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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
From Gollum to gangster
By Nicola Dann
BBC entertainment reporter

Andy Serkis has swapped the technical difficulties of playing characters such as Gollum in Lord of the Rings, and the giant ape in King Kong, for a role as Hoodwink, a tough local kingpin on a rundown London council estate in Sugarhouse.

Andy Serkis in Sugarhouse
Serkis has played Gollum and King Kong

"He's a very visceral character and he's a very physical character. I suppose the fact of the matter is I'm surprised that more people aren't like Hoodwink," says Serkis.

"I think most people live on the edge. How many times have you got into a car and someone's beeping their horn behind you - there's only that much between them getting out of their car and doing serious damage? The thing is [Hoodwink] doesn't have a limiter."

So how difficult was the role for him as an actor?

"It was quite a physically demanding role - there's no two ways about it. I was pretty knackered by the end of each day and it did have physical and mental wear and tear.

"I guess that's what you get when you're playing someone at that intensity."

The British film industry is in such a shoddy state and people are having to make films for nothing - but they're great films
Andy Serkis

The Sugarhouse story begins with a crackhead called D, played by ex-So Solid Crew's Ashley Walters, trying to broker a deal with city worker Tom over a gun.

The problem is, the gun belongs to Hoodwink and he wants it back.

The movie is the debut feature film for actor/director Gary Love, whose most recent credit includes the BBC drama Waking the Dead.

Love says: "When you meet him [Walters], you go; one, you're gorgeous; and two, how am I going to turn you into a crackhead?"

The movie has been put together by Slingshot - which is an all-digital film production and distribution company

Gary Love and Ashley Walters
Director Gary Love (l) was impressed with Ashley Walters (r)
It helped cut down on the amount of time it takes to get films like this financed, meaning that it already had a green light before Love even came on board as director.

It is hoped that this model will eventually help the British film industry.

Serkis explains: "The British film industry is in such a shoddy state and people are having to make films for nothing - but they're great films. And that's where you gravitate. You gravitate towards great films - that's why you do it."

So how does this movie compare to big budget movies like Lord of the Rings or King Kong in which he has starred, first as Gollum and then as King Kong himself?

"It's always about the script, it's about the material you're going to be working with and the people you're going to be working with.

"There are great scripts at this level out there and young film-makers and first time directors - people who have a real passion about making film."

Sugarhouse is released in the UK on 24 August


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Andy Serkis on his role in Sugarhouse



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