Serkis Stands Alone in Motion-Capture Field

The year’s best actor might not even grab so much as an Oscar nomination. Then again, it could be hard to choose only one film where Andy Serkis excelled.

Serkis, the man who gave life to Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, is the undisputed master of motion-capture acting. It’s a field that hardly appeared on the Hollywood radar a decade ago, but now it’s an intrinsic part of some of the biggest fantasy films in recent memory.

Andy Serkis

Serkis’ latest triumph came in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” out this week on Blu-ray and DVD. Serkis “plays” Caesar, the genetically altered ape who learns to think and reason thanks to a serum applied by a well-intentioned researcher (James Franco). The role earned Serkis an acting nod from the just-announced Critics’ Choice Awards, but the stuffy Oscar voters will be much harder to woo.

No matter, since “Rise” is the latest example of how motion capture wizardry can be transformative in the right hands.

Serkis, who lends his voice to “Arthur Christmas,” also uses his unique skills on “The Adventures of Tintin,” opening Dec. 21. Serkis’ “Tintin” co-star Jamie Bell, who voices the main character, tells Big Hollywood that Serkis’ fellow actors marveled at his abilities on set. Serkis even drew applause from his cast mates during one riveting take.

“I never see that with actors,” Bell says.

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