The cast of the next Star Wars film, Episode VII has been announced, but who are they? Sure we know all of the main characters we know and love (Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker), and everyone knows who Max von Sydow is, but the others might be a little tough to recognize. Here they are from IMDB:
Oscar Isaac was born in Guatemala, to a Guatemalan mother, Maria, and a Cuban father, Oscar Gonzalo Hernández-Cano, a pulmonologist. His maternal grandfather was of French origin. Oscar was raised in Miami, Florida. Before he became an actor, he played lead guitar and sang vocals in his band the Blinking Underdogs. He graduated from the Juilliard School in 2005.
Isaac’s first major film role was Joseph in the film The Nativity Story (2006). He also had a small role in All About the Benjamins (2002) and the Ché Guevara biopic Guerrilla (2011). In addition to movie appearances, he made an appearance in the television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001). He also had a part in the movies The Life Before Her Eyes (2007); Body of Lies (2008), alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe; Agora (2009), alongside Rachel Weisz; and Balibo (2009), set amid the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975.
Andy has an extensive biography on IMDB which you can check out, but here is an excerpt describing his most famous roll as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Movies.
In 1999, Andy Serkis landed the prize role of “Gollum” in Peter Jackson‘s epic film trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien‘s saga, “The Lord of the Rings”. He spent four years in the part and received awards and nominations for his performance as “Gollum”, a computer-generated character in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), which won 11 Oscars. “Gollum” was the collaborative team’s effort around Serkis’s work in performance capture – an art form based on CGI-assisted acting. Serkis’s work was an interactive performance in a skin-tight CGI suit with markers allowing cameras to track and register 3D position for each marker. Serkis’ every nuance was picked up by several cameras positioned at precisely calculated angles to allow for the software to see enough information to process the image. The images of Serkis’ performances were translated into the digital format by animators at Weta Digital studio in New Zealand. There, his image was key-frame animated and then edited into the movie, Serkis did have one scene in “The Return of the King” showing how he originally had the ring, killing another hobbit to posses it after they found it during a fishing trip. He drew from his three cats clearing fur balls out of their throats to develop the constricted voice he produced for “Gollum” and “Sméagol”, and it was also enhanced by sound editing in post-production.
Serkis spent almost two years in New Zealand and away from his family, and much of 2002 and 2003 in post-production studios for large periods of time, due to complexity of the creative process of bringing the character of “Gollum” to the screen. Serkis had to shoot two versions for every scene; one version was with him on camera, acting with (chiefly) Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, which served both to show Wood and Astin the moves so that they could precisely interact with the movements of “Gollum”, and to provide the CGI artists the subtleties of Gollum’s physical movements and facial expressions for their manual finishing of the animated images. In the other version, he’d do the voice off-camera, as Wood and Astin repeated their movements as though “Gollum” were there with them; that take would be the basis for inserting the CGI Gollum used in the released movie. In post-production, Serkis was doing motion-capture wearing a skintight motion capture suit with CGI gear while acting as a virtual puppeteer redoing every single scene in the studio. Additional CGI rotomation was done by animators using the human eye instead of the computer to capture the subtleties of Serkis’ performance. Serkis also used this art form in his performance as “Kong” in King Kong (2005), which won him a Toronto Film Critics Association Award (2005) for his unprecedented work helping to realize the main character in “King Kong”, and a Visual Effects Society Award (2006) for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture.