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There is perhaps no other character in Middle-earth as complex as Gollum. Both reviled and revered, he is a critical link in The Lord of the Rings universe.

Andy Serkis, the gifted British actor responsible for bringing this unique antihero to life, sees Gollum as a rare opportunity.

Not only does the role present Serkis with extensive emotional depth and physical demands, but under the direction of Peter Jackson, Gollum is also a cutting-edge mix of acting craft and computer-enhanced effects.

Was it daunting to take on such a famous--or some might say infamous--character?
Not so much before, but as I started the job everyone was saying, "Phaw! Gollum! What a great character!"

What's the appeal?
Everyone has their own interpretation of the character, whether you love him or hate him. The number of people I've met who can quote him verbatim from the book is a bit alarming.

How did you get involved in this project?
My agent told me they were casting for the voice of Gollum. I hadn't read The Lord of the Rings, but I read the script and realized what an amazing role it was. I developed a voice for the audition tape, then met Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh at the auditions and fell in love with them both. Then, fortunately, I was offered the role.

Of course, the voice is just one element of Gollum, correct?
When I first came out to New Zealand for principal photography, the focus was on voicing Gollum. But Peter wanted Gollum to be the most interactive digital character ever made for a movie, with a combination of live action and digital animation.

What did that mean for you?
Peter wanted Gollum to be actor-led. Peter wanted Frodo and Sam looking into Gollum's eyes, rather than to a tennis ball on a stick. So, I soon found myself on set at Mount Ruapehu with Elijah [Wood] and Sean [Astin], dressed in a skin-tight lycra body suit to minimize my body size and make Gollum look emaciated. Frodo and Sam and Gollum have such a physical relationship, I don't think it could've been done any other way.