“As long as you have the acting chops and the desire to get inside the character, you can play anything.”
Is there anybody out there who doesn’t love Andy Serkis? Every time he does an interview he just comes across as such an intelligent and polite individual. Since his ground-breaking work on Peter Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings and subsequent work, he has officially cemented his place in the mo-cap hall of fame. In fact he might’ve been the guy who opened it. However it’s an unfortunate shame that only his motion capture work seems to be the predominant talking point in a very successful acting career. It’s equally a shame that said performances are still deeply misunderstood by many.
Serkis recently appeared on-screen in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes as Ceaser, the patriarchal leader of the escaped apes who at the end of the first movie sought independence from their human captives. Once again Serkis proves that acting isn’t always about the person but the performance. A lot of people are calling for Serkis to finally receive an Oscar nomination for his portrayal as Caesar. While I think Caesar – despite being a motion captured ape – brought as much human empathy to the screen as any other real life character in the movie, I willfully disagree that Serkis should get an Oscar nod. That’s not to say I think his performance wasn’t good enough or that he isn’t a fine actor.
I definitely believe he deserves more recognition for his work but not necessarily in the acting category. Whimpers started to spread shortly after the first movie when Serkis was outspoken about motion capture not getting the plaudits it deserved come awards season. I agreed with a lot of what he was trying to say and so did a large portion of movie-goers. But what baffles me is that his other non mo-cap roles have never as much been mentioned in the same breath as the Academy Awards. Why is it only his motion capture roles that get the highest praise? Why does the bandwagon only get weighed down when his face is covered in green dots?
Look, I love Andy Serkis. I really do. I think he is a marvellous character actor and will only move on to bigger and better things. He’s not like any other actor. Because of the nature of his previous roles in mo-cap, his relationship with his directors has probably surpassed normal levels and so it has given him a unique “behind the scenes” learning curve that other actors wouldn’t have experienced. In light of this I think he’ll go on to have a hugely successful career behind the camera.
I do firmly believe the day will come when Serkis will be correctly recognised for his efforts in helping to devise and develop a foreseeable methodology of work. People forget that when he was first cast as Gollum, Jackson and company didn’t have an exact idea of what they were going to do to try to create the character. It was very much a mutual collaboration between Serkis, Jackson and the team behind the technology. So by that alone Serkis deserves credit. The fact that he is an inspiration to other actors who are now stepping into motion capture and his new co-venture The Imaginarium, based in London, he’ll will go down in cinematic history as a game changer.
Do you think Serkis deserves an Oscar nod?
Gavin Logan – Follow me on Twitter