Childhood & Early Life
Andrew Clement G. Serkis was born on April 20, 1964 to Clement Serkis, an Armenian doctor and Lylie, a British teacher. He was born in Ruislip Manor, West London, England and has four siblings.
Serkis attended St Benedict's School, located at Ealingin London, and then went on to study visual arts at the University of Lancaster. He finally made his acting debut in the play ‘Gotcha’ by Barrie Keeffe. This was a turning point in his life as he discovered his true passion for acting.
In his final year at the University of Lancaster, he did a one-man performance of his adaptation of the graphic novel, ‘The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman’ written by Raymond Briggs.
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Serkis started his acting career at Duke's Playhouse in Lancaster in order to get his Equity card. On receiving the card, he performed in multiple plays under the tutelage of Jonathan Petherbridge.
He got his first major theatre role in 1989 when he was cast in a production of ‘Macbeth’, while working for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. His relationship with the theatre continued throughout his career as he appeared in other productions like, ‘She Stoops to Conquer’, ‘Your Home in the West’ and ‘True Nature of Love’.
It was in 1990 that Serkis delivered a breathtaking performance at the Royal Court Theatre, London with his unique interpretation of ‘The Fool’ in the adaptation of Shakespeare's play ‘King Lear’.
In 1989, Serkis started appearing on the TV series, ‘The New Statesman’ as Peter Moran. In the same year, he was also seen in ‘Morris Minor's Marvellous Motors’ as Sparky Pluggand as Dudin in ‘Saracen’. He also got an opportunity to play the major recurring role of Owen in the British TV drama, ‘Streetwise’.
While continuing with his theatre work in the 1990s, Serkis went on to appear on a number of TV shows. He played the roles of Dean Platt and Alex Rackin in ‘The Bill’. He then portrayed Pyotr in the series ‘Grushko’, and got to play the recurring role of Tom in the 1994 crime series, ‘Finney’.
From 1995 to 1998, Andy was cast in several TV series and movies. He used the opportunity well to prove that he is a worthy member of the acting industry. During this phase, he played MEM O’Brien in ‘The Burning Deck’ episode of ‘Kavanagh QC’, and then played Potts in the movie ‘Mojo’. He was even seen playing Steven Brunos in a few episodes of the TV series ‘The Jump’.
The year 1999 catapulted Andy Serkis’ fame to another level as he was cast to play Gollum in ‘The Lord of the Rings’. He went on to portray the same role in movies, such as ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, ‘The Two Towers’ and ‘The Return of the King’.
From 1999 to 2003, for his role as Gollum, Andy Serkis spent most of his time in New Zealand. He did extensive research and had to shoot two versions of any given scene that he was part of. This was done to capture each and every movement that Serkis made using the motion capture technology, so that the digital team could use Serkis’ movements to bring Gollum alive on screen.
He also portrayed Bill Skies in the TV series ‘Oliver Twist’, and then played Michael Lawler in the crime drama series, ‘Touching Evil’. While being present in New Zealand for ‘The Lord of the Rings’, Serkis went on to play other interesting roles as well. After portraying Kasim in the miniseries ‘Arabian Nights’, he played John Thelwall in the film ‘Pandaemonium’ and Chester in the mystery thriller flick, ‘Five Seconds to Spare’.
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In 2002, his groundbreaking performance in ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ won him several awards and nominations. He repeated this feat in 2003 for ‘The Return of the King’.
In the year 2003, he first lent his voice for the character Cleanie in ‘The Simpsons’, an animated TV series, and then for Gollum in the video game, ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’. The next year, he went on to lend his voice for the characters, Smeagol, Gollum and The Witch King in the game, ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth’.
In 2005, he received critical acclaim for his performance in the movie ‘King Kong’. He also lent his voice to the character Lumpy in ‘King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie’.
Andy Serkis was cast in a number of important roles in 2006. After playing Alley in the sci-fi flick ‘The Prestige’, he portrayed Spike in the action-adventure comedy film ‘Flushed Away’, and then played Vincent Van Gogh in the series, ‘Simon Schama's Power of Art’. He was nominated for a BAFTA award for his performance as the serial killer, Ian Brady in the British TV drama ‘Longford’.
From 2008 to 2010, Andy acted in several movies like, ‘The Cottage’, ‘Inkheart’ and ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll’. He also had a recurring role in the TV series ‘Little Dorrit’ in which he played Rigaud. He also lent his voice for an important character in the game, ‘Risen’.
2011 saw the actor returning to films that used motion capture technology. He was first cast to play the lead role of Caesar in the ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, and as Captain Haddock and Sir Francis Haddock in ‘The Adventures of Tintin’.
Serkis reprised the role of Caesar in the 2014 movie ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ and his performance led him to several awards and nominations. This paved the way for him to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and fans rejoiced the fact that he was cast as the villainous Ulysses Klauein ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’.
The actor emulated his success in 2015, when he played the role of Supreme Leader Snoke in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’. He is now reprising the role in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, which is scheduled to release later this year. He also won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Caesar in ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’.
It has been confirmed that he will reprise his role of Supreme Leader Snoke in ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’, scheduled to be released in 2019, and is also playing the lead role of Ulysses Klaue in the upcoming 2018 movie, ‘Black Panther’.
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On October 27, 2017, he released his first directorial debut ‘Breathe’, through his own production company, ‘The Imaginarium Studios’. He is also working on his second directorial venture, ‘The Jungle Book’ in which he will be playing Baloo.