Andy Serkis plays dual role in "Hobbit" - Gollum and director

Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:51pm EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Andy Serkis reprises his role as Gollum in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," to be released worldwide this week, but his main role this time was as a second unit director, shooting battle sequences in 3D for director Peter Jackson.

The British-born actor, 48, who rose to fame as the obsessive Gollum in Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, spoke with Reuters about playing the popular CGI character, and his role behind the camera in New Zealand for "The Hobbit."

Q: Was it nice to get re-acquainted with Gollum after almost 10 years?

A: "Yes, but he's never been that far away from me. Not a day goes by where I'm not reminded of Gollum by some person in the street who asks me to do his voice or wants to talk to me about him. But because 'The Hobbit' has been talked about as a project for many years, I knew that at some point I'd have to reengage with him."

Q: Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) is new to the franchise and so are many other actors. As a veteran, did they come to you for advice?

A: "It sort of manifested itself more in a way where (as a vet) you understand the scale and scope of what's required stamina-wise. It's a different rhythm than most movies. For a lot of the actors, you're 12,000 miles away from home. It becomes a way of life - getting up at five in the morning, shooting every day, day in day out, for 270 days. The new cast playing the dwarves were carrying incredibly heavy weights in their suits, they sat through hours of make-up every day. So it's quite challenging from a stamina point of view."

Q: Playing Gollum was not your only job. You were also doing second unit directing. What did that entail?

A: "Directing was my main job this time - more than playing Gollum. I worked 200 days with a huge team shooting battle sequences, aerials. It was an amazing experience and one which I was very, very thankful to Peter for asking me to do."   Continued...

New Zealand director Peter Jackson (2nd L) and cast members Andy Serkis (L), Martin Freeman (3rd L), Richard Armitage (2nd R) and Elijah Wood pose on a stage at a news conference promoting their movie "The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey" in Tokyo December 1, 2012. REUTERS/Issei Kato