Andy Serkis is going back to Middle Earth – but not in the way you might think. The actor, who has lent his voice to Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Hobbit film, will be narrating J.R.R Tolkien’s work in a brand new series of audiobooks.
Harper Collins will be releasing an unabridged audiobook of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in three parts this September, and have managed to secure a deal with Andy Serkis to voice the entire cast. The Lord of the Rings star spent many weeks alone in a sound booth to complete the recordings.
In a statement via Bookseller.com Andy Serkis said Walking back into Middle Earth over 20 years after his first life-changing adventure brought him equal measures of pure joy, sheer madness, immense pleasure, and a level of psychological and physical fatigue he has never quite experienced before.
This isn’t the actor’s first foray into audiobook narration. Last year, Andy Serkis read for an audiobook version of Tolkien’s The Hobbit after resounding success with The Hobbitathon. The 11-hour, live cover-to-cover reading of the classic book garnered approximately 650,000 listeners and raised over £300,000 for Covid-19 relief in the United Kingdom.
Andy Serkis then performed a new recording of The Hobbit audiobook, under the guidance of veteran producer Garrick Hagon at ID Audio. The project was executive-produced by HarperCollins’ editorial director for audio, Fionnuala Barrett. The same team has reunited to bring Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to a new generation of listeners.
After completing the recording process for the audiobooks, Andy Serkis said it was a phenomenal privilege to have had the opportunity to read this sublime work once more. He only hopes that he has done it justice and that the listening experience conveys the power and beauty of J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpiece.
Deputy publishing director at HarperCollins, Chris Smith said the publishing house is proud to be the official worldwide home of J.R.R Tolkien works. Harper Collins considers The Lord of the Rings to be one of the defining books of the 20th century. The book has captivated generations of readers with its sweeping sense of adventure and the inspiring message that even the smallest can affect the greatest changes. As such, they are delighted to have Andy Serkis bring these qualities to life so brilliantly for a whole new audience.
The Lord of the Rings was first published by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien from 1954 to 1955 and has since gone on to become an acclaimed classic of modern literature. Set in Middle-earth, the story began as a sequel to Tolkien’s 1937 children’s book The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work. Written in stages between 1937 and 1949, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling books ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.
The series was adapted into three blockbuster films by director Peter Jackson in 2001, 2002, and 2003. The films starred Andy Serkis alongside Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Christopher Lee, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, and Hugo Weaving.
The Lord of the Rings audiobooks will be available for digital download on September 16th and on CD on October 14th from all major online retailers. Recorded Books will publish the audiobook in the United States.