Andy Serkis: Wikis


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Andy Serkis

Serkis in Wellington, New Zealand (December 2003)
Born Andrew C. G. Serkis
20 April 1964 (1964-04-20) (age 45)
Ruislip, Middlesex, England, U.K.
Occupation Actor, Director, Author
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Lorraine Ashbourne (22 July 2002 – present)
Official website

Andrew C. G. "Andy" Serkis[1] (born 20 April 1964) is an English actor, director and author. He is popularly known for playing Gollum in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, for which earned several nominations and the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. He also earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his portrayal of Ian Brady in the British television film Longford. In 2011, Serkis will reprise his role as Gollum in The Hobbit.


Early life

Serkis was born and brought up in Ruislip Manor, Middlesex. His mother was English and his father was an Iraqi-born gynaecologist of Armenian descent.[2]

He was educated at St Benedict's School, Ealing and at Lancaster University where he studied visual art, a member of The County College, and was also a part of the student radio station Bailrigg FM.


Serkis' most critically acclaimed roles have been Sméagol/Gollum, in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy (2001–03), the title character in the 2005 version of King Kong, in which he provided both the voice and movements for the CGI character as well as the ship's cook, and as 1970s punk rock star Ian Dury in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010).

His work on the trilogy started a debate on the legitimacy of CGI-assisted acting. Some critics felt Serkis should have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, since his voice, body language, and facial expressions were used. There is the argument that his CGI actions were partially, or in some cases fully animated, without his movements, but the same is true for actors in a traditional movie with CGI. (Uncredited, Serkis also voices the Witch King of Angmar, as well as several other orc characters.)

Serkis worked with game developers Ninja Theory on the 2007 release Heavenly Sword, providing the motion capture and voice for King Bohan (the game's main villain), as well as acting as Dramatic Director for the game. He has played 30 roles in film and television productions. One of his earliest feature film appearances was alongside Sacha Baron Cohen in The Jolly Boys' Last Stand.

Serkis in his mocap suit for King Kong

Serkis was cast as serial killer Ian Brady in the BAFTA-nominated Longford, co-starring Samantha Morton as Myra Hindley and Jim Broadbent as Lord Longford. The film was attacked by relatives of Brady's and Hindley's victims.[3] The mother of Keith Bennett, whose body has never been found, publicly criticized Serkis for requesting a meeting with Brady in preparation for the role.

In 2006 Serkis appeared in the role of Mr. Grin in the film rendition of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider novel Stormbreaker. In 2006, he was in the film The Prestige as Mr. Alley, assistant to Nikola Tesla, and as the voice of Spike, one of the henchrats in the Aardman Animations film Flushed Away. In 2006 Serkis appeared in Jim Threapleton's improvised feature film, Extraordinary Rendition, which premiered in 2007.

Serkis appeared in Sugarhouse, a low-budget independently made film, playing local crime lord Hoodwink, who terrorises an East London housing estate. For the role, Serkis shaved his head and had sessions lasting 20 hours each to have temporary tattoos stencilled onto his body. The film premiered at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival and released in the UK on 24 August 2007.

Serkis appeared in the 1999 romantic comedy Loop alongside Susannah York.

Serkis appeared in Einstein and Eddington, a joint venture between HBO and BBC. He played Albert Einstein. The film followed Einstein's development of his theory of relativity, and also showed how British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington became the first person to understand the scientist's work. Eddington was played by Doctor Who star David Tennant, who previously starred with Serkis in the stage version of Hurlyburly at the Queens Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue in 1997.

In 2007, Serkis provided the voice over for Monkey Business, Five broadcast for three weeks from 13–31 August 2007. This series is about Monkey World, the popular ape and monkey sanctuary and zoo near Wool, Dorset. Serkis will reunite with Peter Jackson as a cast member in Jackson and Steven Spielberg's Tintin trilogy, based on The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Filming began in January 2009.[4] Filming was due to begin in September 2008 but was delayed due to Universal pulling out of backing the project.[5] In 2008, Serkis appeared as Rigaud in the BBC Television adaptation Little Dorrit.

In 2009, Serkis voiced the role of the demon Screwtape in Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre audio drama of The Screwtape Letters.[6]

In 2010, Serkis was casted as William Burke for the John Landis film Burke and Hare.[7] In 2011, Serkis will be once again playing Smeagol/Gollum in The Hobbit as in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit is being directed by Guillermo del Toro.

