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Andy Serkis drank “Gollum juice” to get through The Lord of the Rings

One of the best performances in The Lord of the Rings was Andy Serkis creating Gollum's gross, guttural voice through straining his throat.

Gollum in The Lord of the Rings

Andy Serkis’ performance as Gollum is undoubtedly one of the best in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he completely transformed the perception of actors who create a character via motion capture. One of the most distinctive elements of Gollum is of course, the voice, and Serkis revealed in his most adorable interview that he had to drink a special concoction dubbed Gollum juice to get through the long days on set.

Just before Serkis headed to the Oscars in 2003, where The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was in the running for best picture, he was interviewed by children and teenagers for the UK’s Children’s BBC service. One of the things Serkis mentioned is that he’s one of the most recognized members of The Lord of Rings cast, despite his ‘real’ face not appearing on screen in the first two movies.

Serkis was asked by Myra (14, from London) if doing Gollum‘s voice caused him any throat pain. Serkis responded; “It did at first, but I used to drink a lot of this juice which we all made up called Gollum Juice, which was made of honey, lemon and ginger.”

Serkis continued; “So we used to make up big jugs of it with warm water and I used to drink that on set everyday, lots of it everyday.” It takes a lot of sacrifice to create two (!) of the most distinctive Lord of the Rings characters. Serkis actually plays the dual roles of Smeagol, who was once a Stoor (an early type of hobbit), and his counterpart who has been corrupted by the One Ring – Gollum. His acting as Gollum argues with the two opposing sides of himself, and wrestles with his love and hatred for the Ring is extraordinary.

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Serkis further explained why the throat is key to the voice, and by extension, the character; “Gollum is called Gollum because of the way he sounds, the voice that emanates from his throat, and I wanted to find somewhere where he carried his pain the most and I thought that his throat would be the right area.” Serkis’ commitment to the role is a big part of why The Lord of the Rings, particularly in their extended editions, are the best fantasy movies.

The actor famously found inspiration from his cat for Gollum; “I was looking for an involuntary action coming from the whole body, like a convulsion, and I was looking at my cat and I saw that when they got fur balls in the back of their throats their whole bodies convulsed and then they made this kind of coughing sound and that seemed to be right for the way he actually says Gollum – it absolutely fitted it perfectly.”

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Gollum will unfortunately not be cropping up in The Rings of Power season 2, as it takes place long before he was born. However, Galadriel, Elrond, Sauron, and possibly Gandalf (who fans are pretty confident is the Stranger) have a role to play – as they are all ancient beings with extremely long life-spans.

Gollum is also unlikely to appear in a new Lord of the Rings movie which is being released in 2024 called War of the Rohirrim, as it will focus on characters from Rohan (where Theoden, Eowyn, and Eomer are from) and specifically Helm Hammerhead – who Helm’s Deep is named after.

We’re also excited for more fantasy in House of the Dragon season 2.