Andy Serkis on Whether Motion Capture Actors Need a Separate Oscar Category


Andy Serkis on Whether Motion Capture Actors Need a Separate Oscar Category

Andy Serkis on whether motion capture actors need a separate Oscar category

When Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was released, some whispering began. Actor Andy Serkis had been performing motion capture characters for over a decade at this point, but with the 2014 sequel he delivered a performance so spellbinding and engaging, many thought it might be time for some award recognition. Fans felt this way, but the Oscar support for motion capture actors never came. A similar battle that Frank Oz faced for playing Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, it just wasn’t seen as “real acting.”

When we spoke to Serkis on the set of War for the Planet of the Apes, he was asked about this and whether he felt a new category for motion capture actors should be created, saying “Absolutely not.”

“The point of the matter is that we’re actors playing roles and they happen to be in this instance, apes. But there is no difference. If we were to block out the scenes as actors in costumes it would be no different, the process is no difference. You’re embodying the character, you’re creating the psychology and physically, you’re living the moment.

“Of course there is this whole gray area seemingly that every time this is talked about (regarding) animators and who takes ultimate responsibility for the character, but without question, and I’ll go down saying this, these characters are all authored by what we’re doing on set. They are not authored by animators. Animators do amazing work translating and interpolating the characters and facial performances, but if you don’t get it on the day, in the moment, on set, in front of the camera with a director and the actors, the emotional content of the scene and the actors, if it’s not there on the day it will never be in the movie. So that is really important to understand, and it is understood. Now, there are great A-list actors who are using performance characters because they realize there is a perception shift.”

Serkis will once again play Caeasr in War for the Planet of the Apes, alongside a host of additional human actors playing apes, including Steve Zahn, Terry Notary and Karin Konoval.

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