Andy Serkis Voiced 132 Different The Lord of the Rings Characters

Actor Andy Serkis's breakout role came by providing the motion-capture and vocal performance of Gollum in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with the years since seeing him score a number of other coveted and compelling roles, though his passion for Middle-earth is undeniable. The actor recently recalled the experience of recording the audiobooks for not only J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but also for The Hobbit, which required him to play 132 different characters over the course of the epic adventures, which also presented some challenges when it came to remembering how to voice them over the entire experience.

"I have to say, I've played some pretty physical parts in my time, but sitting in front of a microphone for six weeks to record The Lord of the Rings in entirety was, I think, one of the most draining and mentally exhausting ... Audiobooks, they're not easy things, I mean I'm a physical actor, but actually, it's a test all on its own," Serkis recalled on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. "And the levels, the emotional journey, and also I was channeling my friends who I've acted with for some of it and making up new voices, as well."

The actor then went on to demonstrate how he used his own stature and physicality in relation to the microphone to be able to quickly recall the specific vocal performances of each character.

"Some of them only appear once and you wing it, in a way, and improvise, but then other characters obviously return and the only way that I could really, really remember everybody was by a physical approximation to where the microphone was," the actor expressed.

Back in the early days of the pandemic, Serkis hosted a charity event in which he read The Hobbit during a livestream event, with the actor also recalling what motivated that project and the challenges he faced during it.

"I literally had four two-minute breaks throughout the whole thing, because I wanted it to feel like ... The whole idea behind it was to take everybody, like you said, everyone was trapped indoors, nobody could go anywhere," Serkis reflected. "What better than to go on a quest, on a journey, inside your mind? And I thought, if I could at least take kids off parents -- must have been going crazy at this point, sit them down -- my whole thinking was, if they could sit their kids down and listen for eleven hours, it would let them get off and do something else."

Middle-earth fans will next be able to check out the TV series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power when it premieres on Amazon Prime Video this September.


What do you think of Serkis' performances in the franchise? Let us know in the comments below!