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Performance-Capture Legend to Helm ‘Animal Farm’ in 2014

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Andy Serkis is a name movie fans should know quite well, as he is THE performance capture pioneer. He has done the breathtaking performances of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings, and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He has worked in TV, video games, and movies. While he has attained great success and praise in this field, Serkis has expressed his desire to try his hand at directing. Recently he announced the project that would serve as his entry into this career path. He will be shooting an adaption of George Orwell’s beloved novel Animal Farm.

Serkis confirmed his attachment to the film and gave a status report in an interview with ScreenDaily. Acquired to Serkis, his team has started on pre-visuals and principal photography was planned to begin in the middle to third quarter of 2014. He commented further on his goals for the film, saying,

What we’re trying to do is fairly unique. It’s going to be entirely performance captured, so rather than photographing real animals and showing them with talking mouths, it will all be generated by the interaction between the actors playing those roles…the physicality and facial expressions of all the animals will come directly from actors’ performances.

The design for those has to work in a particular way and it’s a particular heightened design look we’re going for. We also have to find a balancing aesthetic for the environment in which we situate the characters. We’re experimenting shooting with live action plates but with a heightened design…it’s not just shooting in a field. We’re producing this like an independent movie. The idea is to get as far down the road as we can but eventually we expect a studio to get involved.

A cast has been finalized but the details are being kept under wraps at the moment. It was revealed that concept artist Michael Kutsche will be working on the film as well. Kutsche has previously worked on Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Thor, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He estimates that the budget for Animal Farm is somewhere around $50 million.

To say this is a very ambitious project is putting it lightly. This would be the first film where animals would be performance-captured, which is a feat in itself. While Serkis is no stranger to playing animals, playing an ape is very different then playing a pig, horse, or other types of animals. Still, given his successful track record, I have every faith Andy Serkis will pull this off.

What are your thoughts on the project? Is Serkis starting his directorial career off on the right foot? Share your opinions in the comments!


Source: Screen Daily