gollum in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but he also earned worldwide acclaim for his terrific performances as Caesar in the Planet of the Apes prequel trilogy.
But now the actor, writer, director, and motion-capture pioneer will appear on the big screen, without a technological cloak, as Alfred Pennyworth in Matt Reeves’ highly-anticipated The Batman standalone movie. The director of Cloverfield, Let Me In, and two of the Planet of the Apes prequel movies, is assembling quite the cast for his superhero movie, which already includes the likes of Paul Dano, Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, and Robert Pattinson, as well as possibly Colin Farrell. Reeves took to Twitter to announce the latest star to play a part in The Batman.
— Matt Reeves (@mattreevesLA) November 13, 2019
The Batman has a lot to live up to given how Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy continues to resonate with fans, with Todd Phillips’ Joker – starring Joaquin Phoenix as Batman’s arch-nemesis – setting a new standard for DC movies. In an interview, Reeves said that his film will be more of a noir tale.
The film will be “point of view-driven,” says the American director, with it showing the famous superhero “in his detective mode” to a greater extent than we’ve seen in the films. This looks set to be an approach that will connect to comic book fans as Batman is, after all, a detective under the DC (Detective Comics) brand.
As noted, Reeves has worked with Serkis before, taking the role of the director for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes. Serkis put in stunning performances through motion-capture technology as the lead protagonist and chimpanzee Caesar.
The trilogy marked one of the greatest performances of Serkis’ career, with the story and the remarkable empathy his acting brought for the ape laying down the gauntlet for future motion-capture works. The character of Caesar and the films were so captivating that the trilogy which ended in 2017 continues to boast tremendous appeal in pop-culture, with the casino game Planet of the Apes remaining a hot choice in the As Seen On TV section. Reeves recognises the popularity of the story that he brought to a conclusion, stating in the same interview above that he would get involved in that world once again and tell more stories.
While Serkis will continue to appear in-person in films like Long Shot, SAS: Red Notice, and The Batman while also directing Venom 2, he is set to return in motion-capture form in his long-awaited Animal Farm movie.
In 2012, Serkis embarked on a project to adapt the George Orwell allegory of Soviet communism, with reports of it being bought by Netflix last year. He is said to still be developing the movie, which he intends to appear in, but with such a packed schedule, it may be a while before we see Animal Farm hit the big screen.
Andy Serkis’ influence on the film industry continues to grow, with his involvement in some of the biggest franchises in cinema further validating his skills as an actor, director, writer, and motion-capture genius.