Andy Serkis is a very busy actor. His turn as Gollum/Smeagol in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and now the Hobbit trilogy put him on the pop culture map. He’s currently in theaters as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He has also been tapped for an unnamed part in Star Wars: Episode VII. And in a recent interview with the DailyBeast.com, the motion capture expert talked about his dual role on Avengers: Age of Ultron.
First he has been hired as a capture consultant to work with Mark Ruffalo on his motion performance as the Hulk.
The difference for Mark this time around is that the Imaginarium, which is our performance-capture studio in London that’s providing all the performance capture for the Avengers movie, is providing education. Previously, he would’ve walked onto a set and you’ve got Thor and all the other characters in their costumes looking magnificent, and then you’d have Mark in a grey motion-capture suit playing this enormous character, so it’s about giving the actor the right atmosphere and credibility for the performance, which we did in a number of ways. We had to educate the director that the actor owns the role, and what you get on the set is what you should be aiming to put into your cut as the final performance—with the rendering coming later on.
Also, we worked with Mark in really grounding him and playing with the digital avatar before going on set so he could see himself as the Hulk before going onscreen, and we put weights and inhibitors on him to give him the sense that his arms were these big, giant wrecking balls, and so that his biceps wouldn’t intersect with his body. We equipped him. We also gave him a sound system and pitch-modulated his voice so you could hear the enormous Hulk roar coming out of these speakers, so the crew would go, “Jesus! That’s Hulk on set!” It gives Mark the sense of feeling better, and if he feels better, then he’ll be more comfortable in the performance.
When it came time to talk about Serkis’ own role in the Avengers: Age of Ultron, he was asked if he was playing Thanos.
Um…I’d have to deny THAT character at this point. But I am playing A character. I was really thrilled that Joss Whedon asked me to be involved. It’s fantastic. I’ve had a ball working with them, both as performance capture consultant through the Imaginarium, but also being asked to be in it. But I can’t say anything more!
Avengers: Age of Ultron is set to hit theaters May 1st, 2015.