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

Roger Clarke
Friday 17 July 2009 00:00 BST

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.

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