Quint chats with Andy Serkis about unseen KONG scenes, playing Tesla's assistant in THE PRESTIGE, ADDICT and more!
Published at: March 27, 2006, 1:24 p.m. CST by staff
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a brief chat I did with Andy Serkis who had scheduled a few interviews to promote the KONG DVD (coming out tomorrow). I did this interview over the phone, right smack dab in the middle of ShoWest in Vegas. Over the years I've been fortunate enough to spend some time with Serkis in person and can tell you that he's one of those guys who is genuinely grounded. He's a nice guy, he's a friendly guy and the man knows how to put balls on his face.
Yes, he's one of the most well-versed actors out there in all things Motion Capture. So far I haven't seen his rival in terms of a Mo-Cap actor getting his own performance across. He gained celebrity in geekdom by playing Gollum/Smeagol in the LORD OF THE RINGS flicks and brought a heart and soul to a giant ape in KING KONG.
The below interview was a short one over the phone, but I think you'll dig it. We talk a bit about a possible addition to the KONG Extended Edition as well as his role as Tesla's (David Bowie) assistant in Christopher Nolan's upcoming THE PRESTIGE. Without any further ado, here's the man!
QUINT: I wanted to congratulate you for the shout out at the Oscars and your part in helping Weta Digital bring home the gold again.
ANDY SERKIS: Oh yeah! I didn't actually see it. I wasn't there, but I heard I got a really nice sort of shout out from Joe Letteri and Christian Rivers and so on.
QUINT: It was cool to see them really comment on how integral you were to the process.
ANDY SERKIS: Aw, cool. I must try to watch it, actually. Yeah, that's cool. That was nice of them.
QUINT: We've talked a lot in person, but I've never really chatted you up about your specific work on the film. I remember we talked a little about how you went and lived with the apes for a time, but I was kind of curious about your mindset going into KING KONG. I mean, with Gollum, no matter what you could speak. You could give a performance that way and not be too worried about being buried under the effects. Were you at all worried that with KONG you wouldn't have that fall-back?
ANDY SERKIS: Well, I think... Before the whole notion of using facial motion capture really came into being a reality... Again, it was kind of a voyage of discovery, a different one to Gollum because, obviously, that hadn't been done before. But once I knew Pete (Jackson) really loved the idea of using facial motion capture... No, not at all. I didn't worry about it in the slightest. When I saw that first facial motion capture test, it proved so much that the acting choice would come through and that all the research that I had done would actually be fully realized.
So, no I didn't worry about it all.
QUINT: Is there any piece of your Kong performance that had to be cut from the feature version that you'd like to see on the Extended Edition in the future?
ANDY SERKIS: Yeah, there are some scenes. There's a scene where Kong and Ann... It's just after the T-Rex fight and he's going towards his lair. He comes across a stone statue of a gorilla where almost kind of becomes self-aware, for the first time, of his size and the improbability of him ever really being able to relate to her. He sees himself and almost has a moment of self-loathing as he sees himself compared to the size of Ann. And the fact that although these incredible emotions that he's never felt before, or that he's never grown up feeling before, you know... he sees himself and the improbability of them ever kind of amounting to anything, I guess.
QUINT: I was actually going to bring that scene up. I saw some artwork of it a while back of Kong looking royally pissed off at this giant stone statue of one of his forefathers.
ANDY SERKIS: Right, right! Exactly. He really does become aware of his ugliness, if you like.
QUINT: I also wanted to touch on a project you're doing now, playing David Bowie's assistant in THE PRESTIGE.
ANDY SERKIS: Yeah!
QUINT: Sounds like it'd be so much fun. Have you done that already?
ANDY SERKIS: I haven't, I haven't. I've done some scenes. I've done my scenes with Hugh Jackman. I've got my scenes with David Bowie coming up next week, actually, so I fly back to LA and I start filming next week with him. That'll be so exciting.
QUINT: That's so cool, man. I'm a child of the '80s, so Bowie's been with me from an early age because of LABYRINTH. Then his music... I just can't wait to see him play Tesla. He's a perfect match for that...
ANDY SERKIS: Isn't he just, yeah! He's perfect casting. Really cool.
QUINT: You're playing his assistant, right?
ANDY SERKIS: That's right. I'm playing this character called Roger Alley who's kind of... He's very kind of defensive of Tesla and the AC current, you know, because of the DC current. (laughs)
[Got a "Last Question" warning from the "the man"... well, it was "the woman" in this case, but you know what I mean]
QUINT: What's your favorite dirty joke?
ANDY SERKIS: Oh, God! Don't go there, man! (laughs) I can't! I can't say it. It's just not proper!
QUINT: Proper? Have you been to AICN before?
ANDY SERKIS : (laughs)
QUINT: Okay, replacement question. What else do you have on your plate besides THE PRESTIGE?
ANDY SERKIS: What I'm actually, Eric... What I'm actually getting together to sort of direct my first film. It's based on an autobiography by a guy called Stephen Smith. The book's called ADDICT and it's an amazing survival story of this young, middle-class Jewish boy, a kind of low middle-class Jewish boy, in the '50s who is put away in a mental institution by his parents for a petty crime. He ends up becoming a Dexatrine addict and over the next 26 years his life goes on this incredible journey, really.
So, I'm in a kind of very early stage of preproduction on that. That's gonna come up. Towards the end of the year we hope to be shooting.
QUINT: Are you going to have a role in the movie?
ANDY SERKIS: No, no. I'm just going to direct.
QUINT: Thanks for your time, man...
ANDY SERKIS: Sorry I couldn't come up with a dirty joke! I'm just not quick enough on the jokes!
And there you have it, squirts! The interview was cut off pretty quickly, but there were a few good nuggets in there I think. I really can't wait to see that extra KONG stuff. Hopefully we'll get an official confirmation of the Extended Kong DVD in the near future. We got the swamp scene and now the above mentioned scene that would be badass to see back in the film.
Thanks for reading. Be back soon with more goodies, I promise.