Comic-Con 2012: Andy Serkis on Playing Gollum, Directing Second Unit on 'The Hobbit' (Video)

The performance capture master tells THR that his scenes for Peter Jackson's epic were shot on the first day of filming.

Andy Serkis, the master behind performance-capture who brought Gollum to life in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, returns to the screen in The Hobbit. But not only does he reprise his role as Gollum for Peter Jackson’s epic, but he stepped behind the camera to direct the second unit of the project.

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Serkis visited The Hollywood Reporter’s exclusive video lounge at Comic-Con to talk about working on the film.

It turns out that Serkis was planning on spending only a couple weeks in New Zealand to shoot his part as Gollum, but then, about four weeks before they started shooting, Jackson asked him to direct the second unit.

"The thing with second unit on a project like this, it's not just just hand shots or picking up little bits and pieces, it's very much sharing the vision and being his eyes and ears," Serkis told THR.

The two film parts of The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, were shot back-to-back, and will be released December 2012 and December 2013.

Serkis revealed that the very first scene that was shot was the Gollum scene. "And the way we shot it was very, very interesting," he said. "Because of the nature of the scene, we shot it like a chamber piece, a chamber theater piece almost. We shot the whole scene from beginning to end, which is a 12,13 minute scene, a number of times which is pretty unusual."

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Serkis received acclaim for his work on The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which led to a big awards campaign by the studio. While he wasn't nominated, the campaign and his work on the film opened the discussion to where performance capture fits in to awards season.

"It's provided a lot of debate," he said. "In my mind, performance capture is another way of recording an actor's performance, it's a different set of cameras."

Watch THR’s complete interview above. Find all of THR’s Comic-Con interviews here.

Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford