Andy Serkis is best known for his remarkable interpretation of the vengeful and obsessive Gollum in the groundbreaking Lord of the Rings screen trilogy (2001-03). Landing the role presented him with a formidable challenge: helping to bring to life a computer-generated character that was not just technically dazzling but emotionally credible. To play Gollum needed a performer with immense stamina and creativity, requirements which - for audiences and critics alike - Andy Serkis exceeded. But there is far more to Serkis than The Lord of the Rings. When he began work on the trilogy in 1999, he already had 15 years of experience in theatre, television and cinema, portraying characters who were eccentric, complex, and even monstrous. He was always determined to inject humanity and empathy into every part he played, no matter how flawed they may have seemed. It is this level of intensity and commitment that has enriched so many of his roles, from Bill Sykes to King Kong and from Albert Einstein to Ian Dury. Andy Serkis returned to the big screen in 2011 as Captain Haddock in the long-awaited The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn and is now preparing to revisit the persona of Gollum for the cinematic remake of The Hobbit. Author Justin Lewis examines the life and career to date of this most highly principled, hard-working and versatile of actors.
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