Serkis paints with wild gorillas to research 'Kong' character
As reported in the New Zealand Herald August 30, 2004.
British actor Andy Serkis is going all out for authenticity in his work as the basis for the computer-animated, 15m-tall ape in the film King Kong.
The film's leading lady, Naomi Watts, has revealed that Serkis, the model for the computer-generated Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, has been to Rwanda to observe and interact with wild gorillas.
He even painted pictures with them.
"He's extraordinary, the amount of research he's done. He brought back incredible tapes of all that (gorilla) behaviour that we need to get very familiar with," she said.
Serkis was originally contracted to be Gollum's voice, but his role was dramatically expanded as he became the actor behind the creature's distinctive movements and personality.
It was tough work and, after months doing scenes connected to a motion-capture device, he suffered lower back pain.
The voice for Gollum came from a number of sources, Serkis has said. His convulsing cat choking on its own fur was one.
Watts said being able to work with Serkis on the set as Kong would help her acting.
"It would be very daunting to emote and express to that degree without a pair of eyes and a soul to react to, even though he won't be quite the size of King Kong."
King Kong is being made by Wellington director Peter Jackson.