Exclusive: Andy Serkis on the Apes Sequel and Animal Farm

ComingSoon.net sat down with actor and filmmaker Andy Serkis to talk about his dual role in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey earlier today – returning as Gollum and taking on the 2nd unit director role. Eventually we got around to some of the other projects he has lined up now that he’s finished shooting it. (They still have to shoot the Battle of the Five Armies, but Jackson will be handling that himself and Serkis may be done shooting his scenes as Gollum although he wouldn’t be surprised if he got called back at the drop of a hat.)

In the meantime, Serkis is gearing up for a couple other projects including Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to the 2011 hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in which he will reprise the role of Caesar. Serkis has already met with new director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) and they’re due to start towards the end of the first quarter of 2013.

Serkis gave us a little tease on what to expect:

“The interesting thing now will be how Caesar operates in this world–because of the virus that hits at the end of the first movie–and how Caesar brings an accord between the apes and the surviving humans and that’s going to be interesting where we take that.”

Serkis also runs his own performance capture studio called The Imaginarium out of Ealing Studios in London and while they’ve already done some pretesting for “Apes” with some of the characters, their first major project which Serkis will direct there is an adaptation of George Orwell’s 1945 novel Animal Farm. The novel literally takes place on a farm and involves various subspecies of farm animals that revolt against the humans (sound familiar?) and as one might expect, it will be a combination of performance capture and facial performance capture combined with puppeteering elements.

Serkis says that the material still stands up even 65 years later, and that they’ll be “taking it from the point of view if Orwell were writing ‘Animal Farm’ for today, where would the targets be? It’s a fairy tale and we’re keeping it as a fairy tale and a fable, which will allow us to satirically pick our target.”

Serkis mentioned that the project is currently in an interesting phase where they already have a screenwriter in mind, but aren’t quite ready to announce it yet. They’re already well underway with the development phase, however. As he told us, “Because of the way of shooting it using performance capture, you can pre-vis and you can start working on it now so we’re very much into it in terms of character designs, concept, art department, all of that stuff is going on right now and we aim to shoot it at the end of 2013.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens nationwide on Friday, December 14. Look for our full interview with Mr. Serkis before then.

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