11 December 2014 15:50

The final part of the Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies, opens in cinemas on Friday 12th December – and a Lancaster graduate has played a key role in each of the three instalments.

Award-winning actor Andy Serkis is known to millions of fans for his portrayal of the depraved creature Gollum in both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. He also won plaudits as the giant ape in King Kong and as Ian Dury in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, and played Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin. He received a Virtuoso Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival for his portrayal of the revolutionary chimpanzee Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Although Gollum doesn't feature in the final Hobbit movie, Andy served as the second unit director in post-production, lending his talents behind the scenes. Andy is also co-founder of the Imaginarium Studios, the UK’s premier performance capture studio, which specialises in applying motion capture technology in film, television and video games.

Andy, who studied visual arts and theatre as part of his degree at Lancaster University, graduated in 1985. He has gone on to appear in over 70 films and television shows and over 60 theatre productions.

In an interview with Now Magazine Andy discussed his experiences of studying drama at Lancaster. In particular he singled out his involvement with the production of the play Gotcha by Barrie Keefe, saying that it was this experience that led him to choose a career as an actor.

Andy outlined his reasons for having chosen to study at Lancaster University in an interview with the Sunday Times, saying that he chose Lancaster because he had heard about the strong reputation of the Theatre Studies department, but also – as a keen walker and climber – because of its close proximity to the Lake District.

Andy is currently working on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avengers: Age of Ultron, both of which will be released in 2015.