Andy Serkis would 'absolutely' play James Bond: 'I can be suave!'

Andy Serkis, 58, is probably best known for a role in which we didn’t see his face – as Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings. Now he’s taken on a new role, as the psychopathic nemesis of Luther, in the new, much-anticipated film.

You play the seriously evil baddie David Robey in Luther: The Fallen Sun, a new spin-off movie of the TV series

I’ve played a number of villainous characters [eg Gollum, Supreme Leader Snoke, Ian Brady], but when I first got the script, this character was so dark I thought, do I really want to go there again? I literally wanted to throw the script in the bin and then have a shower after I’d read it.

Then I realised how brilliant Neil Cross’s writing was because, though Robey is undoubtedly a psychopath, he is actually preying on our desire to give so much of ourselves over to the internet: to surveillance, to deep fake, to AI – all of those things that we think will make our lives better. David is a deeply lonely individual, who is as much a victim of the internet world as anyone.

We have become increasingly isolated and traded friends and relatives for looking into devices. As an actor it was interesting to open up that debate.

For years, Luther, AKA Idris Elba, has been tipped as the new 007. What do you reckon to that?

Basically, Luther is his own version of James Bond. And it suits Idris so well. Coming to work with him on this was exceptional, because he’s lived with that character for ten years. When you’re on set and you’re looking into Idris’s eyes, you feel he’s so present, he owns it completely.

Luther is such a complex, deep character. In a way I actually think he’s more perfect for Idris than Bond, because you can almost predict what James Bond is going to do, but you can never predict what Luther is gonna do.

How about you? Fancy being 007?

Me, to be the next James Bond?! Oh, absolutely, yes. Let’s put it out there! I’d quite happily to do that. I can be suave!

You were the first motion-capture performer to be tipped for an Oscar. How long till a completely non-human CGI performance is nominated?

Well, there are now AI scriptwriting packages, which can cobble together a formulaic script pretty well. It’s maybe not the best and most original story or characters, but when you think that’s possible and you have the combined information that computers have gathered across the globe for the past however many years, I don’t think it’s long.

I’ve been scanned as an actor thousands of times and I know that my digital identity can be misused or abused or put into films that I don’t even know about. We have to start thinking how we can monitor that – in the same way as for sampling music.

How do you feel about your digital self still appearing in films after your death?

Digital resurrection is obviously going to be on the up, there’s just no question. And who doesn’t want to see another Steve McQueen performance or another James Stewart movie? The temptation is there, isn’t it? So, who knows? Like anything with technology, it’s how you use it responsibly – and creatively. I would have no qualms about having a post-mortem performance, as long as it was a great project, and I’d have to leave it in the hands of my descendants to make that call.

It says on Wikipedia that you’re the eighth highest-grossing actor of all time

Ha! I would love to be the eighth richest person on the planet, but I really am not. It’s the films that have done well – that’s where the highest-grossing comes in.

What luxuries have you splashed out on?

We’re outdoors people and we’ve sort of tried to get our kids to be outdoors kids too. We do a lot of walking and we all went to Everest base camp. Very recently we bought a little old wooden boat, which we go up and down the Thames on, which is absolutely brilliant. Although if you’re ever gonna buy a boat, don’t buy a wooden one, because it’s just like a leaky bucket.

Is it true you’re half-Iraqi?

Well, my mum met my dad, who was a doctor in Baghdad, when she went out to visit her parents shortly after World War II, and her mum was Iraqi. So, technically, I’m three-quarters Iraqi although my mum always fiercely said ‘consider yourself British’. Basically, my three older sisters grew up in Baghdad. Then, when I was born, she decided to come back and live in England, in Ruislip, but my grandma, who’s Iraqi, lived in Wembley. We used to go every Sunday and eat Iraqi food.

As I get older, I’ve really been trying to re-engage with my roots. I want to tell stories, particularly about my dad’s hospital, that he built with three other doctors in Baghdad, prior to the Ba’athist uprising and then during the Saddam regime, the American invasion and the Green Zone years.

How do you maintain your quiff?

It’s all thanks to my Iraqi roots: strong, curly, Middle Eastern hair. I have to use a lot of Black And White or Dax, and do a lot of coiffing first thing in the morning. And it’s all my own. No CGI is used in the production of my hair – I would like that memorialised in Metro.

Luther: The Fallen Sun premieres globally on Netflix tomorrow

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