We asked Joe about the evolution of Gollum in The Hobbit: There and Back Again. This is what he had to say.
When we did Avatar, we created this whole virtual world. It was completely immersive, and everything was in this virtual world. What we did with Rise of the Planet of the Apes was come full circle with it. We took all of the technology we created for Avatar, and we figured out a way to make that on set. How to make it work within exterior sets. That way, Andy could be in the scene with all of the other actors. So you're not getting a second performance from him, trying to duplicate the first. You are getting the performance that he did with James Franco and Freida Pinto, and everyone else.
It closed the gap for us, to have Andy be right there in the movie, and have that be his performance. That's the thing we finally got to do with Gollum. Just as a way of nicely closing the circle."
We also know that Andy Serkis will once again be working closely with Joe Letteri on the recently announced Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2. We asked him how the Apes might evolve in this sequel.
I actually don't know (how much the Apes will evolve). For a second film, I don't think you want to jump that far ahead of yourself. You still want to bring people along. Again, I don't know yet. They are still working on that script. You could get away with the look of the Apes on the original film. It was so far into the future. They were more humanoid. You could see that they would be walking upright, and doing all of these things that they did. For our first film, they had to look like modern day chimps. That were just starting to become self-aware. We had to start with something on screen that looked as believable as a real chimp could look."
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was released December 13th, 2013 and stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter. The film is directed by Peter Jackson.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was released July 11th, 2014 and stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Nick Thurston. The film is directed by Matt Reeves.