The Ninjabot

Andy Serkis Discusses His STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Character

Posted on December 17, 2014 at 12:55 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

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Our introduction to a new era of Star Wars by way of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer was a hell of a way to kick off the marketing campaign for J.J. Abrams’ new film.  The teaser was spectacular for a number of reasons, not the least of which being Andy Serkis’ ominous narration.  There has been much speculation about Serkis’ role (or roles) in the film, given that the actor is pretty much the person at the forefront of performance-capture technology.  In a new interview with EW, the actor has spoken up a bit about the film and his character, shooting down reports that he’s playing multiple roles while also touching on how much he knew about his part in the trailer before its release.

Andy-Serkis1Speaking with EW, Serkis confirmed that his voice in the trailer is that of the character he plays:

“That is the character,” Serkis says, adding that the gravelly, ominous voice is entirely organic. “There’s no digital manipulation. That’s just me.”

And what can Serkis say about his particular character?

“I have to be very careful about how I answer these questions. The character …” he says, followed by a long pause. “He’s been through some stuff.”

Despite rumors to the contrary, Serkis maintains that he is only playing one character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens:

“No that’s not true at all. I can say I only play one character.”

Given Serkis’ reputation as a performance-capture genius, can he confirm that his character will be rendered using CG technology?

“I can’t say a single thing about that. I’m sorry!” Serkis says with a massive grin. “These things will all come out in the fullness of time, I promise.”

star-wars-the-force-awakens-millennium-falcon-imax-600x419Now obviously we went through the whole “it’s not Khan” ordeal for Abrams’ last film, but I don’t really see any reason for Serkis to be lying, so I’m inclined to take him at his word that he’s simply playing one character.  However, I’d be surprised if it was simply a straightforward, live-action role.  You don’t hire the man who pioneered motion-capture technology from the perspective of the performer for Star Wars and just not take advantage of that asset.

As for the trailer itself, Serkis says he was given the heads up that he would be featured in some way but had no idea he’d be in such a significant position:

“Director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told me, ‘You’re all over the trailer,’ but I didn’t know what that meant,” Serkis says. “I thought, ‘Oh great, they’re using the voice of the character I play for the trailer. That’s fantastic.’ Not thinking what that would actually translate into.”

Serkis is currently in the midst of directing his motion-capture adaptation Jungle Book: Origins, which won’t be released until 2017, and is also preparing to return to the role of Caesar for the next Apes film, which will likely start production late next year.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18, 2015.

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