Well, sort of. While Peter Jackson will still be the captain of the good ship Hobbit, he's turned to one of his trusted lieutenants—and frequent collaborator—to help him capture the action on this latest trip to Middle-earth.
Jackson has asked Serkis to serve as his second-unit director. Traditionally, films of this size have more than one camera crew shooting different scenes at different times—the first unit shoots with the main characters, while the second unit can do anything from scenery to effects material to grisly action footage. And Serkis will have a hand in it all:
"It is wide-ranging and encompasses a lot of directing aspects of filmmaking and story. Yes, there is some performance capture, but I will be very much on the live-action sets and locations helping Peter to tell the story."
Serkis has experience doing performance-capture direction for videogames—and, given that he's famous for playing characters like Gollum and King Kong, which were brought to life via performance capture, it makes sense that Jackson would turn to him for help there—but this is Serkis' first real time behind a live-action camera:
"When Peter asked me...there was this email out of the blue. It was a fantastic surprise. ... A lot of the crew from The Lord of the Rings was returning to work on The Hobbit. There is really a sense of Peter wanting people around him who totally understand the material and the work ethic."
Luckily, Serkis won't have to pull double duty: The actor has reportedly already finished all the shooting necessary for him to reprise his role as Gollum.
(via Heat Vision)