Andy Serkis is obsessed with the animal kingdom. Not happy playing all primates great and small in King Kong and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes , his next move behind the camera will reportedly see him rework George Orwell’s barnyard epic, Animal Farm .
“I think we found a rather fresh way of looking at it,” says Serkis in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) . “It is definitely using performance capture, but we are using an amalgamation of filming styles to create the environments.”
The adaptation will be the first film from Serkis' London-based performance-capture studio, The Imaginarium. It will also mark the actor's directorial debut proper, following his second-unit work on The Hobbit trilogy.
Telling the story of a farmyard coup spearheaded by a power-crazed pig named Napoleon, Orwell’s allegorical tale mirrors the circumstances that led to Stalin’s rise to power, although it seems as though Serkis isn’t planning to go into the politics too deeply.
“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 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. We are examining this in a new light.”
Just how you can retell Animal Farm without bringing the politics to the forefront remains to be seen, although the ‘50s animation already presented a moderately sanitised version of the original text. In any case, we can at least expect it to look rather special, with Serkis toying with the idea of doing some of the mo-cap acting himself.
“It might well be that I do, but nothing is set in stone yet," he says. "At the moment I’m very fixed on the creation of the characters and world from a directorial point of view."