Andy Serkis Teases the Apes Sequel and Animal Farm

The sequel takes place after the virus has ravaged mankind, and George Orwell is getting a modern update.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

Of all the actors in Peter Jackson's original Lord of the Rings trilogy, Andy Serkis seems to have had the most noteworthy career afterwards. The actor who famously motion-captured the creature Gollum, and earned Oscar buzz (but no nominations) for his work on both LOTR and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, has the respect of the motion picture community for his mastery of a brand new art form, and has parlayed that experience into a burgeoning directorial career, handling the second unit work on the Hobbit movies and prepping his solo directorial debut, an adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm when he's not readying the Apes sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. So he's a busy guy, but he made time to update Coming Soon about his two upcoming projects.

Quot the Serkis, about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: "The interesting thing now will be how Caesar operates in this world–because of the virus that hits at the end of the first movie–and how Caesar brings an accord between the apes and the surviving humans and that's going to be interesting where we take that." The implication, then, is that the virus unleashed at the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes will have seriously depopulated the planet, and that Caesar – Serkis's superintelligent ape character – will attempt diplomacy before all hell breaks loose. At least, we assume all hell will break loose at some point. It's going to be a pretty boring movie if the whole thing is just apes and politicians debating policy on CSPAN.

But what of Animal Farm? Andy Serkis's film will be a combination of motion-capture animation and puppeteering, and although they have a screenwriter in mind, Serkis isn't ready to make any announcements yet. Of the adaptation, however, he does say that they are "taking it from the point of view if Orwell were writing Animal Farm for today, where would the targets be? It's a fairy tale and we're keeping it as a fairy tale and a fable, which will allow us to satirically pick our target."

Whether this means the new Animal Farm will actually be set in the present day or simply reworked to focus on contemporary issues, much like Steven Spielberg's Lincoln feels like a contemporary parallel to our current political environment despite taking place 150 years ago, it is too soon to tell. But he's not just doing a straightforward adaptation, and has an eye towards making Animal Farm feel as relevant today as it did upon its original publication in 1945.

William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani