Andy Serkis Talks Playing Supreme Leader Snoke With Empire


It’s Empire‘s turn to add to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens news frenzy following Entertainment Weekly’s fantastic spree last week.  Yesterday, Empire gave us an exclusive look at Constable Zuvio, and today they released quotes from Andy Serkis talking about playing the First Order’s mysterious and enigmatic Supreme Leader Snoke.

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First, Serkis hinted at the sheer size and power of his character, as well as Snoke’s association with two other authoritative figures in the First Order.

"“It was quite an unusual situation,” Serkis tells us in the new issue of Empire. “I worked specifically with Domhnall Gleeson and with Adam Driver. 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 them.”"

It’s not surprising to me that Serkis worked “specifically” with Gleeson (AKA, General Hux) and Driver (who plays Kylo Ren). He’s the Supreme Leader of the First Order (or at least, that’s what we assume he’s the supreme leader of), so it makes sense the two other main villains of the film would be subordinate to him.

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

The fact that Serkis was up on a 25-foot podium is probably not indicative of his actual size, though Empire implies Serkis might be hinting as much. Serkis did say in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that his character was “large,” but 25 feet sounds like a stretch. More likely, the podium he’s standing on is just that: a podium, a sort of dais from which Snoke can preside over and intimidate those who serve him, rather than an extension of his physical body.

Serkis goes on to repeat what he said about Snoke in the Entertainment Weekly issue, saying he’s “severely damaged.” He also recalls how they used sound to create a presence for the character that had a profound effect upon the actor himself.

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"“He is severely damaged. Although he’s a powerful leader, he comes across as vulnerable. Very scarred and disfigured.” But the actor assures us that Snoke is a guaranteed force to be reckoned with: “we used sort of a ‘Kongolizer’ method of having sound come out of speakers to give a sense of scale and distance for the character. So it was very challenging and scary, in fact probably one of my most scary film experiences I’ve ever had.”"

With this interview, Snoke just rose  all the way to the top on my list of The Force Awakens characters I’m most excited to see. I’m an admirer of Andy Serkis and his work in films such as The Lord of the Rings and the Planet of the Apes series, and the fact that he’s playing Snoke is enough to get me excited about the villain. But, to read these teases of what the character will be like – large, damaged, and even scary – produces almost too much excitement to contain.

Thankfully, The Force Awakens‘ theater premiere is only a month away!