In the midst of an anecdote about one of his upcoming films, actor Andrew Garfield revealed that his director Andy Serkis will wear fake facial hair in conjunction with his villainous motion-capture role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Widely recognized as one of the most influential and seminal talents working in Hollywood today, audiences have been watching Andy Serkis bring digital creations like Gollum, King Kong, and Caesar the Ape to life for 16 years now. This recognition is starting to pay off in behind-the-scenes opportunities, as Serkis makes his directorial debut with Breathe, a drama starring Andrew Garfield and star of Netflix's The Crown/new Lisbeth Salander actress Claire Foy. Serkis still isn't abandoning his duties as a motion-capture performer, however, as he will be returning in a key mo-cap role for the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi come December.
In a feature piece with THR regarding the upcoming release of Breathe, Garfield spoke of his director's busy schedule, recalling a funny anecdote that shines a light on how widespread Serkis' abilities stretch. Breathe was in pre-production around the same time that Serkis was reprising his role as Supreme Leader Snoke for The Last Jedi, and the director had limited availability at that moment, having to work around the busy timetable. This led to a comical moment, as when Garfield and Foy discussing the directions of the role that they were about to take in a meeting, Serkis joined them during a break from The Last Jedi filming, with motion-capture garb and fake facial hair to boot.
"It was a really difficult discussion, and Andy tried to take part as our director, and we couldn't take it seriously! I think he's more used to wearing that outfit than regular clothes."
It's an amusing detail that doesn't really add any understanding to the character of Snoke, other than giving us a look into the behind-the-scenes work that goes into bringing an almost completely digital character to life. Serkis, who is more than likely just as comfortable in that mo-cap suit than his own skin at this point, is no stranger to prosthetics or makeup. Given the amount of time it takes to apply all of that, it makes sense that he wouldn't bother to take it off during a break, even in a meeting with some of his future actors.
Along with Breathe, Serkis has been tapped for a couple years now to direct an adaptation of The Jungle Book for Warner Bros., separate from the recent Disney version that was released last year. We've only gotten a few glimpses of how Snoke will look in Star Wars: the Last Jedi, but we should be able to get a better idea as the December release date for the hotly anticipated sequel inches closer.
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