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British actor Andy Serkis has been a game changer for the acting medium with his famous motion capture performances remaining highly influential. In addition, he’s been breaking ground with motion capture behind the camera. His production company, The Imaginarium, specializes in projects using this particular technique. On this day, he celebrates his 54th birthday. So, in honor of that special day, we celebrate his groundbreaking work.

Where It All Began:

Andy Serkis has been working steadily as an actor since the mid-1990s. However, his career breakthrough was “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (2002) where he played the iconic creature Gollum. Through the use of his vocal patterns and facial expressions, Serkis successfully brought Gollum to life. In addition, his transcendent acting performance sparked a debate regarding the legitimacy of non-live action performances. There was even chatter about him getting a possible Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Ultimately, he didn’t get that coveted nomination. But despite that snub, Serkis’ work in motion capture wasn’t finished. Not too long after “Lord of the Rings” came “King Kong” (2005) where he played the titular monster. Also, he re-collaborated with Peter Jackson who gave him his breakthrough with “The Lord of the Rings.”

The Birth of the Imaginarium:

Serkis’ collaborations with Jackson are what gave him the idea to create the Imaginarium. In addition, he wanted to found a motion capture company in Britain where there aren’t many. Plus, Serkis wanted to allow bolder opportunities for incoming filmmakers. It was his goal to create a place where they become more well-equipped for the film industry.


The first film under his Imaginarium label was the first in a new franchise where he’d make his mark. In the “Planet of the Apes” prequel trilogy (2011-17), he brought the character of Caesar to life. His portrayal of an experimented ape who becomes an apocalyptic war hero is one full of tremendous depth. Also, it’s a performance that generated more Oscar chatter. For “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Serkis achieved a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. However, he was still denied the Oscar nomination that continues to elude him.

A True Game Changer:

Despite getting constantly overlooked, Serkis’ contributions to the field of motion capture still remain. In addition, he has garnered plenty of respect from critics and audiences everywhere. Lastly, thanks to his work as a producer, Serkis is aiming to guide the next generation of filmmakers. While Serkis is a bold innovator, he may inspire future artists to think bolder.

What motion capture performance from Serkis is your favorite? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!