Serkis is an award-winning actor who has earned acclaim from both critics and audiences for his work in a range of memorable roles. He gained legions of fans around the globe for his performance as “Gollum” in the Academy Award®-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson. Serkis won an Empire Award for his role, in addition to sharing a Screen Actors Guild Award®. He reunited with Jackson in the director’s epic retelling of King Kong, taking performance capture to another level as the title character of “Kong.”
Most recently, Serkis directed the feature film Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which was released by Netflix in theaters and on its global streaming platform. In addition to directing the film, Serkis also played the character “Baloo.”
Serkis portrayed “Ulysses Klaue” in 2018’s Black Panther from director Ryan Coogler and he reprised his role from 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens as “Supreme Leader Snoke” in 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi for director Rian Johnson.
Serkis made his directorial debut with the 2017 release of Breathe, which brought to life the inspiring true love story between Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) and his wife Diana (Claire Foy), an adventurous couple who refused to give up in the face of a devastating disease.
In July 2017, he starred in War for The Planet of The Apes for 20th Century Fox and director Matt Reeves. The San Francisco Film Society and The Utah Film Society recognized his performance as “Caesar” with the honor of Best Actor, as well as numerous other critics group nominations. In 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes he received acclaim from both journalists and audiences worldwide, earning him a Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor from the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
Serkis served as 2nd Unit Director on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy and reprised the role of “Gollum” in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
In 2011, Serkis founded The Imaginarium alongside producer Jonathan Cavendish, a multi- platform production company linked to a performance capture studio focusing on next-generation storytelling. The first Imaginarium projects include two films released in October 2017; Breathe, directed by Serkis, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy and The Ritual, starring Rafe Spall. Its latest project, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, was released on Netflix in December 2018. The company is currently in pre-production on an adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which Serkis will direct for Netflix.
Other credits include a starring role as “Captain Haddock” alongside Jamie Bell’s “Tintin” in The Adventures of Tintin, from director Steven Spielberg and producers Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy, as well as co-starring roles in Death of a Superhero and Brighton Rock.
In 2010, Serkis received critical acclaim and accolades for his portrayal of punk-rock legend Ian Dury in the film Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll for director Mat Whitecross. The role earned Serkis a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor.
On the small screen, Serkis appeared in the BBC miniseries Little Dorrit, based on Charles Dickens’ classic tale, which garnered him a 2009 Emmy® nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He also starred as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein in the BBC/HBO production of Einstein and Eddington.
Serkis previously earned Golden Globe® and BAFTA TV Award nominations for his performance as “Ian Brady” in HBO’s Longford. He also garnered acclaim for the role of “Bill Sikes” in the PBS presentation of Oliver Twist. British television audiences also know him for a wide range of roles in telefilms, miniseries and series.
Serkis’ feature film credits include Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed drama The Prestige; the comedy 13 Going on 30 with Jennifer Garner; and the indie films The Cottage, Extraordinary Rendition and Sugarhouse. He also lent his voice to the animated feature Flushed Away and starred in Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People and Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvy. Serkis includes among his additional film credits such independent releases as Deathwatch, The Escapist, Shiner, Pandaemonium, The Jolly Boys’ Last Stand, Five Seconds to Spare, Sweety Barrett, Among Giants, Mojo, Career Girls, Loop, Stella Does Tricks and The Near Room.
An accomplished stage actor, Serkis has received acclaim for his work on the stages of London and across the United Kingdom. He starred as “Iago” in Othello at the Royal Exchange Theatre; played the “Emcee” in Cabaret; and originated the role of “Potts” in Jez Butterworth’s Mojo at the Royal Court Theatre. His stage work also includes productions of King Lear, Hush and Decadence. In 2003, he made his directorial debut with the play The Double Bass at London’s Southwark Playhouse.
As a director, Serkis also helmed the award-winning Heavenly Sword™ for PlayStation®3 and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West for Namco Bandai Games. In addition, he wrote and directed a short film called Snake, starring his wife, Lorraine Ashbourne and Rupert Graves.