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.
Tag: Andy Serkis (1-10 of 12)
Andy Serkis has completed his zoo of actors that will voice his adaptation of Jungle Book: Origins for Warner Bros.
Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan, Peter Mullan, and Serkis himself will all join Benedict Cumberbatch as the animal characters in the feature, which mixes together motion capture, CG animation, and live action. Bale will voice the fearsome panther Bagheera; Blanchett, the sinister python Kaa; and Serkis, the beloved Baloo the bear. Mullan, Harris, and Marsan will all voice members of the wolf pack that raises Mowgli, and Hollander will play Tabaqui, the underling jackal of Shere Khan (Cumberbatch).
In addition to the voice actors, Bad Words star Rohan Chand has been cast as the human boy Mowgli. Callie Kloves wrote the script based on Rudyard Kipling’s short stories for the film, which is a completely different take from Jon Favreau’s equally star-filled Jungle Book film over at Disney.
Cumberbatch is the first voice lead to join the film, which is being directed by Andy Serkis. Disney is also working on a Jungle Book film, titled The Jungle Book and directed by Jon Favreau. That film is set to arrive in theaters Oct. 9, 2015, while Jungle Book: Origins won’t be released until Oct. 21, 2016.
Warner Bros. didn’t immediately return EW‘s request for comment.
Andy Serkis is the star of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the weekend’s top film, and his performance as the first great ape is drawing attention—again—for his unique brand of artistic expression that fuses drama with digital effects. Some even think it deserves to be considered for an Academy Award. Yet in most serious cinematic discussion, his genius is frequently discounted: Yes, he’s amazing as Gollum and Kong and Caesar, but if only he could nab a real-person role that unleashed his gift and let us see the real him.
Folks, Serkis isn’t stuck in some motion-capture ghetto; he’s constructing an empire. Three years ago, he founded Imaginarium Studios, which has become the go-to outfit for mo-cap production and expertise. Not only has the special-effects company attracted attention to Serkis’ plans for Animal Farm and Jungle Book film projects, but Serkis has been recruited for the upcoming Star Wars and The Avengers sequels. READ FULL STORY
There’s a lot at stake with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: human supremacy on a post-apocalyptic Earth, the well-being of a 45-year-old franchise property… the summer box office.
With ticket sales down across the board, Dawn finds itself in the once unlikely position of summer savior. The 2011 reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which starred James Franco and Andy Serkis as the motion-capture Prometheus ape, Caesar, was a solid critical and popular hit, grossing $176.7 million.
Expectation are much higher for Dawn, which is set 10 years after the events of Rise. Humanity has been devastated by the simian flu, leaving Caesar and his tribe of apes to prosper in the woods outside San Francisco. In the decaying urban landscape, however, are a ragtag group of human survivors, led by Jason Clarke, who wants to live in peace with the intelligent apes, and Gary Oldman, who plays an ape-hating fascist who wants a war while man still has the advantage.
Serkis, once again, is the major star. Since playing Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, he’s become the Olivier of motion-capture, breathing life into pseudo-CG-animated creations like King Kong. With the even more-advanced technology and his finely-tuned artistry, you can expect another flurry of essays urging the Academy to recognize excellence in this growing field. “Despite all the obscuring layers of digital trickery, the actor manages to convey an impressive physicality and array of emotions, from hope to grief to rage,” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty, in his review. “I won’t spoil which side wins the interspecies showdown, but when it comes to who does the better acting, the apes carry the day, (hairy) hands down.”
Read more from EW’s review, as well as a round-up of other notable critics, below. READ FULL STORY
'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes': See Andy Serkis and others go ape in this side-by-side special-effects video -- EXCLUSIVE
Like its predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes and unlike such classic works of American cinema as Every Which Way But Loose, Dunston Checks In, and MVP: Most Valuable Primate, Matt Reeves’ upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes features no actual apes whatsoever. Rather than going for flesh-and-blood primates, the filmmakers once again opted for zeroes and ones. The digital makeup is being sculpted in three-dimensions by the wizards of Weta Digital and overlaid onto performances by Velcro/spandex-suited actors like Andy Serkis and Toby Kebbell. “I’ve seen an entire cut of the movie without any special effects whatsoever,” says Serkis, who once again plays the apes’ leader, Caesar. “It’s amazing to watch as Weta’s work comes in and we’re transformed.”
