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Andy Serkis Predicts The Future Of Motion Capture

Andy Serkis is one of the most multifaceted and multitalented individuals to come out of Hollywood in a while. He first rose to prominence as the go-to actor for any role that required motion capture. He astonished audiences by making Gollum from the "Lord of the Rings" films come to life, looking and sounding like a genuine creature in those movies. Even 20 years later, Gollum holds up better than a lot of visual effects that come out of modern blockbusters. 

He's gone on to appear as live-action characters in the likes of "Black Panther" and the upcoming "The Batman." He's also moved into the director's chair, first working on "Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle" before shooting the most recent superhero flick to light up the box office — "Venom: Let There Be Carnage." Both films have utilized motion capture technology to great effect, and it's clear Serkis still has an immense desire to push the boundaries of what these tools can do for filmmaking. 

He has grand ambitions for the future of this tech, which he recently spoke about in an interview with Total Film. If Serkis has his way, the way movies are made will look vastly different in just a few years.

Motion capture will only get better at capturing the nuances of an actor's performance

The thing that makes Gollum such an interesting character from a tech standpoint is how he behaves like a natural person. It's not just a video game NPC moving around on-screen. You gain insight into the character by analyzing his facial cues and how he looks at other characters. That's an impressive calling card for the motion capture technology on display, and it's only going to get better as advancements become more widespread. 

When asked about how much mo-cap has changed from 20 years ago compared to today, Serkis explained, "In terms of performance, capture, the method of facial capture is evolving all the time and the detail, the nuances in the end, the actual root performance that you get out of an actor, and the translation of that into the final thing is getting closer and closer." He describes the process of bringing the ape characters from the recent "Planet of the Apes" trilogy and how the technology was used to capture the small, nuanced details of Serkis' performance as Caesar. And the actor-turned-director believes those subtle details will only become more pronounced as time goes on.

"People have criticized me before for saying it's like digital makeup, but it is becoming that," Serkis elaborated. "I think you will be able to play someone from history from photogrammetry and have a real Abraham Lincoln's face that you're playing rather than a sculpted one." It's incredible to think of how far cinema has come in a couple of decades. One thing we know for sure is that if they ever remake the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Gollum could look vastly different and improved.