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on 4 January 2004
Andy Serkis writes with great wit and intimacy about his time spent creating the character of Gollum for the 'Lord of the Rings' film trilogy.
The book provides a fascinating insight into the processes by which this passionate and committed actor approached and developed Tolkien's most infamous creature.
Talking about everything from sleepless nights and blue lycra mocap-suits, to lonely river excursions and Gollum juice, Serkis provides an in-depth, humourous account of life as a 500-year old ring addict.
At one point the actor finds himself doing additional dialogue recording for LotR while playing the principal villain in Shakespeare's 'Othello'. "Playing Gollum and Iago at the same time is bad for your mental health," he observes. Quite.
Serkis also relates with clarity the experience of being a part of the many technological advances that were made both during principal photography and his extensive work on post-production.
Where necessary he hands over narrative to the writing and directing team, and the many experts in the fields of motion/performance-capture, animation and the rest of the Weta wizards.
The extent of the collaberation on show is astonishing.
A highly enjoyable book, it is a must-read for LotR fans, and anyone interested in the craft of acting, the technological leaps made during production, or filmmaking in general will find it absorbing to the last.
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on 7 February 2004
This is a great little book that any LOTR fan will love. Even if you've watched every behind-the-scenes DVD disc and TV programme and know a great deal about the process of bringing Gollum to screen, you'll still love reading this. Written by the superb actor who played Gollum, Andy Serkis, it makes you appreciate even more the hard work put into producing the seamlessly realistic(and slightly creepy!) character we've seen and loved in the 3 LOTR movies.
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Andy Serkis is the outstanding actor who is barely seen in his most beloved role: Gollum, the tormented Ring junkie. In "Gollum: A Behind the Scenes Guide," he talks frankly and easily about how this complex, difficult character was brought from the book to the screen.

Andy Serkis was unenthusiastic when he heard that they were searching for actors to play Gollum in "Lord of the Rings." But after his now-wife began gushing about what a wonderful character Gollum was, he went in for an audition, armed only with a voice that sounded like his cat throwing up hairballs. Not only did Serkis get the role, he also learned that there was more needed for Gollum than just the voice: He had to suit up in a motion capture suit to provide Gollum's movements as well.

"Gollum: A Behind the Scenes Guide" is more than just a guide about how the first really convincing CGI character was created. Serkis also chronicles bits of his everyday life in New Zealand, the birth of his son, September 11th, the premiere of "Two Towers," and the more widespread reaction to everybody's favorite Ring junkie (Gollum appeared on SNL and "The Simpsons, for example). Not to mention a sweet poem Serkis wrote to his young daughter.

To give further dimension to Serkis's story, there are lots of concept drawings and clay statues of Gollum (warning: avoid certain pages unless you're willing to see Gollum naked). There are also detailed sections written by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, the mocap crew, and many others about how they also helped create Gollum. For example, there was a lot of thought given to what kind of nose Gollum should have, or whether he should have a potbelly.

Serkis has a nice, conversational style, with plenty of self-deprecating humor and excellent descriptions ("... suddenly this bald lunatic in pale green spandex comes lolloping into view. It was like a very bad nightmare, like a Dali painting gone wrong"). He's got a nice vocabulary and a great actor's sense, getting into Gollum's bald little head. And despite his claims of "ignorance of great literature," he makes some nice references to Narnia, Shakespeare, Dickens, Hugo, and ancient Norse sagas.

Andy Serkis and the people at WETA created movie history with the flawless Gollum. And Serkis's mini-memoir about how Gollum came to life is not just a good book for "Rings" fans, but for cinephiles and movie students as well. It's our precious.
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on 21 June 2016
If like me you enjoy the technical side of film-making or if you just enjoy some behind the scenes peeps you will enjoy this book.
Stuffed with colour photos and wittily narrated by the fantastic and oft ignored star of these and many other top movies, the incredible Andy Serkis, it is a feast for any fan of the Lord of the Rings films.
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on 9 May 2013
Indisputably distinctive and intriguing, Gollum/ Sméagol has to be one of the most fascinating creatures that dwells upon Middle-Earth with his past partly remaining a mystery. I was delighted to find a single volume dedicated to this slippery character who was central to Frodo's journey, and was the most complex of all creatures ~ topping the Dwarves, Elves and Wizards! It is the fact that instead of just using a CGI image but an actual actor to play this creature, (in the form of Andy Serkis), that makes it so brilliant. Andy literally makes Gollum transform into life, flesh and blood, with every single movement, sound and facial feature being somewhat of an art form.

This indispensable, comprehensive guide takes a look behind the scenes at how Sméagol became Gollum, and how he was transformed from the page and onto the big screen. Film-making history was made when, in `the two towers', an actor's performance and digital animation were seamlessly integrated to create the world's first totally lifelike computer-generated character. This is Andy Serkis' story about how a three-week commission to provide a voice-over for Gollum grew into one of the most challenging creations for `The Lord of the Rings'. With more than 100 exclusive full-color behind-the-scenes photos and drawings, together with contributions from the many designers and animators who brought Gollum to life, this truly is a spectacular book.

Gollum/ Sméagol has to be the most unforgettable characters, who thanks to Andy Serkis' vision and creativity brought him to `life' for all to see. Above all else, Gollum is the one character within JRR Tolkien's epic work which certainly does him justice and which I feel would make the author proud. JRR Tolkien's vision has transformed into something tangible and real, whilst an actor discovered the most life-changing 5 years of his life.

This wonderful, must-have book explores ~
* Gollum's voice (which does sound a bit like a Cat being sick!)
* Andy acting in a bodysuit covered in dots
* The similarities between Andy and Gollum's features
* Future surprises in store for `The Return of the King'!

I would highly recommend this book to add to your Tolkien collection, especially if you are an avid fan of Peter Jackson's films.
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on 5 January 2004
For any nutter about Lord of the Rings, this book is ideal. It tells you not only about the methods used in creating Gollum, but also about the experiences both on and off the set of an actor in the best film trilogy ever. (In my opinion it's the best, anyway.)
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on 30 April 2013
Ever since I heard of this book, I wanted to have it. From the very fast look I took of it, I think the book is great, especially for every Lord of The Rings fan. I'm extremely happy because my copy has Andy's autograph :)
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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2010
I brought this book a few years back at a discount book store for 99p. I didn't really look at the discription and thought it would be a 'making of' book with lots of technical details (that back then, I wouldn't have understood anyways!). The fact that it was more Andy's making of himself becoming Gollum did not dissapoint me.
It's a wonderfully written account of his journey to become Gollum and peoples reactions to him doing so. The book also has some really great photographs an artwork so all comes together to form what it an actually heart-warming read. . .

Now who'd have thought someone would ever say that about a book about Gollum?

My only crit would be that the book isn't really that long and I wanted more.
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on 2 January 2005
When I first saw this, I must admit I thought to myself "Oh no, just another book of the same old stuff we've heard a thousand times on all the LOTR DVD's". WRONG!!!!!!! It's a little like a diary (Day 13 Fish eaten:12, stupid fat hobbits bashed with rock:1... well not quite but you get the idea) written by Andy Serkis. It's nice to get a proper view of the creative process of Gollum without having Elijah Wood popping up every few seconds. You really get a sense of how proud Andy was to be working on the project and how attatched he got to the little fella (Gollum that is not Wood). Add into that some great pictures and your onto a winner.
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on 22 December 2014
For everyone loving Lord Of The Rings this is a must. And for me who doesn't like them that much. I lovd the book since it's interesting how Andy brought Gollum to life.
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