Andy Serkis Says He Only Plays One Character in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS; Discusses the Trailer and His Role

by     Posted 3 days ago

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Our introduction to a new era of Star Wars by way of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer was a hell of a way to kick off the marketing campaign for J.J. Abrams’ new film.  The teaser was spectacular for a number of reasons, not the least of which being Andy Serkis’ ominous narration.  There has been much speculation about Serkis’ role (or roles) in the film, given that the actor is pretty much the person at the forefront of performance-capture technology.  In a new interview with EW, the actor has spoken up a bit about the film and his character, shooting down reports that he’s playing multiple roles while also touching on how much he knew about his part in the trailer before its release.  More after the jump.

Warner Bros. Pushes Andy Serkis’ JUNGLE BOOK: ORIGINS Release Date Back a Year to 2017

by     Posted 9 days ago

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When dueling Jungle Book projects were set up at Warner Bros. and Disney, it appeared that the race was on to see which adaptation would come to fruition first.  WB had a harder time locking down a director (Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu and Ron Howard both flirted with the idea before moving on), while Disney’s almost entirely CG-animated film came together quickly with director Jon Favreau.  Eventually, Andy Serkis came aboard to make his feature directorial debut with Warner Bros.’ Jungle Book: Origins with the idea of shooting the film entirely with motion-capture, and while he assembled a swell cast that includes Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett, it appears that the movie will be hitting theaters a year later than expected as WB has pushed the Jungle Book: Origins release date back to 2017.  More after the jump.

Oscar Beat: The Best Supporting Actor Race at a Glance

by     Posted 14 days ago

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By the time the Academy Awards nominations are announced every year, there’s already been so much prognosticating and discussion about the race itself that in actuality, there aren’t a great deal of surprises.  Sure, every now and then you’ll have something like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close getting into the Best Picture race or Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow being left off the Best Director shortlist (that one still baffles me), but by and large, things mostly seem to fall into place as expected.  Where you can find many of the true surprises, though, is in the Supporting Actor and Actress categories.  This is where beloved character actors can finally get their due, or burgeoning newcomers can find themselves nominated alongside acting veterans; and these kinds of nominees actually have good shots at winning.  This year, the bench for the Best Supporting Actor category is yet again deep with talent, offering plenty of opportunities for some pleasant surprises.

After the jump, I run down the current state of the Best Supporting Actor race in this week’s edition of Oscar Beat.

Andy Serkis Talks DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, STAR WARS, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, THE JUNGLE BOOK, and More

by     Posted 19 days ago

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With Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes arriving on DVD and Blu-ray  December 2nd, I got the opportunity to sit down with Andy Serkis to talk about the film.  As I’ve said again and again, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is easily one of my favorite films of 2014.  It’s the rare commercial movie that’s deep and thoughtful and it’s also atypical in that it tells a complete story while keeping the door open for another sequel.

During the interview Serkis talked about the reception of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the challenges of performance capture, the status of the next sequel, the surprise of being included in the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, what it was like working for J.J. Abrams on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, his version of The Jungle Book, and more.  Hit the jump to check out what he said and click here to pre-order the Blu-ray on Amazon.

Rumor: Andy Serkis Playing More than One Character in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS?

by     Posted 19 days ago

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Andy Serkis is an excellent live-action actor, but when the guy behind Gollum and Caesar is cast in the new Star Wars movie, it’s hard not to assume he’s on board to play a motion capture character.  There have been rumors floating around regarding who Serkis is portraying in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but at this point, the only confirmed detail we have is that he’s the man behind the voiceover in the new teaser trailer.  Who is he exactly?  Which side is he fighting for?  We don’t know for sure, but even if we did, that might not confirm Serkis’ full involvement in the film.

A new report just surfaced claiming that Serkis is playing not one, but multiple characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Hit the jump for more.