Check out the exclusive behind-the-scenes footage below showing split-screen comparisons of the film’s actors before and after their special-effects makeovers. READ FULL STORY
Ten years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, mankind is on the brink. Four years of a deadly virus, followed by several years of civil war, have left our species on the verge of extinction. Thus, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes feels almost like The Walking Dead for a small band of survivors led by Jason Clarke and Keri Russell. But when they wander into the woods, the group doesn’t encounter zombies — they discover a nascent ape society living in peace.
In the new trailer for the sequel, we finally get to see what Caesar has built in the forest — and what he’s willing to do to protect his growing family. Clarke plays the Good Human, who thinks that apes and people can co-exist and help each other during these dire times. Gary Oldman, on the other hand, blames the apes for the plague and has lethal weapons at his disposal if a war breaks out. You know where this is heading. Visit the Statue of Liberty while you still can.
Watch the new trailer below, which will have you rooting for the apes. READ FULL STORY
As a title, Rise of the Planet of the Planet of the Apes was a little premature. The 2011 reboot, starring James Franco and Andy Serkis’s magic, was a stealth blockbuster, but the movie doesn’t exactly end with ape global supremacy.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, on the other hand, might be ready to deliver. In a new TV teaser that premiered during last night’s Walking Dead, we get to see apes riding horses — a notable visual touchstone for those who remember Charlton Heston’s first dust-up with the filthy apes.
It looks like a man-versus-ape world, with the latter poised to take over following years of human disease and civil war. “You know the scary thing about ‘em?” says the voiceover in the new teaser. “They don’t need power, lights, heat, nothing. That’s their advantage. That’s what makes them stronger.”
Watch the clip below: READ FULL STORY
Andy Serkis — also known as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies and The Hobbit’s second unit director — is set to take a break from the Tolkien universe to direct the live-action The Jungle Book from Warner Bros., according to The Hollywood Reporter.
This will be the actor’s feature directing debut. Babel director Alejandro González Iñárritu was previously in the running to direct.
This The Jungle Book is one of two Jungle Book films in the works right now — the other is being made by Disney.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a tale of two risky quests. The first quest is the one on the screen, which sends Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), and 12 compact compatriots off toward Lonely Mountain. The second is the filmmaking odyssey for the cast and crew led by director Peter Jackson, who won fame and glory in Middle-earth with the Lord of the Rings trilogy but found a different combination of challenges in adapting this earlier Tolkien epic.
A key figure in Jackson’s odyssey is senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri, the director of Weta Digital and a four-time Oscar winner (Avatar, King Kong, and the second and third Lord of the Rings films) who may add a fifth thanks to his latest Middle-earth nomination (which he shares with Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White). EW caught up with Letteri to talk about the changing face of digital effects and its unexpected journey toward the spiritual center of acting craft. Also, check out a new sizzle reel of The Hobbit, a film that racked up $956 million in worldwide box office, which among Tolkien adaptations bows only to Return of the King, the 2003 finale of the first trilogy that took in $1.1 billion and won the Oscar for Best Picture.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The first Lord of the Rings film opened a little more than 11 years ago but it’s amazing how far digital effects have leaped in that span. For you, when you look back at your path, what do you see that’s unexpected?
JOE LETTERI: The nature of it, the true nature of the work. We’re just in the early days of understanding what facial expression means of how people relate to each other. I know people focus on the technology, like the motion capture, but really when you look at a lot of this and you try to tease out what the meaning is, you figure out that it comes down to trying to understand expression and the way people relate to each other. That’s drama, that’s the heart of what actors do. We work with actors to distill that and to bring it to these new characters. With Hobbit we had a chance to do it with six characters with speaking lines — there was over 20 minutes of dialogue for these characters. READ FULL STORY
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