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Andy Serkis prepares for life as an ape

The ‘Lord of the Rings’ actor co-stars in ‘King Kong’
/ Source: The Associated Press

The actor behind the Gollum character in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy isn’t monkeying around as he prepares for his next role as King Kong in a remake of the classic gorilla thriller.

Andy Serkis, who was the human model for the creepy computer-animated Gollum in the films by New Zealand director Peter Jackson, has been hanging out with gorillas in Rwanda to prepare for the role, a co-star in the upcoming film said.

“He’s extraordinary, the amount of research he’s done,” Australian actress Naomi Watts, who will play the heroine in the new movie, was quoted by the Dominion Post newspaper in Monday’s edition. “He brought back incredible tapes of all that (gorilla) behavior that we need to get very familiar with.”

Serkis provided the voice for Gollum and Jackson used his movements to create the computer-generated character. Jackson also is directing the new “King Kong” movie.

Watts, Serkis, Jack Black and Adrien Brody have begun rehearsals in Wellington and will begin shooting within days in preparation for a release in late 2005.

Set in 1930s New York, the movie will be filmed almost entirely on a back lot in Wellington.