Story of the Scene: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

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The Independent Culture

At the time, Andy Serkis thought he was going to New Zealand for three weeks of voiceover work on the follow up to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. ,/p>

Not long after his arrival he was on location, pioneering a completely new form of technology. The scene where Gollum catches fish in the Forbidden Pool is a favourite for YouTube mash-ups. The Forbidden Pool, he sings, is 'nice and cool'. Gollum cuts a disgusting figure, greyish, almost translucent skin, sibilant speech and a reptilian gate. This Gollum was thrust into being when Peter Jackson decided to use Serkis' own physicality to drive the character. Jackson's Weta Digital company used a motion-capture technique, and "subsurface scattering", to create Gollum's newt-like skin. Serkis modelled Gollum's voice on "a cat coughing up a hairball". His craving, wheedling manner was that of someone going through heroin withdrawal. The trip to the rock pool was a rare stint of onscreen acting for Serkis. At the pool Serkis, wearing virtually nothing, dipped in and out as his character tries to catch a fish. Nice and cool? No, absolutely freezing. A long way from the warm studios where Serkis had expected to be doing his voiceover work.