Andy SerkisToday, our favorite master of motion capture performance – Andy Serkis – turns 50!

Born on April 20, 1964, Mr. Serkis has long held a special place in all our hearts. The extraordinarily talented actor was originally brought in to supply the voice of Gollum in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, Andy became a much more integral part of Gollum’s creation than he could probably have ever imagined. Re-imagined through the use of motion capture technology, Gollum became much more than a digital creation. Those of us who sat in theaters on December 18, 2002, witnessed the birth of a new form of performance. What we saw was Andy, transformed into Tolkien’s iconic character.

Speaking for myself, I still remember my eyes being transfixed on the screen, unable to process what I was seeing and feeling. Andy’s magnetic performance set the standard for all digital characters that would follow – many of which he would have a hand in creating himself. From Kong to Caesar, he has helped revolutionize the film industry, and given us some of the greatest performances of the last 10+ years (whether motion capture or not). And if that wasn’t enough, Andy has also shown his incredible strengths behind the camera as Second Unit Director on the Hobbit films, and is set to make his directorial debut on Warner Brothers’ The Jungle Book.

On this day, we raise our glasses to Mr. Serkis, and wish him a very Happy Birthday!