Andy Serkis, the famed voice behind the precious-seeking Gollum in the Lord Of The Rings film franchise, returns to narrate an audiobook version of J.R.R. Tolkein’s beloved fantasy epic that first brought readers into the depths of Middle-Earth.
“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,” Serkis says in a statement.
HarperCollins recently shared a teaser of Serkis reprising his iconic Gollum voice for the audiobook, and yes, it’s riveting, even if it gets a little spit-heavy. The new audiobook follows Serkis’ recording of The Hobbit last year, which he read in its entirety, continuously, for charity shortly before the release of the official recording.
“Having now completed the quest and been ‘there and back again… again,’ I realize what a phenomenal privilege it has been to have had the opportunity to read this sublime work once more,” Serkis says. “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.”
Since Serkis first took on the role of the raspy-voiced creature in 2001, he’s led a prolific career as an actor, with notable roles in (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and its sequels, two Star Wars, and the 2005 King Kong) and out (13 Going On 30, Black Panther) of the motion-capture technology he helped pioneer for Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings movies. In recent year’s, he’s taken a set in the director’s chair: His directorial debut was Breathe (2017), starring Andrew Garfield as disability rights advocate Robin Cavendish. He also helmed Netflix’s dark, live-action take on Jungle Book, Mowgli in 2018. Serkis directed the forthcoming Venom: Let The Be Carnage for Marvel, and will then switch over to DC to be the Alfred to Robert Pattinson’s Batman.
Serkis’ audiobook will hit digital bookshelves on September 16. Hopefully hearing the story straight from Gollum himself will hold fans over until the $465 million Amazon Lord Of The Rings series premieres later this year or early next year.