The Hollywood Reporter today confirmed rumors that Andy Serkis will provide the motion-capture performance for the iconic great ape in Peter Jackson’s remake of the 1933 classic King Kong. Serkis previously donned a mo-cap suit for Jackson as the Gollum character in the second and third installments of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
This time around, Jackson will also put Serkis in front of the camera without CG or makeup enhancements as a human member of the cast. He will play the role of Lumpy, a cook aboard the ship bound for Skull Island. Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody also star. Serkis was recently seen in the Jennifer Garner comedy, 13 Going on 30.
Jackson tells The Reporter that using an actor to provide the performance is not an attempt to give the giant gorilla human qualities, assuring fans that the character will retain his beastly demeanor. While the original Kong was brought to life through the handiwork of stop-motion animation pioneer Willis O’brien, the character was played by a man in a suit in Toho’s 1962 effort King Kong vs. Godzilla and Paramount’s 1976 King Kong remake, which features makeup effects master Rick Baker terrorizing New York City in a monkey suit. The new Kong, like Gollum, will be completely computer generated using a combination of motion-capture and key frame animation.
Jackson is directing Kong from a script he penned with wife and producing partner Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Universal vice chairman of worldwide production Mary Parent is overseeing the project for the studio.