Animal Farm

You’d think all that anyone would want to talk to Andy Serkis about this week is The Hobbit, but nein, Serkis has got a lot going on, and just one of those things is The Hobbit trilogy.

In this case, Coming Soon talked to Serkis about a pair of interesting projects, Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and his own feature-directorial debut Animal Farm. Both are highly anticipated projects, so what new updates can Serkis give us on them? Let’s ask.

First of all Apes, sequel to the prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Serkis says he’s met with director Reeves and that they’ve talked about the direction of the next film and the ape rebel leader Caesar (played by Serkis):

“The interesting thing now will be how Caesar operates in this world – because of the virus that hits at the end of the first movie – and how Caesar brings an accord between the apes and the surviving humans and that’s going to be interesting where we take that.”

Production on Dawn will begin sometime in the new year for a May 2014 release.

Meanwhile, progress is moving forward on Serkis’ adaptation of Animal Farm, the classic George Orwell novel about utopia gone wrong. Step one, updating the nearly 70-year-old book to better suit a modern audience while still staying true to the source material and Orwell’s voice.

“[We’re] taking it from the point of view if Orwell were writing Animal Farm for today, where would the targets be? It’s a fairy tale and we’re keeping it as a fairy tale and a fable, which will allow us to satirically pick our target.”

Step two, perfecting the tools. Serkis also talked about the process for making the film which will combine performance capture, facial performance capture and puppetering, which will take place at Serkis’ own The Imaginarium, his London-based performance capture studio.

“Because of the way of shooting it using performance capture, you can pre-vis and you can start working on it now, so we’re very much into it in terms of character designs, concept, art department, all of that stuff is going on right now and we aim to shoot it at the end of 2013.”

Sounds like good watching. For the record, despite its renown and popularity, Animal Farm has only been adapted twice for screen, once in a 1954 animated film and then in a 1999 TV movie. So this could be interesting.

Stay tuned for more news.

Source: Screen Rant

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