Gary Susman
June 11, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Andy Serkis may have been a supporting player in Peter Jackson’s ”Lord of the Rings” movies, but he’ll play the title role in Jackson’s next movie. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the actor will do for King Kong what he did for Gollum, defining the movements of the computer-generated character by acting the part in a motion-capture suit. He’ll also be seen in the movie in his own guise, playing Lumpy, the cook on the Venture, the ship whose fateful voyage to Skull Island leads to the discovery of the giant gorilla. (His human costars are Jack Black, Adrien Brody, and, in the Fay Wray role, Naomi Watts.)

”I expect this time ’round will be a very different experience for both Andy and myself as we’ll actually get to shoot extended drama sequences together,” Jackson said in a statement. ”It will be a little weird seeing Andy out of his Gollum gimp suit — and I hope we can both make the adjustment!” He added that he intended to have Serkis make Kong even more feral than Gollum. ”While Andy will provide very valuable onset reference, this doesn’t mean we will be softening Kong by attempting to humanize him. The power of the story lies in the fact that this is a savage beast from a hostile environment, and we don’t intend to compromise that.”

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