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Andy Serkis Tackles Force Awakens Rumors — Is He Really Playing Two Characters?

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SerkisThere are no shortage of mysteries circling J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but in the wake of the epic first teaser, several of those mysteries have involved actor and motion-capture master Andy Serkis. We’ve known for a while that he had a role in the next Star Wars film, but details about that character have been sparse and surrounded with crazy rumors. Now Serkis has gone on record to clarify a few things, and shoot down some of those rumors.

One of the biggest Serkis-related rumors suggested that he would be playing not one, but two different characters in Force Awakens (and possibly the films that followed). Given his mo-cap background, many — including me — speculated that one role might be CGI and the other live-action. Well, no dice. “I can say I only play one character,” Serkis told EW. And don’t expect him to give you any hints about that character’s nature, either. How about those rumors that he’ll be playing an old man who looks like he has “risen from the dead”? Serkis would say only that his Force Awakens character has “been through some stuff.”

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Andy Serkis’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens Role Is Creepy And Gross

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Andy SerkisAs of the other day, we know the names of some of the characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We don’t know much else about them, but, for instance, we can stop referring to Daisy Ridley’s character as Kira and start calling her by her realm name, which is Rey, and John Boyega is not just a stormtrooper on the run, now he’s a stormtrooper on the run named Finn. Though we don’t know his name, we may now have some additional details about Andy Serkis’ character (or at least one of them?).

Don’t read on if you’re sensitive to possible SPOILERS about The Force Awakens or are just trying to go in cold. Also, don’t put too much stock in this rumor as that it all it is at this point, unsubstantiated hearsay from an unnamed source.

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Andy Serkis’ Star Wars Role May Be Bigger Than We Thought

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SerkisAfter the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer blew a hole in the Internet last week, one of the biggest mysteries centered on exactly who was providing that creepy voiceover, going on about an awakening of both the Dark Side and the Light. Many thought the voice sounded like Benedict Cumberbatch, who had obviously worked with Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams before. But HitFix soon reported that the voice instead belonged to mo-cap master Andy Serkis, and Serkis soon confirmed it was indeed him. Scuttlebutt said that he would have a small but important role in Force Awakens, but now a new rumor suggests we may get twice as much Serkis as we were expecting.

Potential spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens below!

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That Creepy Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Narrator Has Been Revealed

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SaberThere was almost no dialogue in yesterday’s first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. It was very much a teaser, a mood piece that mixed a first look at the film’s cast with some gorgeous imagery and a brand-new bit of John Williams score. But helping to set that mood was a short but effective bit of voiceover narration. An ominous voice declared, “There has been an awakening. Have you felt it? The Dark Side…and the Light.” It was creepy as hell, but it also posed a mystery: just who was it that was speaking, both in terms of the actor and the character? Well, now we may have an answer…about the first part, at least. Here’s the trailer so you can hear the voice in question again.

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Caesar Will Be A Mythic Moses Figure In The Next Planet Of The Apes Movie

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DawnApesAs skeptical as I was about the current Planet of the Apes reboot that began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes and continued this past summer with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, they more than delivered, exceeding expectations not once, but twice. Both movies were hits, but Dawn just crossed the $700 million threshold worldwide, and we already knew that there was a sequel on the way. Much of the success of this revitalized franchise rests on Andy Serkis, who plays the ape leader Caesar in a motion capture suit, yet still manages to convey an incredible range of feeling and emotion. He’ll, necessarily, be around for the next film, and director Matt Reeves, who helmed Dawn shed some light on what we can expect to see from the character in the future.

Serkis is so vital to the movies, and so good in his role, despite being covered with layers of pixels, that he’s even being pushed in the upcoming Oscar race, which would be a first. Reeves sat down with Coming Soon, and talked about Serkis, his importance to the films, and the upcoming third (depending on how you’re counting these).

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Do Motion Capture Performances Deserve Your Awards Consideration?

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PoA_THUMBFor the most part, end of the year awards are complete and total bullshit. We could go through list of films from every single year and pick out which movie should have won and Oscar, what actor or actress deserved the Golden Globe, and point out all the best picture winners that have faded into obscurity while movies that didn’t even get a nomination have become universally regarded as classics. Awards are little more than a way for the movie industry to congratulate itself, and many serious movie fans don’t put a great deal of stock into them as anything more than a curiosity. Less than a year later I barely remember who took home what trophy. Still, with the release of Matt Reeves’ phenomenal Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the subject of praise and actors wearing motion capture suits has come up quite a bit.

The two best, most memorable characters in Dawn are computer generated apes, and it’s time to revisit the subject of exactly how much praise do we heap on actors who spend entire movies cloaked in pixels and hidden beneath layers of digital effects? Should they get as much recognition as their less-encumbered counterparts? Do they deserve to have their performances vaunted along with their fellow actors who have nowhere to hide?