Motion capture's go-to guy talks about the three roles that have made his career

By Keith Staskiewicz
August 12, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

Without a doubt, Andy Serkis has become the go-to actor for motion-capture roles, the most recent being that of Caesar, the chimp protagonist in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. ”Our first choice, our natural port of call, was Andy,” says Apes director Rupert Wyatt. The actor talks us through his most famous roles.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
”There were actually several screenings of the film with me up on the screen before the visual-effects shots had come in, to test the story,” Serkis says. ”People either respond to the performance at that level or not. And if they don’t, there’s no way you can make that better with digital effects.”

The Lord of the Rings
”Gollum has been out there in the public for a decade,” says the actor, who reprises his role in the upcoming Hobbit films. ”It was quite strange to go back [to it] years later. You don’t want to be doing an impression of yourself.”

King Kong
King Kong used facial capture directly, where my facial muscles had markers on them,” he notes. ”After Gollum, it was the next phase of evolution.”