"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Actor turned filmmaker Andy Serkis, best known for playing the motion-capture being that brought the creature Gollum to life (and voicing the character as well) in "The Lord Of The Rings" films, has been tapped to direct a live-action mo-cap adaption of George Orwell's classic allegorical novella/cautionary political fable "Animal Farm." Serkis, who is reprising his role as the fictional character in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" prequels, seems to have had an eye on feature-length filmmaking for some time now, having directed second-unit on all three 'Hobbit' pictures.
Serkis is turning into a motion-capture cottage industry as he arguably has more experience in the field that most other actors. Apart from Gollum, Serkis also played Captain Haddock in "The Adventures of Tintin," and helped give astonishing emotive weight to Caesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." Having worked front and center in the genre, alongside Steven Spielberg, Jackson and Rupert Wyatt, the actor/director has not only acted with some of the best filmmakers in the world, but also taken part in arguably the most significant and groundbreaking films in the world of motion-capture. Clearly he's now ready to innovate on his own.
“I think we found a rather fresh way of looking at it,” Serkis told the Hollywood Reporter. “It is definitely using performance capture, but we are using an amalgamation of filming styles to create the environmments. 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.” One can argue it's almost impossible to separate the damning politics from Orwell's must-read novella, but hopefully whatever the filmmakers have in mind won't dull it's incisive message.
You can watch the animated 1954 version of "Animal Farm" in its entirety below. [THR]