Dawn of the Planet of the Apes star Andy Serkis is arguably one of the most famous actors in the world that no one would recognize on the street. The performer is best known for playing Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, but he’s also spent time as Caesar, the superintelligent ape in the Planet of the Apes reboot. Both of those roles kept the actor largely offscreen, thanks to the magic of motion capture and computers.
Serkis is doing promotional appearances for the Apes sequel (in theaters July 11) and he stopped by Conan O’Brien’s show. While there, Conan got the actor to do a hilarious bit of performance art where Gollum and Caesar discuss whether or not O’Brien is funny.
It’s amazing how effortlessly Serkis switches between the two very different voices and speech patterns. While the characters Serkis plays may be created through CG and motion capture, there’s no way anyone can deny that the heart and soul of these creatures comes from the actor’s speech work. There’s been debate over whether motion-capture performances should be eligible for Oscars or not – and Serkis’s work has always made a strong case for why these performers deserve recognition.
That’s a debate for another day, though – kick back and watch the actor do his thing in the entertaining clip above.