The Lord of the Rings’ Andy Serkis, who played raspy-voiced Gollum, admits he used to walk around on all fours to prepare for the role.
The Lord of the Rings’ Andy Serkis, who played raspy-voiced Gollum, admits he used to walk around on all fours to prepare for the role. 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the first Lord of the Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring, so nostalgia is in the air. Director Peter Jackson took J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy series and turned it into a big screen epic that still, to this day, remains a paramount achievement. The classic tale of good versus evil enchanted audiences left and right, and the final film in the trilogy, Return of the King, holds the record of the film to win the most Oscars in one night.
The Lord of the Rings is stacked with plenty of memorable characters, but the one to perhaps leave the biggest lasting impression is Gollum. Serkis provided the voice and motion capture work for Gollum, who fans know was once a hobbit named Smeagol. Over the years, however, Smeagol was corrupted by the Ring’s influence and turned into a horrifying creature. Serkis portrayed him to great success and even returned for the first installment of Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy.
Serkis recently sat down for an interview with The Guardian, where he talked about a whole manner of things. Inevitably, he had some tidbits to share about The Lord of the Rings. When prompted to fill in the blank for “I used to walk,” Serkis revealed he walked on all fours off-set to prepare for his role while filming the trilogy. “I spent a lot of time in preparation for that [as Gollum]; I would go off for walks on all fours for hours,” he said. Hilariously, Serkis also admitted this made things awkward when he ran into other people. “I did occasionally come into contact with other people, so I just had to pretend I was looking for something. It’s fair to say that’s pretty method,” he explained. Very method indeed.
Even with the motion capture, there’s no question that playing Gollum was a very physical role. Gollum doesn’t walk like a normal person, instead crawling around hunched over more often than not. To best portray this, Serkis would have needed to get very comfortable moving in unique ways. It’s clear he took that to heart and made the effort to really make it natural for himself. Serkis’ performance as Gollum is one of the highlights of The Lord of the Rings, so his method work behind the scenes definitely paid off.
Between The Fellowship of the Ring’s upcoming anniversary and Amazon’s in-development show, the Lord of the Rings series is getting extra attention these days. Amazon’s series is set thousands of years before the movies, so fans shouldn’t expect to see Gollum pop up. However, there are other Lord of the Rings characters who could make an appearance. The show itself has some pretty big shoes to fill when it comes to live-action explorations of Middle-earth, and hopefully it will make the most of the opportunity, just like Serkis did.