Fresh off his gig as second-unit director for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, motion-capture actor Andy Serkis is ready for the big time. He’ll be directing a retelling of the George Orwell classic, Animal Farm. But will he play one of the animals as well?
“The movie will be produced by The Imaginarium, a London-based performance-capture studio that Serkis and producer Jonathan Cavendish (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) formed in 2011,” writes The Hollywood Reporter. “The studio brings together Serkis’ experience in the creative process from feature and TV to video games, as well as house a technical R&D unit and an educational component.”
And no one can say Serkis doesn’t have experience. He landed on our radar when he took on the role of Gollum in Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, then went on to play King Kong, Captain Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin, and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Orwell’s 1945 novel is a staple in most school curriculums and serves as an allegory of the Stalin era, corruption, and revolution. The book has been adapted twice, once in 1954 as an animated feature and again in 1999 as a television film. So what will Serkis’ version be like?
He says they’re still in the proof-of-concept stage. “I think we found a rather fresh way of looking at it. It is definitely using performance capture, but we are using an amalgamation of filming styles to create the environments,” he said. “It is quite a wide canvas as to how much and how far we can take performance capture with quadrupeds and how much we will be using facial [capture]. We are not discounting the use of keyframe animation or puppeteering parts of animals. We are in an experimental phase; it’s terribly exciting.”
And will he take a part (or 10) for himself? “It might well be that I do, but nothing is set in stone yet,” he said.
As for the target audience, Serkis says they’ll be keeping it family friendly. “We are not going to handle the politics in a heavy-handed fashion. It is going to be emotionally centered in a way that I don’t think has been seen before. The point of view that we take will be slightly different to how it is normally portrayed and the characters, We are examining this in a new light.”
(via The Hollywood Reporter)