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The Hilarious Way Andy Serkis Got Into Character To Play Gollum In LOTR

Andy Serkis is known for his excellent acting work in motion capture roles, in which the fantastical visage of his character is built around him in CGI. He stars as the highly intelligent chimpanzee Caesar in the "Planet of the Apes" reboot movies and got to be an even bigger ape in 2005's "King Kong," but his fame truly began with his portrayal of the creepy, pitiful creature Gollum in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" movies.

Having spent several lifetimes living in a cave, obsessing over a shiny gold ring, Gollum is a spindly, boney little thing — a far cry from his pre-ring life as the hobbit Sméagol. He's all wide eyes, unnerving smiles, and a perpetual, croaking cough. In the movies, he spends his time crawling around the rough terrain of mountains and marshes, wearing nothing but a teeny loincloth, and eating raw rabbit meat while guiding Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) to Mordor. Though he once resembled a hobbit, he's long since become more like an animal, making for a unique acting experience for Serkis.

Andy Serkis practiced being on all fours off set

To practice being Gollum, Andy Serkis told The Guardian that while they were filming "The Lord of the Rings," he spent much of the time crawling around off set. "I would go off for walks on all fours for hours," he said. "I did occasionally come into contact with other people, so I just had to pretend I was looking for something. It's fair to say that's pretty method." Well, Gollum is usually looking for something — the One Ring to Rule them All — so Serkis' excuse isn't totally off the mark.

Serkis went on to explain why he loves acting so much: "Acting is a liberating experience. It unlocks the child in me. You're totally plugged into that sense of play." That certainly tracks with his commitment to the role — what child doesn't crawl around like a little monster from time to time? However, it's more than simple fun; these sort of motion capture roles suit Serkis, as he said, "I've always felt like an outsider, which has been central to a lot of the work I've done. Being other. Being different."