Last year, Andy Serkis scored not only with his superb performance as Caesar in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, but also by co-founding The Imaginarium, a new development studio that will utilise cutting-edge performance capture methods and old school creativity to make new films. Now, fresh off of acting as second unit director for Peter Jackson and the Hobbit films, Serkis has announced that he’s planning to direct a new take on George Orwell’s Animal Farm and an adaptation of Samantha Shannon’s Bone Season book series.
Animal Farm, Orwell’s political allegory has been adapted at least three times for the screen, but Serkis believes they’ve found a new way into it. “We’re keeping it fable-istic and aimed at a family audience. We are not going to handle the politics in a heavy-handed fashion,” he tells the Hollywood Reporter.
“It is going to be emotionally centred in a way that I don’t think has been seen before. The point of view that we take will be slightly different to how it is normally portrayed and the characters, We are examining this in a new light.”
“We are in proof-of-concept stage at the moment, designing characters and experimenting on our stage with the designs,” he says.
"It is quite a wide canvas as to how much and how far we can take performance capture with quadrupeds and how much we will be using facial capture. We are not discounting the use of keyframe animation or puppeteering parts of animals. We are in an experimental phase; it’s terribly exciting.”
With the film at an early stage, there’s no word on a release date yet, but we’re already intrigued to see what Serkis does with the story. Four legs good, two legs bad?
As for The Bone Season, the first of Samantha Shannon’s planned series is scheduled to hit shelves next August. It’s set in a dystopian London in 2059 and follows Paige Mahoney, a dream walker who can convey messages between minds. But then she’s kidnapped and swept off to Oxford, which has been kept secret for years…
“The dystopian world created by Samantha in The Bone Season series offers a fantastic setting for a truly extraordinary and thrilling narrative,” explains Serkis. “We are honoured that she chose to collaborate with us in the adaptation of her work.”
Serkis will next be seen – albeit as Gollum – in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which arrives on December 14. He’s also expected to return for Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, which will shoot next year.