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Andy Serkis talks directorial debut Animal Farm

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Andy Serkis has revealed that pre-production has begun on his film adaptation of George Orwell classic Animal Farm.

The movie, which was first announced in October 2012, is the first the actor has directed on his own and is also the debut project of Imaginarium, the performance capture studio he co-founded with producer Jonathan Cavendish.

Andy Serkis, The Iron Lady

© PA Images


Speaking at the Cinematic Innovation Summit (CIS) in Dubai, Serkis told ScreenDaily that pre-rendering had recently started on the feature.

"We've started pre-vis, which in the virtual world in many instances means you've already started shooting the film," he explained.

"Principal photography will take place in the middle to third quarter of next year."

The actor told summit attendees that he had directed the visualisation segments via Skype from his trailer on the set of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and that German concept artist Michael Kutsche (Alice in Wonderland, Thor, Disney's upcoming picture Maleficent and The Amazing Spider-Man 2) is working with the studio to create a striking aesthetic for the motion-capture-based production.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Angelina Jolie in Maleficent

"What we're trying to do is fairly unique," Serkis continued.

"It's going to be entirely performance-captured, so rather than photographing real animals and showing them with talking mouths, it will all be generated by the interaction between the actors playing those roles... the physicality and facial expressions of all the animals will come directly from actors' performances.

"The design for those has to work in a particular way and it's a particular heightened design look we're going for.

"We also have to find a balancing aesthetic for the environment in which we situate the characters."

Although Serkis revealed that he has signed up a "great cast", a studio is yet to come on board and he refused to name names until the financing (estimated at $50m) is completed in 2014.

The actor can next be seen in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, on which he served as second unit director.

Watch a trailer for the film, released on December 13, below:


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