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The British actor behind Gollum, King Kong and Cesar in Planet of the Apes – who made his directorial debut as a second unit helmer on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – will step behind the camera for the second time to retell Orwell’s novel and promises a “fresh” way of looking at the political satire.
Serkis said: “I think we found a rather fresh way of looking at it. It is definitely using performance capture, but we are using an amalgamation of filming styles to create the environments.”
Peter Jackson offered to mentor his camera skills on the set of The Hobbit in addition to his role of Gollum.
Orwell’s book, first published in 1945, reflects on the events leading up to and during the Stalin era before the Second World War. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Moscow-directed Stalinism at a time of popularity for the dictator. He described the book as “contre Stalin” to a friend.
But Serkis is keen to extend the political resonance of the book, with an emphasis on character-development.
He tolf The Hollywood Reporter: “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 centred 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. We are examining this in a new light.”
To distinguish his version from the 1954 animated film and the 1999 real-life animal TV movie, Serkis is considering playing one of the characters himself using motion-capture acting.
He said: “It might well be that I do, but nothing is set in stone yet. At the moment I’m very fixed on the creation of the characters and world from a directorial point of view.”