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Life as Gollum

BERLIN (TV 2 Nettavisen): The strangest thing for Andy Serkis is that people recognize him as Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

British Andy Serkis has, along with Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, head of special effects, and Weta Workshop, created film history. For the first time ever, they have created a computer animated figure that people value equally to the ordinary actors in the film.

As himself

Much of the honor for this is that Serkis not only appears as the voice of Gollum, but he also acted the character on the set. However, it is not until the third film that Serkis appear as himself, or rather what Gollum once was, the hobbit Sméagol.

“I guess I’m the actor who has spent the most time in New Zealand after the main filming was done,” Serkis said.

Serkis was a well established TV, film and theatre actor in England before he was offered the part as Gollum, the character who offers to guide Frodo and Sam to Mount Doom in Mordor. Gollum fights to get the ring, but he also battles with himself in a type of schizophrenic fight between the hobbit Sméagol who he once was and the character he has become as the greedy Gollum.

“Actually, I like them both,” Serkis said. “I don’t view him as particularly schizophrenic, but more as two personalities who fight for first place. I also have conversations with myself all the time.”

Working with Jackson

Serkis did all his scenes three times. He played the scenes with Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, then he acted the scenes alone, and then finally he acted the scenes again in a studio with “electrodes” all over his body which recorded his movements for the computer animated Gollum.

He praises Peter Jackson and calls him an actor’s director and someone who is easy to work with. With as many as seven film sets at the same time, there was no special treatment for any of the actors.

A glimmer of Gollum

Andy Serkis is recognized on the street, and if you really look hard, you can actually catch a glimmer of Gollum in Serkis’ face. It was Jackson who decided that they had to redesign Gollum’s face.

“We were sitting there discussing the part, Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, Peter Jackson and I, and we looked at scenes on the screen,” Serkis explained. “He must look more like Andy, he (Jackson) said.”

Serkis stressed that all of them felt a certain degree of pressure.

“If the audience didn’t accept Gollum, would everything fall apart,” Serkis explained.

Indigestion

As a result of the part as Gollum, Serkis has received many more offers from the international film world. He may get a part in Jackson’s new film “King Kong.” Regardless, Serkis stated that he was happy to be himself again, not to mention to use his normal voice.

“I had something we called Gollum juice which consisted of honey, fruit and lots of good stuff. It was wonderful for my throat, but terrible for my stomach!”

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