IT'S GOT to be more than a little surreal for an actor when you've played a pivotal character in the most successful trilogy in cinema history and yet, you don't actually appear on screen.
Andy Serkis obviously doesn’t mind it though, as after playing the part of Gollum in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy through the fine art of motion capture, he did it all over again for the remake of the 1933 classic, King Kong.
But it’s not just CGI that Andy’s got a face for, since King Kong he's popped up sans any computer wizardry in The Prestige, Longford and he’s now in the smart little British horror comedy, The Cottage.
Serkis plays the older and slightly smarter brother of a pair of smalltime crooks who unwisely kidnap a strongwilled moll only to end up doing battle with a psycho in the woods.
PAUL BYRNE: So, what grabbed you here – the script?
ANDY SERKIS: It was the script. This was originally going to be made five years ago. The whole comedy horror genre hadn't kicked off, and when I read the script, I saw it as a really rich character-driven piece that just descended into madness and chaos, and made me laugh, but at the same time, was kind of macabre.
I loved the sensibility of it, but then, the whole thing folded, and Paul went off and wrote London To Brighton in a weekend, and I went off to do King Kong, and it was just last year that we all reunited.
How do you personally rate King Kong. It divided the critics, and the public…
I think the expectation was slightly skewered, with many people not sure why we would remake such a classic, but the relationship between Ann Darrow and King Kong was what made the film work for me.
Your performance of Gollum changed the way people think about CGI characters forever. How do you feel about CGI now?
Lord Of The Rings was beautifully written, and Gollum was an incredible character to play. He was complex, emotional, there was depth, and that was there with Kong too. They were both lovingly nurtured, and organically put together, with me as an actor in the middle of it. And that's far removed from merely celebrating a technology, which is what I felt Beowulf was about.
Have to ask you about the Tin Tin trilogy that's being directed by Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. You're rumoured to be playing Captain Haddock…
Well, I'm definitely on it, because I'm flying out tomorrow morning to start it, but it's supposed to be secret, what character I'm playing.
And what about The Hobbit – a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, but it looks like it's going to happen soon…?
Oh, The Hobbit's definitely on now, and I can't wait to revisit Gollum.
You shot The Escapist and Sweety Barrett in Ireland – have you been back since? I'd love to get back to Ireland. I did both those films there, and some theatre too, and I'm dying to see how Dublin is. I'm sure it's all changed, what will all that money, but I'm hopeful it's still as fun as ever to hang out in…