Serkis takes new role with 'The Hobbit'

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Andy Serkis, who voiced the creature Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films and returns in the role for The Hobbit 1 and 2, will also serve as second unit director on both of Peter Jackson's films, which went into production last month in New Zealand.

"There is really a sense of Peter [Jackson] wanting people around him who totally understand the material and the work ethic," he told The Hollywood Reporter, who made the announcement. "We have a common history of understanding Middle Earth."

Serkis will help out with directing duties for the J.R.R. Tolkien tale, including performance-capture and other footage. The films are being shot in 3D.

The actor's previous directing work has included performance-capture on video games, such as Heavenly Sword. Also, he and producer Jonathan Cavendish ( Bridget Jones's Diary) plan to launch a performance capture studio and training center, called The Imaginarium, which will also produce its own projects.

Serkis will appear in the role of Caesar in the Planet of the Apes prequel to be released August 4.

He will also play Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn with Daniel Craig, due in theaters on October 26 in the UK, Russia and Germany, and rolling out through November around the world, and on December 23 when it debuts in North America.

After The Hobbit, Serkis will direct and star in his first live-action feature film, Freezing Time, about the 19th century pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge, considered the "godfather" of cinema and a self-confessed murderer.