Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

What Gollum Did Next

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

What Gollum Did Next

Article excerpt


JUST short of six years since the first day's shooting of The Lord of the Rings (11 October, 1999), Peter Jackson began work this Monday on his followup: a remake of early horror classic King Kong. In doing so, he becomes the best-paid film director ever, earning $20 million for the movie (although that admittedly includes use of his state-of-the-art Weta Digital facility in Wellington, New Zealand).

The "human" roles will be played by Naomi Watts, in the role created by Fay Wray, Jack Black, as the showman who has the brilliant idea of bringing Kong to New York, and Adrien Brody as the good guy.

But, as in the Tolkien epic, most of the attention is likely to be on an actor who isn't really there: Andy Serkis, who will be doing the "stop-motion capture reference" for the CGI-animated Kong, just as he did for Gollum in LotR. There is, however, one consolation this time around: he also gets to play a real person.

Serkis - a great actor whose recent credits include the Jamie Bell horror movie Deathwatch, in which he played a bullying sergeant who ends up in a bouquet of barbed wire; and Mancunian record producer Martin Hannett in 24 Hour Party People - is also featured as the poetically named Lumpy the Cook aboard the tramp steamer Venture, which Black's character hires to take them all to Skull Island. A recipe for disaster, one might say.

Tide turns for Terry's six-year drought

YOU wait years for a new Terry Gilliam film, then two come along at once.

Well almost. With his Brothers Grimm - starring Matt Damon, Heath Ledger and Jonathan Pryce - safely in the can, the 63-year-old ex-Python will be back behind the cameras a week on Monday for Tideland, a southern Gothic tale about a nine-year-old who deals with the harsh realities of her life by retreating into a fantasy world.

Has he ever made a film that didn't have someone retreating into a fantasy world?

"No, I keep trying to understand reality, but it always defeats me. I reinvent the world so that I can handle it."

Reinventing obviously takes time: his last film to hit the screen, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was six years ago. "I'm getting older," he jokes. "I don't want to waste time any more."

Tideland is based on a novel by Mitch Cullin set in Texas, but Gilliam will be shooting in Saskatchewan, Canada, because - well, because it's cheaper than Texas.

But isn't it a little cool this time of year?

"Yes, but we'll only be outside for four weeks, then we go into the studios," producer Jeremy Thomas tells me, "and the Prairies look just like Texas."

Except, adds Gilliam, "They promised us non-stop sunshine and it's done nothing but rain for the past two weeks."

London goes to Venice

WITH an average of 27 film crews at work on London's streets every day of the year, it's hardly surprising that the capital should have featured in three of the highest-profile films at the Venice Festival. …

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