I was lucky enough to see Andy Serkis speak a the University of Washington in Seattle last night as part of his book tour. He didn’t have a lot of time to speak because he had about a thousand autographs to do, but he had time to do a reading of the “Leave now and never come back” scene from TTT and to answer a handful of questions. When he had time for only one more question, the woman he picked said “I’m still not clear on the filmmaking process…” and Andy mock-fainted onto the floor, then stood up and said “You know, I’ve just written this book…”
I was lucky enough to get a ticket to attend Andy Serkis’ book signing at the University of Washington in Seattle last night and gladly made the 270 mile round trip journey in order to be there. I have to admit that I utterly LOATHED Gollum from the first time I read The Lord of the Rings over 25 years ago. I could not see anything redeemable in the character and always thought that he got what he deserved. That is, until I saw Andy Serkis’ performance as that character in Peter Jackson’s movie “The Two Towers”. Andy was able to show us a side of the creature that reminded me very much of survivors of abuse of various sorts and his “dialog” with himself nearly broke my heart. Tonight, we were treated to a reenactment of that particular scene from “The Two Towers” and, if anything at all, it was even more powerful watching Andy perform it in person without the aid of computer generated effects. The man is truly amazing!
And to top it all off, he is a genuinely nice human being! He exhibited an amazing amount of patience with a woman in the audience (who happened to be selected to ask the last question of the Q and A portion of the evening) who wanted to know how they filmed the sequences with Gollum and kept interrupting him, asking for elaboration on how things were done. Andy displayed a great sense of humor throughout it all and took the time to explain how they went about it, even though the process is detailed minutely in the book which the woman was holding in her hands! Andy also ensured that everyone in the auditorium who wanted an autograph received one, even though there were more than 1200 people in attendance, most with 2 items (the stated limit) to be signed. To top the evening off, he very graciously agreed to stay for a few moments after things wrapped up for group photos with the folk of the Northwesternesse fan group and suggested that we say “Precioussss!” and “Rrraw and wrrrigggling!” instead of the standard phrases to evoke smiles as one of the UW staff took photos with several peoples’ cameras.
I’ve been a fan of Andy Serkis’ performance as Gollum since my first viewing of “The Two Towers” and am now very much a fan of the man himself. I sincerely hope that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences elects to do the right thing and give this man the recognition he so truly deserves by nominating him for an award in the Best Supporting Actor category this year!
Andy Serkis talked to a packed (read: overflowing) auditorium at the University of Washington in Seattle yesterday evening. I think it was fairly safe to say that the audience was impressed by the nature of this truly talented performer a witty speaker, and an engaging and patient answerer of questions.
The talk was loosely based around his new book in which he discusses and comments on Gollum as a character in Tolkiens books, and the challenges in making him manifest in a movie production. Not only that, but I think one of the (many) evident factors, was the degree of consideration and sensitivity that Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis (along with Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens) put into crystalizing Gollums presence in this movie production. Far more than just a CGI character, Serkis gave some intriguing insights into how Gollum truly crossed the boundary from human to CGI character like none other before him. The fact that they shot the Smeagol/Deagol scene in ROTK several times in order to play out different themes (such as cold-blooded Smeagol, versus spoilt rich kid Smeagol), says an awful lot about how much care and attention was embedded within the filmmakers reflections on each character, their context, etc, etc. The highlight of the evening (by a long way), was Andy giving a live performance of the whole schitzophrenic scene seen at the end of The Two Towers. A truly mind-blowing performance. In moments, Andy had become Gollum(and Smeagol), and we were all transported back to Middle Earth