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Feature Filmmotion capture

Andy Serkis to direct Mo-Cap “Animal Farm”

Performance-capture actor Andy Serkis (Tintin, Lord of the Rings, Rise of The Planet Of The Apes), who recently directed second unit on Peter Jackson’ The Hobbit, is developing a mo-cap version or George Orwell’s Animal Farm for himself to direct. The Hollywood Reporter says Serkis bought the movie rights to the novel and is currently producing, through his own London-based studio Imaginarium, a proof of concept film.

This is NOT the worst idea I’ve ever heard… In fact, I’m apt to trust his judgement on this one. Serkis certainly knows what he’s doing with the mo-cap technique. He may be one of the few working in films who does. He just might pull it off.

(Thanks, Liam Scanlan)

  • Toonio

    A terrific book brought to life through a great medium.

    This is a story EVERYBODY should know about.

    Godspeed Mr. Serkis.

  • Baron Lego

    So I guess the motion capture will be used for the pigs when they start walking around on two legs?

  • My guess is that under Mr. Serkis’ supervisions, THIS version won’t have the happy, uplifting, and dishonest ending the original version had. That’s gotta be a good thing.

    By the way, in case there’s anyone here who didn’t know this, the British film board gave the original version an “X” rating despite the saccharine sweet ending.

  • hotdogface

    I don’t like mo-cap when it’s used as a replacement for character animation, but Andy Serkis seems to know more about it than anybody, so I trust his judgment.

  • Liam Scanlan

    FYI Nick, Andy Serkis himself said it’s going to be a family film.

  • TJR

    A family film can still have a sad or downbeat ending.

  • akira

    based on the poster, I’ll go see it!

    • hellohue

      That’s from the 50’s cartoon made by Halas & Bachelor. If you’re not familiar with it I’d really recommend checking it out. The animation isn’t stellar Disney, but otherwise it’s a great film and a good adaptation.

  • Alissa

    Actually, this is probably one of the best stories to use mo-cap for. Perfect for underscoring the creepier moments if they make it deliberately off. Heck, use mo-cap for the animals while they’re still acting like animals, ratchet that creepy up!

  • Joel

    I’d actually see this. I look forward to its release. C:

  • Jon H

    I like Serkis and think Animal Farm is one of those stories that needs to keep being told, but I have to wonder why he thinks MoCap is best for this story. I mean, the characters are mostly animals, is he going to have a bunch of people in suits acting like pigs, horses and sheep?

  • Sarah J

    I’m not really a fan of mo-cap, but I think it can really work for something like this.

  • Bob

    I wonder how good he will be able to make it look when no animator with an once of talent or pride is willing to work with him after his “digital makeup” comment. Remember Andy, you can’t mocap eye.

  • Seriously?

    George Orwell *and* Motion Capture? Could this get any more awesome? Kids just love George Orwell. I hope Serkis covers some other family Classics after this like Moby Dick, or maybe War and Peace.

    Sounds Magical.

  • This sounds great only because I didn’t see Robert Zemeckis mentioned anywhere in regards to this. Remember when he made good movies? His mo-cap crap was all terrible. My little sister was terrified of the Polar Express and I can’t blame her.

  • Everyone should try and see the original Halas and Batchelor version. Billed as the first british animated feature it really deserves the attention of those that have not already seen or heard of it.

  • Mel

    Andy Serkis is not without talent but next time should seek a property without the “family film” mandate.

  • He should’ve bought the rights to Will Self’s ‘Great Apes’ instead

  • derik

    I dunno about this:

    serkis: “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,” “It is going to be emotionally centered 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.”

    But Animal Farm is all about politics!

  • Hansje

    I have all the confidence in Mr. Serkis, but “Animal Farm” in MoCap? I’ve been working with motion capture for almost 10 years now, but all the animals I did had to be keyframed. Curious to see how Mr. Serkis is going to use this on the animals. It worked on “King Kong”, but on pigs and cows…?

    • John A

      Well, TNT did a live action version with live animals and puppets, and they didn’t seem out of place. I’m interested to see what Serkis has in mind.

      Also regarding one of the earlier posts, the Halas and Bachelor version is far from perfect, but it’s ending could hardly be called sugary sweet. Boxer still gets taken off to the glue factory and the pigs start getting chummy with humans. they just add a few more minutes to the film where the animals rise up, storm the house, and drive the pigs out. The film ends with the animals standing defiant, an uplifting ending, but hardly a saccharine one. Dishonest perhaps, compared to Orwell’s ending where we’re left with the sad truism that the more things change, the more they stay the same (or get even worse.)