Top 10 Best Andy Serkis Performances

Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean Andy Serkis has achieved incredible success, yet many don't recognize him thanks to this talented actor taking on a huge number of motion-capture roles, such as his work in "The Planet of the Apes" reboot series, and playing Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings". WatchMojo is counting down the Top 10 Andy Serkis Performances! But what will take the top spot on our list? Gollum, Caeser, or King Kong himself? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Big thanks to Robert Payes, Brennan Young, Startrekpug, Jedimperial96, Deathmatch1959 and Dusto22 for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Andy+Serkis+Performances
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All hail the king of motion capture acting! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Andy Serkis performances.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most iconic roles of English actor Andy Serkis. We’ve limited it to his film and television roles, whether they’re voice, live action, or motion capture. Unfortunately, however, that means we will have to exclude his voice work on the highly acclaimed video game, “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.”

#10: Lumpy
“King Kong” (2005)

Wait, Andy Serkis plays TWO roles in the same movie? Yep, that’s just how talented he is. While we won’t give away where you’ll find the titular gorilla on our list here, we will tell you that his portrayal of multi-tasking Lumpy seems fitting considering Serkis’ own capacity to take on multiple roles in his career. As the SS Venture’s cook, barber and surgeon, Lumpy knows how to take care of the crew. But he’s also got a bit of temper. Despite this, and what he knows about Kong and Skull Island, we know the brave sailor has a good heart – and it’s thanks to Serkis’ ability to pull off the character with style that lands him here.

#9: Mr. Alley
“The Prestige” (2006)

It speaks volumes that in a film where giants such as Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Michael Caine dominate the screen, Andy Serkis still manages to hold his own in a small, yet vital, role. As the American assistant to Nikola Tesla, who is portrayed by David Bowie, Mr. Alley introduces Robert Angier to Tesla’s revolutionary work while the magician is in his pursuit of ultimate illusion. Even in what’s basically an extended cameo, Serkis never fails to steal the spotlight.

#8: William Hare
“Burke & Hare” (2010)

Murder has never been so funny. As real life murderer William Hare, Serkis is one half of the titular duo that’s completed by Simon Pegg as William Burke. Together, the criminals make a fortune killing those who are in the later stages of their lives and selling the corpses. With something of a twisted moral compass, sharp wit, and a love of money, Hare may’ve been a shady cretin - but thanks to Serkis’ performance, we’re glad he didn’t end up at the wrong end of a noose.

#7: Ulysses Klaue
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015)

Needless to say, we were thrilled to hear that Andy Serkis would be joining the ever-expanding cast of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. In a small, but significant, part in the Avengers’ sequel, Serkis plays a particularly loathsome arms dealer named Ulysses Klaue. His brief appearance shows us both sides of Klaue; on the one hand, he’s a calculating and resourceful businessman. On the other, he’s got a vile temper and short fuse, and Serkis’ sinister quirkiness is perfect for the role. A villain completely un-intimidated by the astonishing characters and events around him, Serkis is a perfect fit for the Marvel Universe, and we can’t wait to see more of him in Marvel’s 2018 film, Black Panther.

#6: Martin Hannett
“24 Hour Party People” (2002)

This comedy drama tackles several decades of the music scene in Manchester, beginning with the punk rock of the 1970s. While following the career of news reporter and Factory Records head Tony Wilson, we are introduced to Martin Hannett, a real-life producer who is played by Serkis as a straight-faced, but utterly brilliant, lunatic. Though Hannett’s work with Joy Division soon brings success to the label and the band, it is the character’s obsession with recording silence and his belief in his own genius that are actually the highlights of the performance itself.

#5: Captain Haddock
“The Adventures of Tintin” (2011)

Halfway through the list and we finally encounter a motion capture character! In this modern Steven Spielberg epic, Serkis plays Tintin’s adventurous and regularly drunk sidekick, Captain Haddock. Despite his shortcomings, of which there are many, this sea-farer lives to reclaim the treasure of the Unicorn, a vessel that his ancestor sank to the bottom of the ocean to keep out of the hands of his mortal enemy. Haddock’s is ultimately a tale of redemption and perseverance, and Serkis pulls it off superbly with his trademark vocal enthusiasm!

#4: Ian Dury
“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” (2010)

In this biographical film, Serkis portrays new-wave musical pioneer Ian Dury. Does the title sound familiar? The movie is named after the Dury song of the same name, which is reportedly the inspiration behind the phrase in pop culture. Meanwhile, in the movie, Serkis presents Dury as a tragic figure, and shows how he struggled to live with a crippling case of polio. By depicting the grit of punk rock and the pain of having to face such a vicious disability, all the while setting landmarks for music in general, Serkis’ performance can only be described as a visceral, but beautiful, tribute.

#3: Kong
“King Kong” (2005)

Through the direction of Peter Jackson and Serkis’ masterful skills with motion capture, The King of Skull Island was revitalized in the most spectacular of ways in 2005. By spending time observing gorillas at London Zoo, as well as in Rwanda, Serkis was able to portray the giant ape with incredible authenticity. He also convinced us that the beast just so happened to be really good at kicking the crap out of dinosaurs. Though we’ve already sung the praises of Serkis’ Lumpy on this list, it’s Kong that we feel for the most. And despite the destruction he causes, it’s so painful to see the legendary primate’s fate unfold that we’re the ones who are left feeling like monsters in the end.

#2: Caesar
“Planet of the Apes” franchise (2011-)

We should be thankful because, without the groundwork that “King Kong” laid down, we may not have gotten the awesomeness that is Caesar! After inheriting the properties of a drug meant to cure Alzheimer’s from his mother, the future ruler of the apes is born. Caesar’s increased intelligence leads him to rally his fellow captives in a total takeover of the world. It’s a multi-layered character capable of both mercy and violence, and Serkis’ incredible performance allows for every word spoken to echo like a war-drum. This leaves no room for doubt that you’re indeed looking at the king of the planet of the apes!

Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

John D’Auban
“Topsy-Turvy” (1999)


David
“The Cottage” (2008)


Supreme Leader Snoke
“Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” (2015)



#1: Gollum
“The Lord of the Rings” & “The Hobbit” franchises (2001-03; 2012-14)

This is the role that all subsequent motion capture performances will likely be compared to, and for good reason. A slave to his obsession with the One Ring of Power, this iconic creature blew audiences away with his signature voice, creepy appearance, and unnervingly sympathetic character. Serkis plays Gollum’s schizophrenic-like nature to perfection, by showing us both the monster and the fragments of the innocent soul left inside. Even among the epic battles and jaw-dropping landscapes found in these franchises, there’s simply no arguing that the former hobbit known as Sméagol wouldn’t have been as utterly and unforgettably “precious” without Serkis’ voice and performance.
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