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The Character Everyone Forgets Andy Serkis Played In The Prestige

Christopher Nolan's filmography is long as it is varied. He is known for his high-concept epics, whether he tackles the battle of Dunkirk or the tricks that surround his 2006 film, "The Prestige," often forgotten as it was slated between box office successes "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" of his "Dark Knight Trilogy." Even so, "The Prestige" has many surprises to offer. Based on the book by Christopher Priest, the film follows two rival stage magicians as they attempt to outwit each other and perform the perfect illusion. Hugh Jackman plays the devastated Robert Angier, who loses his wife during a stage performance. He blames Christian Bale's Alfred Borden — a performance that's a departure from his principled portrayal of Bruce Wayne — for the accident and makes it his mission to discover the secret to Borden's big trick. 

In addition to Jackman and Bale starring, the film also features Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and particularly David Bowie in the role of Nikola Tesla. With all these big names at play, some fans of "The Prestige" may not remember that "Lord of the Rings" star and "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" director Andy Serkis plays a small but important role in the film.

Andy Serkis plays Mr. Alley in The Prestige

Andy Serkis' role in "The Prestige" is not what fans commonly come to expect from him. His motion capture work as Gollum and King Kong put him on the map. However, in "The Prestige," the actor demonstrates a subtle performance that may be easy to miss. Serkis portrays Mr. Alley, Nikola Tesla's assistant who assists with the technology that fascinates Angier. But as the film progresses, it becomes clear that Alley is not just an assistant. Tesla builds the machine that Angier commissions from him, but Alley is the one that does the dirty work. When Angier becomes impatient with the progress of the machine, it is up to Alley to handle him. Alley takes this responsibility on so that Tesla — a burdened genius who has lost his financing and has bigger worries — does not have to.

Alley is a partner more than an assistant and is involved in the working of the machinery as the only one who operates it. When Tesla insists that it is necessary to test the machine on a live animal, he takes Alley's cat to use in the experiment; Alley allows it, but struggles with the decision. Serkis makes the most of the opportunity to demonstrate his range as an actor, and his performance is impressive despite having so little screen time.