Andy Serkis Says He Worked With Dancers to Give Ultron Life In AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON and Used Weights to Turn Mark Ruffalo Into the Hulk

by     Posted 22 days ago

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Now that we’ve seen the extended trailer, we know that Avengers: Age of Ultron will be bigger than its predecessor and, seemingly, much more cinematic.  We’ve also got a good sense of what James Spader‘s Ultron will look and act like (which was sort of a mystery to people like me who haven’t read many Marvel comics).  Andy Serkis, who we all know at this point as the reigning celebrity of motion capture (as well as narrator of the new Star Wars trailer), worked a lot on the character as well and helped shape his movements.  He recently discussed that process, along with what it takes to make Mark Ruffalo look like the Hulk.

Hit the jump to check out Serkis’ comments on the mo-cap in Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The film opens in 3D on May 1, 2015 and also stars Robert Downey Jr.Chris EvansScarlett JohanssonChris Hemsworth, Jeremy RennerElizabeth OlsenAaron Taylor-JohnsonPaul BettanyDon CheadleAndy Serkis and Samuel L. Jackson.

First STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Trailer Reveals J.J. Abrams’ Sequel

by     Posted 22 days ago

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It’s here!  Disney has released the very first Star Wars: The Force Awakens for director J.J. Abrams‘ highly anticipated sequel, which falls into the franchise as Episode VII if anyone’s counting.  As far as teaser trailers go, this one is pretty incredible.  Abrams doesn’t simply rely on nostalgia to make this thing exciting, offering up tantalizing teases through some genuinely compelling filmmaking.  As far as character first-looks go, we can clearly see John BoyegaDaisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac as seemingly “good guys” in full costume, and then an obscured baddie (Adam Driver?), complete with voiceover narration from Andy Serkis (not Benedict Cumberbatch).  The money shot of the Millennium Falcon is spectacular, and overall I’m extremely enthused to see a heavy reliance on practical locations and effects work.  This is great, great stuff.

Watch the debut Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer after the jump, and click here to check out some new hi-res images.  The film also stars Harrison FordMark HamillCarrie FisherLupita Nyong’o, Oscar IsaacDomhnall GleesonGwendoline ChristieMax Von Sydow, and more.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18, 2015.

Andy Serkis Suggests the PLANET OF THE APES Prequel Series May Span Four or Five Films

by     Posted 29 days ago

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Back in 2011, Rise of the Planet of the Apes opened with $54.8 million and went on to accumulate $481.8 million at the worldwide box office.  It made sense that Fox would want to move forward with two more films.  However, after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes kicked off its run with $72.6 million and took in a whopping $708 million worldwide, it seems as though a trilogy might not be enough anymore.

During a recent interview, Andy Serkis suggested that there’s a chance the series might not be capped at three films.  How many could there be?  Hit the jump to find out more.

Benedict Cumberbatch to Voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis’ JUNGLE BOOK: ORIGINS

by     Posted 123 days ago

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Jon Favreau’s version of The Jungle Book for Disney already has Neel Sethi, Lupita Nyong’oIdris ElbaScarlett Johansson, Sir Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and Giancarlo Esposito on board and is barreling towards an October 9, 2015 debut, but now Andy Serkis’ rendition for Warner Bros., which is now titled Jungle Book: Origins, is making some moves, too.

Serkis’ Jungle Book just locked its very first star, Benedict Cumberbatch.  He’ll voice the film’s villain, Shere Khan, a tiger who’d rather not have any humans in his territory at all.  Hit the jump for more on Cumberbatch’s casting.  Jungle Book: Origins is set for an October 21, 2016 debut.

Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK Adds Bill Murray; Warner Bros Version Gets a Release Date and New Title

by     Posted 141 days ago

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The October 9, 2015 release of Disney’s The Jungle Book isn’t all that far away, so the studio’s been casting up like crazy lately.  In the past month alone, the production has added Ben Kinglsey, Neel Sethi, Christopher Walken and Giancarlo Esposito to the line-up, and now they’ve got yet another new addition to share – Bill Murray as Baloo.  Sethi’s Mowgli will be the only actor seen on screen in the film, but he’ll be joined by a slew of CG characters including Walken as King Louie, Esposito as Akela, Kingsley as Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Idris Elba as Shere Khan and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa in addition to Murray.

We’ve also got some movement on Warner Bros. Pictures’ rendition of The Jungle Book, which is now titled Jungle Book: Origins.  The Andy Serkis-directed rendition is scheduled to make its way into theaters on October 21, 2016, almost exactly a year after the Disney film.  Hit the jump for more.

