Add the name Andy Serkis to the growing list of actors turned audiobook narrators. This September, the actor who portrayed Gollum via motion capture in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is lending his voice to a new recording of J. R. R. Tolkien‘s original book trilogy for HarperCollins.
Revisit Middle-Earth with Andy Serkis
The Bookseller reports that Serkis is recording an unabridged audiobook version of The Lord of the Rings. No doubt, this release is designed to capitalize on Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series, which will surely have many readers and listeners looking to revisit Middle-earth offscreen as well. You can already hear Serkis reading a 10-hour version of The Hobbit. Here’s what he had to say about the recording process for The Lord of the Rings:
“I would consider myself someone who likes a challenge… Walking back into Middle-earth over 20 years after my first life-changing adventure there, and experiencing it all over again (this time for many weeks alone in a sound booth) has brought in equal measures of pure joy, sheer madness, immense pleasure and a level of psychological and physical fatigue I have never quite experienced the like of before.
“I actually feel like I have lived through Tolkien’s saga, and felt his profound understanding of and connection to nature, love, war, truth, hatred and altruism. Each day I genuinely went through ups and downs, often coinciding with the progress of the ring-bearer and his companions. On more than one occasion I was sure I wasn’t going to make it to the Crack of Doom! Having now completed the quest and been ‘There and back again… again’, so to speak, I realise what a phenomenal privilege it has been to have had the opportunity to read this sublime work once more. My only hope, now, is that I have done it justice, and that the listening experience conveys the power and beauty of J R R Tolkien’s masterpiece.”
The Wide World of Audiobooks
Audiobooks are a boon for those of us who don’t have time to sit down and read as much as we’d like. They’re good for listening to while you’re on the go: driving, jogging, swinging your arms and aggressively power-walking, or even just doing things around the house (in a gothic maid skirt, or maybe that’s just me). For cinephiles, audiobooks come with the added bonus of letting you sometimes have your favorite actors read you novels. Just recently, we reviewed Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A Novel, read by Jennifer Jason Leigh.
As an on-again, off-again member of Amazon’s Audible service, I can tell you that my own listening library is already stacked with a good number of audiobooks narrated by famous actors: Ruby Dee (Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston), Michael C. Hall (Pet Sematary by Stephen King), Jeremy Irons (Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov), Stephen Lang (Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill), Joe Morton (Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison), Will Patton (The Outsider by Stephen King), Ron Perlman (City of Thieves by David Benioff), Bronson Pinchot (Authority by Jeff Vandermeer), Sissy Spacek (Carrie by Stephen King), Mare Winningham (Lisey’s Story by Stephen King), and Michael York (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis).
These are just some of the many examples that are out there of audiobooks read by film and television actors. Let’s face it: we don’t all have time to crack open a leather-bound tome by the fireplace anymore. Listening to Andy Serkis read The Lord of the Rings might be the next best thing.
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