The man behind the mask


Ok, you saw the videos, you see the picture above, now tell me what links Gollum (Lord of the Rings series and The Hobbit series), King Kong, Caesar (Rise of the Planet of the Apes series) and Captain Haddock from the Tintin movie?

The one word answer to the above question is this – Andy Serkis [Link to Wikipedia article]. I am more than pretty sure that anybody who has watched any or all of the above movies would have surely wondered who played these characters in the movies. While there was a bit of ‘technological jugglery’ involved in the form of CGI (computer generated imagery), all these characters were brought to life on screen using ‘motion capture technology’ using Andy Serkis’ talents with his body movements and facial movements.

While the computer does quite a bit of work in terms of fine tuning a lot of Andy’s work, the fact remains that he has put in hours of efforts, energy and all his talents to bring these wonderful characters to life on the big screen. After all, there is only so much that computer algorithms can do, don’t you agree.

All the small little facial twitches that Caesar, the chimp gives, the eye movements of the monstrous King Kong, the crazy movements of the wildly unpredictable Gollum and the awesome animation of Captain Haddock, are all filled with Serkis’ talents.

In fact his work is so well appreciated and acclaimed that numerous associations have recognized his work with special awards despite the fact that they don’t have an official category for ‘motion capture’.

Please watch this wonderful video below to see Andy Serkis in action during the shooting of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Watch out for more of this wonderful actor’s work in the remaining two Hobbit movies and in The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes movie releasing next year.

2 thoughts on “The man behind the mask

  1. Interesting fact Jairam. I was completely unaware of this. When I watched King Kong I was impressed with its realistic picturization. I thought it was completely animated. But this is awesome.

    1. @Padmanabha, that is the beauty of Andy Serkis’ work, you are pretty much unable to make out where his work stops and the computer takes over, and where the computers stop and Andy takes over 🙂 This is one guy who doesn’t enjoy the adoration that the other actors in these movies enjoy although his work is probably more critical to the movie becoming a success…

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