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Andy Serkis Spent Hours Off ‘Rings’ Set Walking on All Fours to Go ‘Pretty Method’ for Gollum

When Serkis commits, he really commits.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING, Gollum, 2003, (c) New Line/courtesy Everett Collection

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

©New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection

Andy Serkis’ recent interview with The Guardian has picked up traction thanks to the actor’s revelation that he went “pretty method” while portraying Gollum in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. As Serkis recalls, he spent hours off the set walking on all fours just like Gollum in both private and public spaces. The actor would run into people while on all fours and would have to come up with a plausible reason for being so close to the ground, such as looking for an item he dropped on the floor.

“I used to walk on all fours off set when we were filming ‘Lord of the Rings,'” Serkis said. “I spent a lot of time in preparation for that; I would go off for walks on all fours for hours. I did occasionally come into contact with other people, so I just had to pretend I was looking for something. It’s fair to say that’s pretty method.”

“The Fellowship of the Ring” will celebrate its 20th anniversary in December 2021. Serkis was 37 years old at the time the trilogy was beginning, and he told The Guardian it was a relief to be almost turning 40 at the time the trilogy’s popularity brought him career-wide recognition.

“I don’t think I could have handled the sort of fame ‘Lord of the Rings’ sparked if I’d been younger,” Serkis said. “I was in my late 30s when it exploded. I’m grateful it happened when it did. It was an extraordinary time; so many things came out of that experience and whether I like it or not that role lives with me on a daily basis. It will never go away.”

Peter Jackson revealed last year that Serkis’ performance is at the center of his favorite scene in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The scene in question is Gollum’s split-personality monologue from “The Two Towers,” which Jackson did not even direct himself.

“We were shooting ‘Two Towers’ and it was introducing Gollum,” Jackson said. “A key thing with Gollum is that most people know he’s Sméagol and he’s Gollum, it’s like a split. But we hadn’t got a scene where you really got the idea of it… ‘This guy is two people.’ So we knew that we needed it but we had no time to shoot it.”

The director continued, “Fran wrote a scene where Sam and Frodo are asleep, so they can be just lumps in the bed, we don’t even have to have Elijah [Wood] and Sean [Astin]. We didn’t have anyone to direct it, so I said to Fran, ‘You wrote it, you should shoot it.’ So she went in for a day and she wrote and directed a scene which has become pretty famous now.”

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