Andy Serkis and the Art of Motion-Capture

Wow, one of Hollywood’s greats has done it again.  Serkis just gets more involved in the film industry and he won’t stop.  With the release of the new  Star Wars The Force Awakens Trailer,  many people claimed that Benedict Cumberbatch was the voice in the trailer.  Little did people know that it was in fact Serkis who was the one behind the ominous voice.    Serkis confirmed this on  “Good Morning America” and the U.K’s “Absolute Radio.”  However, no one is certain what his role will be in the upcoming  Star Wars  film but sources say his character is essential to the  Star Wars  universe.  His screen time nevertheless will be limited.  Read More:  https://gma.yahoo.com/2-secrets-revealed-first-star-wars-force-awakens-145500919–abc-news-movies.html; and also http://www.hitfix.com/motion-captured/we-can-reveal-the-true-identity-of-the-mysterious-narrator-of-the-star-wars-trailer.

It is no surprise that many fans  (including myself)  believed the voice of the trailer was Benedict Cumberbatch.  After all Cumberbatch has also been heavily involved with movies lately.  He has worked with Abrams in the past performing as the menacing Khan in 2013’s  Star Trek Into Darkness.  As we all know, Cumberbatch will once again voice the frightening Smaug in  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.  He too has dealt with motion capture much like Serkis has throughout his career.

Andy Serkis has changed the way we view movies today.  His outstanding performances as the evil Gollum in the  The Lord of the Rings Trilogy  and  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey  and his amazing ape-like routine as Caesar in the newly rebooted  Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes  shows just how incredible motion-capture technology really is.  He is even assisting Mark Ruffalo and James Spader on both the animations of the Incredible Hulk as well as Ultron in the impending Marvel movie  Avengers Age of Ultron.  He himself will also appear in the film and is rumored to be a famous titular character in the Marvel Comics:  Ulysses Klaw.  Though not confirmed, he will no doubt make a capable villain if he is in fact Klaw.

Serkis’s work cannot be understated.  He keeps himself busy and has been in many different types of films.  I’ll bet most people do not know that he played King Kong in the Peter Jackson reboot (as well as his appearance role Lumpy the Cook).  Serkis has also directed film shorts and will direct the upcoming Warner Bros live action remake titled Jungle Book: Origins  which will be released on Oct. 21, 2016.

I recently read an interesting article in an interview that Serkis had back in July.  He mentions how motion-capture technology works and how it has changed filmmaking.  Serkis was asked how the system is performed while wearing the “suit” and the technology that goes with it.  Serkis stated,  “If you’re in a motion-capture studio, you have spherical, reflective markers, which are picked up by cameras that emit infrared light—it reflects it, and then the cameras pick up the data. These suits, because you’re outdoors and have sunlight and powerful film lights, the lights have to generate that light to be picked up by the cameras, so it’s the opposite way, really.”

Serkis continues by reassuring how dedicated he is in every role he performs whether he uses motion capture or not:  “Performance capture is just a technology that picks up everything you’re doing, but in terms of embodying the role physically, mentally, and doing all the research, you do that with any character you play as an actor. We are creatures of imagination and trick ourselves into believing we’re murderers, lovers, etc., so what you wear is just a superficial coating.  I’ve never drawn a distinction between doing a motion-capture performance and one without motion-capture technology, because it’s just a different set of cameras.”  To read more on his interview and his performance as Caesar please visit  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/08/motion-capture-maestro-andy-serkis-on-dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-and-revolutionizing-cinema.html.

Andy Serkis is no doubt in my mind the maestro of motion capture.  He really does bring out his best performance with the enhancement of the technology.  He is someone who I believe often gets overlooked because you don’t actually see him on camera.  In my opinion he is one of the greats in Hollywood.  I just really want to know what character he’s playing in  Avengers Age of Ultron !  If he is in fact performing as Klaw, I know he will do a stand up job and give the very best he has to offer.

So what do you guys think?  Do you believe Andy Serkis sometimes gets overlooked in the roles he carries out?  Are you for or against motion-capture technology?  Share what you guys think in the comment section below!

           

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