Skip to main content

What Happened When Mark Rylance Tried To Ask Andy Serkis For Mo-Cap Help On The BFG


When it comes to motion capture performances, Andy Serkis is seen by many as the true master. The actor absolutely blew audiences away when he brought Smeagol/Gollum to life in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and has continued to impress with breathtaking turns in The Adventures of Tintin, the rebooted Planet of the Apes movies, and more. Because of this experience, many other actors have looked to him for advice when preparing for their own motion capture performances, but in the making of Steven Spielberg's The BFG, Mark Rylance wasn't so lucky. Why? Because Serkis was just too busy.

Rylance recently spoke at length about his motion capture experience during the BFG press day in Los Angeles earlier this month, and one funny detail he mentioned was his futile effort to try and set up a meeting with Andy Serkis. The Oscar winner was asked if he had made any attempts to reach out to other actors who could guide him through what to expect, and he explained that he did, but that those efforts came up a bit short. Said Rylance,

They're all so busy! I tried to get through to Andy Serkis, but it's obviously such a big thing now. He literally is so busy, even his friend, who was trying to get through to him for me, said, 'He never calls me back.' So I couldn't get through! That's alright. It all made sense after a while.

Of course, Mark Rylance is hardly the first actor or filmmaker to try and reach out to Andy Serkis for help when trying to bring more performance and personality to a CGI character. In addition to playing Ulysses Klau in Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Serkis also worked closely with Mark Ruffalo when it came to trying to bring The Hulk back to life. He also wound up playing a uncredited consulting role on Gareth Edwards' Godzilla - ultimately being used as a reference for animators when they were trying to add a bit more soulfulness and emotion to the titular King of the Monsters. Unfortunately, though, he can't be everywhere at once, so it's understandable that he was simply unavailable when Mark Rylance tried reaching out for help during the making of The BFG.

While Mark Rylance was unable to get Andy Serkis' assistance/advice, the good news is that it didn't ultimately matter, given that Rylance's turn in The BFG is absolutely magical and stunning (Serkis may even want to reach out to him for advice next time around). You'll soon get to experience this incredible performance for yourself, as the new Steven Spielberg movie is arriving in theaters this Friday, July 1st.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.