Andy Serkis, the master of motion-capture, is at it again. The Gollum actor, is doing another performance capture film. This time, however, he won’t be the one dancing around with balls glued to his face (and body). He’ll be commanding minions (actors) to do it for him.
Serkis has joined up with a London based production company called The Imaginarium to develop and direct a performance capture version of George Orwell‘s allegorical novel, Animal Farm.
If you don’t remember reading the book in high-school, or if you’re deprived of popular culture, here’s a quick refresher. Orwell’s Animal Farm is about a bunch of farm animals who come to be ruled by one very powerful pig name Napoleon, mirroring the rule of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union during World War II. Basically, it’s an anti-communism book for kids.
Wow, what an ambitious project for the would-be director to take on. Oh yeah, didn’t I mention, Animal Farm will mark Serkis’ directorial debut!
Now, keep in mind, Serkis isn’t exactly new to orchestrating things behind the camera. He’s got some cred, having been second unit director on Jackson’s return to Middle Earth, The Hobbit Trilogy. Not to mention, all the hours logged performing as Gollum (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), King Kong (King Kong), and Cesar the ape (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). The dude helped define a whole new way to look at acting. I think he’s learned a thing or two enough to make him a competent enough director.
Now, as far as Animal Farm goes, the project is still in it’s infancy. Serkis talked a little about what’s happening on the film now:
We are in proof of concept stage at the moment, designing characters and experimenting on our stage with the designs. It is quite a wide canvas at the moment as to how much and how far we can take performance capture with quadrupeds and how much we will be using facial [capture]. We are not discounting the use of keyframe animation or puppeteering parts of animals. We are in an experimental phase; it’s terribly exciting.
Sounding good so far, but then Serkis said this:
We’re keeping it fable-istic and [aimed at] a family audience. We are not going to handle the politics in a heavy-handed fashion. It is going to be emotionally centered in a way that I don’t think has been seen before. The point of view that we take will be slightly different to how it is normally portrayed and the characters—we are examining this in a new light.
Look, I love Serkis and think he’s going to kick some serious ass with this, but Animal Farm as a family film and cutting back on the politics of the story? I’m just not sure how that’s going to work, not while being true to the source.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter