Andy Serkis Will Make ‘Apes’ Sequel, Get Big Oscar Push

The motion-capture master earns a seven figure deal for a Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel, and a big Oscar campaign for his work on the first film.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

We're not exacty rallying around true believers who found the apes in this summer's Rise of the Planet of the Apes "photorealistic" (it's the eyes… always the eyes…), but there was no denying that they represented some of the finest acting in Andy Serkis's career. Serkis seems to have perfected the art of motion-capture acting, having cut his teeth on The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, and brought astounding humanity and inhumanity to his role of "Caesar" in this summer's unexpected smash hit. So it's fitting, even laudatory, that he's earning seven figures to reprise the role in the proposed, as-yet-unnamed sequel. In contrast, his "real life" co-stars James Franco and Freida Pinto haven't even been attached yet.

Deadline reports that Serkis, director Rupert Wyatt and writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are all locked for the sequel, which is still in the development stage. We're not surprised by this sequel news, what with the last film's $453 million international gross from a reported $93 million budget. We're just a little more surprised, but pleasantly so, that the report also confirms that Fox is mounting an Oscar campaign to promote Andy Serkis's performance.

Not that he wasn't amazing – which he was – but motion-captured performances occupy a grey area in the Academy's voting process. Certainly an actor is doing most of the heavy lifting, performance-wise, but they're being aided at every turn by a team of animators to bring their character to life. Serkis was reportedly ineligible for his groundbreaking performance as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, but perhaps the rules, or at least sympathies, have changed. Time will tell if Fox's efforts will have any impact on the Academy's mindset, but at least Serkis is going into the fray with an award-worthy performance under his belt. Then again, he had one of those before…

CraveOnline will be back with more Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2 news after we check for ticks.