Comic-Con: Peter Jackson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom Talk THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES

by     Posted 142 days ago

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From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the third in a trilogy of films that bring the masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, to life.  It is an epic conclusion to the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves, who have reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, but have unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.  And there are even greater dangers ahead, as darkness converges on their escalating conflict, and the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must either unite or be destroyed while the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.

While at Comic-Con for a presentation in Hall H, Peter Jackson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom spoke to press at a conference, in which they talked about why the title of the third film changed, the progression of the tone, from the first film to this one, perfecting the voices of Smaug and Gollum, the creation of Tauriel, the experience of revisiting characters from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and how long it might be before any of the films get remade.  Peter Jackson also talked about why The Silmarillion will probably never get adapted for film, and how he feels about a new King Kong film.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

Andy Serkis Talks DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Deleted Scenes, Advances in Motion Capture, and How Early He Was Cast in STAR WARS: EPISODE 7

by     Posted 163 days ago

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Let me be very clear: Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of the best films of the year and a huge step forward for what can be accomplished with motion capture technology, as Andy Serkis has again delivered one of the year’s best performances.  Loaded with incredible performances all around and a great script, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the rare commercial movie that’s also deep and thoughtful.  Dawn is also atypical in that tells a complete story but also opens the door for another sequel.  As I said, Reeves has hit a massive home-run with this film and I truly hope audiences and critics embrace this special movie.  For more on the film, read Matt’s review.

At the San Francisco press day I landed a great video interview with Andy Serkis.  He talked about his reaction to the finished film, advances in motion capture and film technology, how everything you see any ape do was done by a human performer, deleted scenes, how long ago he was cast in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode 7, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Review

by     Posted 163 days ago

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Now having watched all of the Planet of the Apes movies, it’s fascinating how the series views not only history, but trying to understand why civilizations rise and fall.  While there are always the broad strokes of good (Caesar, Cornelius, Zira) and bad (Hasslein, Breck, Aldo), there’s always a concern of how these figures are followed or abandoned.  History will always have charismatic leaders and people who are motivated by fear, so how to these people guide the evolution or dissolution of a society?  Matt Reeves‘  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes perfectly captures this question by creating a microcosm of two civilizations reaching an inevitable clash and how their futures are both conflicting and intertwined.  The movie manages to take almost all the best aspects of its predecessors to create a summer blockbuster that is heartfelt, exhilarating, tragic, and profound.

“Why Cookie Rocket?” Looking Back at RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

by     Posted 164 days ago

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[With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opening on Friday, July 11th, I'm taking a look back at the Planet of the Apes movie franchise. These reviews contain spoilers.]

The Planet of the Apes movies have always been interested with time.  The original movie opens with Taylor (Charlton Heston) explaining that his spaceship’s mission isn’t to explore the galaxy, but to use Einstein’s Law of Relativity to leave Earth and return in the distant future where it might not be such a shithole (Taylor was disappointed).  From there, Beneath carried the torch to extinction, Escape traveled back in time, Conquest took a twenty-year jump to begin the downfall of humans, and Battle has a prologue and epilogue that take place in 2670 AD.  So it’s fitting that the series’ reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, would restart the clock to unload the baggage of the previous movies rather than throwing us back into the middle of the madhouse.  While it didn’t carry the heavy commentary of the original saga, Rise took a new path by putting a strong focus on family and bringing a level of spectacle far beyond what any Apes film had done before.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON – Andy Serkis Working Closely with Mark Ruffalo for Performance Capture

by     Posted 173 days ago

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Andy Serkis has appeared in some of recent history’s biggest films, though audiences rarely get to see his face.  He turned in an iconic performance as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings films, is stealing scenes as Caesar in the new Planet of the Apes films, and even took on one of cinema’s biggest monsters in Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake.  If that wasn’t good enough, Serkis is now working on a pair of highly anticipated films: Star Wars: Episode VII and Avengers: Age of Ultron.  While we don’t know exactly what roles he’ll be performing in either film just yet, Serkis recently commented on the type of work he’ll be doing.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

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