Watch Andy Serkis Read The Hobbit in 12-Hour Marathon for COVID-19 Relief

Gollum actor Andy Serkis is returning to Middle-Earth to raise funds for COVID-19 relief by reading all of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit in a 12-hour broadcast for fans, which launched this morning at 5 a.m. ET. The actor started a GoFundMe in hopes of raising £250,000 for Best Beginnings and NHS Charities Together in the UK, which have been providing relief for those impacted by the coronavirus. With Serkis currently roughly halfway through the book, the event has raised more than £200,000 for the charities. You can learn more at the fundraising event on its GoFundMe page and you can watch the event above.

The campaign reads, "So many of us are struggling in isolation during the lockdown. While times are tough, I want to take you on one of the greatest fantasy adventures ever written, a 12-hour armchair marathon across Middle-Earth whilst raising money for two amazing charities which are doing extraordinary work right now to help those most in need in the UK: Best Beginnings and NHS Charities Together. Starting at 10 a.m. on Friday 8th May BST (5 a.m. EST, 2 a.m. PST), I’ll be embarking on a marathon reading of The Hobbit - from cover to cover, there and back again. The entire book. A Hobbitathon!"

It adds, "From an unexpected party to the last stage, join Bilbo and me on this tale of high adventure. Together we’ll face the might of the trolls, journey to the magical Rivendell, encounter the giant spiders in the labyrinths of Mirkwood, and the evil goblins living among the roots of the Misty Mountains, until we meet the dragon Smaug, and see the Battle of the Five Armies."

Serkis first joined the Tolkien franchise back in 2001 with The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring with a brief appearance as Gollum, while The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers featured his motion-capture creation more prominently. His captivating performance has caused him to be intrinsically linked with the franchise, having returned to provide motion-capture work on The Hobbit trilogy, while also serving as a second unit director on the project. Serkis' unique and impressive skills also led him to score roles in the Planet of the Apes and Star Wars franchises.

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A Lord of the Rings TV series is currently being developed by Amazon Studios. Learn more about the fundraiser on its GoFundMe page.

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