This guy's no ape
I talk to Gollum, the freakish creature from the Lord of the Rings films on today's Fresh Air. Actually, it's Andy Serkis, the actor who performed the role and has become famous for what's known as performance capture - where a live actor does movements and facial expressions which are then layered over by CGI artists to make him something different.
And Serkis has been many different things. He played the 25-foot ape in love with Naomi Watts in the 2005 King Kong remake, and he's the lead chimp in the summer action feature, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Serkis has some interesting things to say about his craft. He says acting is acting, and whether he's playing a big gorilla or a former Hobbitt like Gollum, he concentrates on getting the essence of the character, then letting the effects capture that.
He gives us a wonderful description of his take on Kong - a lonely hobo of sorts. And he has the most entertaining tale of how he came up with the voice for Gollum. It involves a cat and a hair-ball, and it's a great radio moment.
The show airs at 3 and 7 on 91FM. If you're outside the Philadelphia area, find a station here.
I'll be away for a few days, back on Monday, August 8th.
Meanwhile, enjoy this fun movie moment in which Andy Serkis appears as his actual self. It's from the Jennifer Garner film 13 Going on 30.