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Watch Benedict Cumberbatch record Smaug's movements via motion-capture

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Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t just lend his voice to the role of Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The actor put his full body into the villainous dragon, lending his talents to the motion-capture process in as wonderfully ridiculous form as would be expected.

Cumberbatch doesn’t have the long neck it would take to fully pull off Smaug’s physicality, but the actor manages to be just as intimidating as his computer-generated counterpart. Just try to forget that he’s lying on a platform in a gray leotard.

The video comes as part of The Desolation of Smaug‘s Blu-ray and DVD release on Nov. 3, but it’s also a nice hint of what’s to come when Cumberbatch reprises his role in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis helped to improve the technology around motion capture on the original The Lord of the Rings franchise, so Cumberbatch is in good hands despite the objective silliness of the situation.

It doesn’t quite take the crown for the best motion capture moment—that one belongs to video game The Last of Usbut after watching Cumberbatch give the role all he’s got, it’s hard to imagine someone else inhabiting the famous creature’s smoky pipes.