Andrew Clement Serkis, born April 20, 1964, is an English actor and director. He’s best known for his performance capture roles comprising motion capture acting, animation and voice work for such computer generated characters as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, King Kong in the eponymous 2005 movie, and Caesar in the Planet of the Apes reboot series. Take a look below for 28 more fun and interesting facts about Andy Serkis.
1. He played Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin.
3. Serkis’ film work in motion capture has been critically acclaimed. He has received an Empire Award, and two Saturn Awards for his motion-capture acting.
4. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of serial killer Ian Brady in the British television movie Longford.
5. He was nominated for a BAFTA for his portrayal of new wave and punk rock musician Ian Dury in the biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.
7. Serkis has his own production company and motion capture workshop, The Imaginarium Studios in London, which he used for Jungle Book.
8. He made his directorial debut with Imaginarium’s 2017 movie Breathe.
9. He was born and raised in Ruislip Manor in Middlesex.
10. Serkis’ mother, Lylie, was English and taught disabled children. His father, Clement Serkis, was an Iraqi born gynecologist of Armenian descent.
11. His father often worked away in the Middle East, while Serkis and his siblings were raised in Britain, with regular holidays in the Middle East including to Tyre, Sidon, Damascus and Baghdad.
12. Serkis was educated at St. Benedict’s School, Ealing, and then studied visual arts at Lancaster University. He chose theater as a secondary subject so that he could design posters.
13. Serkis was a member of the County College and part of the student radio station Bailrigg FM.
14. He joined the Nuffield Studio, getting involved in designing and producing plays.
15. Having agreed to act in a couple of productions towards the end of his first year, Serkis played the lead role in Barrie Keeffe’s play, Gotcha, as a rebellious teenager holding a teacher hostage.
16. In his final year at Lancaster, he adapted Raymond Brigg’s graphic novel The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman, a satire about the Falklands War, as a one-man show, which he performed to acclaim.
17. He has three children. A daughter, Ruby, and two songs, Sonny and Louis Ashbourne Serkis. Louis will star in the movie The Kid Who Would Be King.
18. Serkis was required to don a wetsuit and flail around in freezing water during re-shoots for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
19. He owns one of two prop rings used in The Lord of the Rings. The other ring went to Elijah Wood, who played Frodo Baggins.
20. He based the voice of Gollum on the sounds his cats made while coughing up furballs.
21. His last day of filming on the Lord of the Rings trilogy was only a few weeks before the theatrical release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. On the carpet of Peter Jackson’s living room, they filmed the facial reaction of Gollum when he realizes Frodo intends to destroy the ring. The resulting video was e-mailed to Weta Digital so the animators could replicate the shot with the CGI character.
22. His family name, Serkis, is of Armenian descent like Mikhail Vartanov’s and Sergei Parajanov’s but originally would have been Sarkisian, Vartaniantz and Parajanian.
23. He used his Gollum voice on his children for fun or when they misbehave.
24. Serkis’ performance as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy is ranked number 10 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
25. He has co-starred with Jamie Bell three times: in Deathwatch, King Kong and The Adventures of Tintin.
26. Serkis was born to Catholic parents, and though he has been an atheist since his teenage years, he’s, “drawn to the karmic possibilities of energy transference,” specifically, “the idea that your energy lives on after you.”
27. Serkis married actress Lorraine Ashbourne in July 2002.
28. He published a memoir about his experience playing Gollum in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, titled Gollum: How We Made Movie Magic, published in late 2004.