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Andy Serkis Was 'Freaked Out' The First Time He Saw Gollum

One of the many marvels of visual effects in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy of films was the totally lifelike work done on the character Gollum, originally known as Smeagol. Brought to life by actor Andy Serkis with stunning and innovative motion capture technology, the creature's movements, appearance, and voice perfectly aligned with J.R.R. Tolkien's description.

Audiences were first introduced to Gollum briefly in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," before learning more about him and his backstory in the next two films. For Andy Serkis, his first reaction left him startled and he felt a variety of different emotions and thoughts pertaining to the monster and the technology, he revealed to "Still Watching Netflix."

The actor's full portrayal of Smeagol in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" represented the first usage of real-time motion capture in a film. Both Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis are still singled out for their pioneering work, and the experience was eye-opening for the performance capture artist.

Serkis said the moment showed him the true potential of motion capture technology

While speaking to "Still Watching Netflix," where he discussed all of his most famous motion-based personifications, the actor spoke at length about Gollum. Serkis shared, "I will never, ever forget the very first time I saw a digital incarnation of Gollum. I was wearing a motion capture suit. I remember lifting up my right hand and Gollum was there lifting up his right hand. I was so freaked out by it."

He added that he was also enthralled by the burgeoning potential of what the acting-infused visual effects innovation could go on to achieve in cinema. Serkis also described how he loved filming the movies back-to-back because he got to act out his role on location and then return again to re-sync his movements and performance to the motion capture tech.

He continued, "But in terms of performance capture, there really isn't any difference in terms of process, acting-wise." The "Andor" star went on to explain how the visual effects of the process all correspond to how the actor mentally and physically embodies the character they are playing. All the emotions pertaining to voice, mannerism, and more are the work of the performer first and foremost.

Andy Serkis would immediately work with Peter Jackson again on 2005's "King Kong," where he played the giant gorilla with just as much realism as brought to Smeagol's slimy alter-ego.