All hail Caesar ... and his fat wallet. Andy Serkis will be swinging back to cinema after signing a seven-figure deal to reprise his role from Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Serkis' incredible motion-capture performance was one of the reasons for its $453 million box-office haul, and 20th Century Fox has rewarded its simian star with more than just a few bananas.
When Fox counted all its coins from Apes and a sequel was ordered, Serkis was the first key element locked in. Director Rupert Wyatt was already obligated to a second film per his contract, as were screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. Until a solid story is nailed down and a screenplay delivered, it's unclear whether James Franco's character will even return at all. (That might not be a bad thing.)
Serkis has elevated motion-capture acting to a fine art since his stunning debut as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. His deal in those movies included no options or concessions for further Tolkien-based projects, so he received a Smaug's fortune to return for both Hobbit films. Now that his scenes in The Hobbit are finished, Serkis has stayed on as Peter Jackson's second unit director.
This dude is versatile!
Recent howls have demanded a deserved Oscar bid for Serkis' intelligent, unsettling work in Rise of the Apes. Studio execs at Fox have heard the hollers and, before the contract ink was dry, confirmed that an Oscar campaign was mounting for Serkis' sensational Caesar.