Andy Serkis Reads Aloud The Entirety Of 'The Hobbit' For Charity
Updated at 6:12 p.m. ET
Andy Serkis, the physically nimble actor largely known for his CGI-assisted roles, did some quarantine reading, performing the entirety of The Hobbit in a livestream on Friday.
On a Gofundme page established for the event, Serkis wrote that he would conduct the 12-hour marathon reading of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy novel to raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts. Depending on his copy, that's some 300 pages of Bilbo Baggins' adventure from his humble hobbit hole in the Shire to the mountain lair of the fearsome dragon Smaug – and back again, read and performed by Serkis.
The actor began reading the novel at around 10 a.m. in the United Kingdom (that's 5 a.m. ET).
"Together we'll face the might of the trolls, journey to the magical Rivendell, encounter the giant spiders in the labyrinths of Mirkwood, and the evil goblins living among the roots of the Misty Mountains, until we meet the dragon Smaug, and see the Battle of the Five Armies," Serkis wrote on the Gofundme page.
Serkis is known for his performance as Gollum — an impish creature broken by his ownership of a powerful ring — in Peter Jackson's adaptations of The Hobbit and its sequel trilogy, The Lord of The Rings. He played the role under heavy CGI with his movements and his voice, perhaps most memorably, selling the character that inspired countless fans to bemoan their "precious."
This time around, Serkis worked without the digital effects but with a likeness of his character perched nearby.
Serkis says proceeds from the reading — which has surpassed £240,000 (or nearly $298,000) at the time of writing — will be split evenly between two charities, the NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings, which provides supports to pregnant women and families with young children.
In addition The Hobbit and the Lords of The Rings trilogy, Serkis has portrayed characters in Stars Wars: The Last Jedi, Black Panther and the most recent series of Planet of the Apes films.