Andy Serkis towers over all other actors in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Dec 17, 2018, 5:00 PM EST (Updated)

The Star Wars saga has villains aplenty: Darth Vader. The Emperor. Darth Maul. The entire clone army. And when Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on Dec. 18, we’ll have a whole new list to add to our lexicon of evil. Captain Phasma. Kylo Ren. General Hux. But none will be as imposing as Supreme Leader Snoke.

That’s because he stands head and shoulders above everyone else. 

According to Empire Online, Andy Serkis, the mo-cap actor extraordinaire who also voices Lord Snoke, “My first day was basically standing on a 25-foot podium doing Lord Snoke without the faintest idea what he looked like … or in fact who he was! I was very high up, totally on my own, away from everybody else, but acting with [Domhnall Gleeson and Adam Driver].”

In order to give “a sense of scale and distance,” J.J. Abrams and company used what Serkis refers to as the “Kongolizer method”—a phrase he picked up on the set of King Kong—where his voice is deepened and amplified. This method gives “a sense of scale and distance for the character,” making him more formidable. 

Serkis said, “It was very challenging and scary, in fact probably one of my most scary film experiences I’ve ever had.”

Searches eventually learned more about Snoke as filming progressed. “He is severely damaged. Although he’s a powerful leader, he comes across as vulnerable. Very scarred and disfigured.” 

Damaged and vulnerable: kind of like Serkis’ other famed mo-cap character, Gollum—one of the most heart-wrenching characters in the genre. I know Serkis can serve an audience up with a hot steaming plate of pain. I can’t imagine he’ll be bringing anything less than his A-game to The Force Awakens.

Is it Dec. 18 yet?

Via EmpireOnline.