Andy Serkis was determined to find humanity in his evil Star Wars character Supreme Leader Snoke.
The British actor has become the go-to person for motion capture work thanks for his performances as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings franchise and Caesar in the Planet of the Apes reboots.
He stepped into the movement-tracking suit once again to play Snoke, the leader of The First Order, in 2015’s The Force Awakens, in which Snoke appeared as a hologram, but he has a more substantial part in newly-released installment The Last Jedi and is finally seen in his corporeal form.
Although Snoke is a villain and appears as a computer-generated creature, Andy aimed to give his alter ego real depth.
“With all characters that are representing ‘evil’, it’s very important to try and humanize them in some way,” he said during the film’s London press conference. “So there’s a vulnerability that we try to approach with Snoke that’s born out of fear actually.
“There’s this public hologram appearance he does to scare people but then there’s this sort of wizard behind the curtains, like the Wizard of Oz, there’s this frail and fearful (character), because there’s this powerful feminine energy that he knows is coming to take him down. But always trying to find a spark of humanity within that even though he is a kind of representation of evil.”
Snoke has authority over Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren and Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux, whose commands seem to get overruled. Between them, Domhnall and director Rian Johnson came up with the idea of Hux being like “a kicked dog”.
“Myself and Rian talked about the idea of a kicked dog because he’s kind of undermined in the film but you don’t want him to lose the capacity of causing some damage,” the Irish star said. “We just talked about the fact a dog that gets kicked over and over again eventually will bite back pretty hard.”