Q&A: Andy Serkis Talks ‘Apes’ and ‘Avengers’

Andy Serkis is the gold standard for performance capture acting, having played Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Caesar in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and King Kong, among his many credits. With producer Jonathan Cavendish, he’s co-founded performance capture studio the Imaginarium, which serves as a consultant on films, including the recent “Godzilla.”

You’re involved with both “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Star Wars Episode VII.”

The Imaginarium is the performance capture consultant, and I’m playing a role (in both films). On ‘The Avengers,’ I’ve been working closely with Mark Ruffalo.

Will we actually see your face?

I’m not at liberty to mention. But it’s all the same to me. I’ve never drawn a distinction when playing a role, whether it be live action or performance capture. Acting is acting. It’s just basically what you wear to the set that’s different.

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Mark Ruffalo has played the Hulk before. Why does he need coaching? 

Performance capture was used on the previous “Hulk,” but not to the same extent Mark is using it now. There are tools and ways of working with an actor that makes them feel that they own the character. And a character the size of the Hulk needs ownership, which Mark has now.

What’s more gratifying for you, playing these parts yourself or seeing performance capture more widely adopted by others?

The latter, definitely.

Are there any great movie monster roles you want to take on?

I’ve always been a huge admirer of Charles Laughton’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, not that he’s a big monster really, but that is absolutely a role I might like to play.

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