Andy Serkis has completed his practice run of directing by serving as second-unit director on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films, and now he’s ready to have his own go at it.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Serkis will direct, produce and potentially star in an adaptation of George Orwell’s novella Animal Farm. His plan is to use motion-capture technology to bring the animal characters in the story to life with the help of his London-based performance-capture studio The Imaginarium.
“I think we found a rather fresh way of looking at it,” he told THR. “It is definitely using performance capture, but we are using an amalgamation of filming styles to create the environments.”
He continued, “We are in proof-of-concept stage at the moment, designing characters and experimenting on our stage with the designs. It is quite a wide canvas as to how much and how far we can take performance capture with quadrupeds and how much we will be using facial [capture]. We are not discounting the use of keyframe animation or puppeteering parts of animals. We are in an experimental phase; it’s terribly exciting.”
Just don’t expect this movie to be in quite the same vein as the Orwell novel that it’s based on. From the sounds of things, Serkis is going to weed out the heavy political tones and make this a family-friendly movie, if that’s even possible.
“We’re keeping it fable-istic and [aimed at] a family audience,” he said. “We are not going to handle the politics in a heavy-handed fashion. It is going to be emotionally centered in a way that I don’t think has been seen before. The point of view that we take will be slightly different to how it is normally portrayed and the characters, We are examining this in a new light.”
For those of you who need a quick refresher, Animal Farm tells the story of a group of farm animals who end up being ruled by an absolute leader named Napoleon. The allegory intentionally parallels and satirizes the rule of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union before World War II.