Personal life

Serkis lives in Crouch End, North London with his wife, actress Lorraine Ashbourne, and their three young children: Ruby (b. 1998), Sonny (b. 2000) and Louis (b. 2004).[8]

Serkis was a vegetarian but started to eat fish during the filming of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He writes about it in his book Gollum: How We Made Movie Magic, published in 2004.[citation needed]

Serkis's parents are Catholics, according to an interview with The Guardian, entitled "My family values". He is drawn to the karmic possibilities of energy transference, specifically "the idea that your energy lives on after you".[9]

Awards and nominations



  • Golden Globe 2008 Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini Series or Motion Picture Made for Television - Longford. 2009 Emmy Best suppoting actor in a TV movie or mini series.
  • BAFTA 2010 Leading Actor - Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll


Year Film Role Notes
1989 Morris Minor and his Marvellous Motors Sparky Plugg TV series
Streetwise Owen TV
1992 The Darling Buds of May Greville TV series - Episode Le Grande Weekend
1993 Pie in the Sky Maxwell TV series - Episode Passion Fruit Fool
1994 Finney Tom TV series
Grushko Pyotr TV drama
Prince of Jutland Torsten
1995 The Near Room Bunny
1996 Stella Does Tricks Fitz
1997 Mojo Potts
The Pale Horse Sergeant Corrigan TV drama
Career Girls Nick Evans
Loop Bill
1998 The Tale of Sweety Barrett Leo King
The Jump Steven Brunos TV drama
Among Giants Bob
Clueless David Short film
Insomnia Harry Short film
1999 Oliver Twist Bill Sikes TV serial
Topsy-Turvy John D'Auban
Shooting the Past Styeman TV drama
Five Seconds to Spare Chester
Touching Evil III Michael Lawler TV mini-series
2000 Jump Shaun
Shiner Mel
Pandaemonium John Thelwall
The Jolly Boys' Last Stand Spider
Arabian Nights Kasim TV mini-series
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Sméagol/Gollum Nominated - SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Escapist Ricky Barnes
2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Sméagol/Gollum Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - OFCS Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Deathwatch Pvt. Thomas Quinn
24 Hour Party People Martin Hannett
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Sméagol/Gollum, an unnamed hobbit and Witch-king of Angmar SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - CFCA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - OFCS Award for Best Supporting Actor
2004 Blessed Father Carlo
13 Going on 30 Richard Kneeland
Standing Room Only Granny, Rastafarian and Hunter Jackson
Spooks Riff TV series - Episode Celebrity
2005 King Kong King Kong and Lumpy the Cook
Stories of Lost Souls Granny, Rastafarian and Hunter Jackson
2006 Simon Schama's Power of Art Vincent Van Gogh TV series - Episode Van Gogh: Wheat Field with Crows
Extraordinary Rendition Lead Interrogator
Longford Ian Brady Nominated - BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Stormbreaker Mr. Grin
The Prestige Mr. Alley
Flushed Away Spike Voice
2007 Heavenly Sword King Bohan Game voice
Muybridge Erickson
Sugarhouse Hoodwink
2008 The Cottage David
Einstein and Eddington Albert Einstein TV drama
Inkheart Capricorn
Little Dorrit Rigaud TV serial
2009 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll Ian Dury Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
2009 The Screwtape Letters[6] Screwtape Audio drama
2010 Enslaved[11] Monkey Game voice
2011 The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn Captain Haddock/Sir Francis Haddock
Burke and Hare[12] William Burke Pre-production
The Hobbit Part 1 Sméagol/Gollum
The Hobbit Part 2 Sméagol/Gollum

Other works

  • In Heavenly Sword, a PlayStation 3 title released in 2007, he stars as King Bohan, voicing him and providing a basis for his in-game face. He also acted as the dramatic director on the project.
  • His book Gollum: How We Made Movie Magic (published 2004) explains how he created Gollum, which was originally a three-week voiceover job.
  • He played an abusive boyfriend in the music video for Neneh Cherry's "Woman".
  • He voiced the part of Screwtape in the Radio Theatre production of "The Screwtape Letters[6]."
  • He joined fellow Lord of the Rings actor John Rhys-Davies to provide voices for the 2009 RPG, Risen.


External links

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