Andy Serkis Is 'Reimagining' George Orwell's Animal Farm For 'A Post-Truth World'

Here's a fun little word association game for you. When I say, "Most prolific motion-capture performer of our generation," who do you think of immediately? How about if I said, "Most pleasantly surprising guest appearance in a critically acclaimed, live-action 'Star Wars' series?" And lest we forget, there's also, "Grittiest, most sarcastic Alfred to ever appear in a 'Batman' movie?" The answer to all three, of course, is none other than Andy Serkis. But even that doesn't quite do justice to everything the actor has to offer.

For one thing, he's not "merely" an actor. The multi-hyphenate added filmmaking to his résumé with his directorial debut "Breathe" in 2017, following it up with his somewhat under-appreciated "Jungle Book" remake "Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle," and then the action trashterpiece "Venom: Let There Be Carnage." 

However, Serkis has talked for a long time about wanting to film an adaptation of "Animal Farm," the George Orwell allegorical novel that all of us were forced to read in middle school English class back in the day. First reported over a decade ago (and subsequently picked up by Netflix, although that may no longer be the case), it's been a long and winding path to get this project off the ground — delayed, in no small part, by Serkis' own skyrocketing career on both sides of the camera. But finally, we received word early last year that the adaptation appeared likely to proceed and now, though it has yet to receive a release date, Serkis is opening up about what he has planned for his unique take on the world-famous novel.

'A reimagining of Animal Farm for this generation'

For those who've read the book (or seen any of the various stage plays and film adaptations), it's clear that "Animal Farm" can be adapted in any number of ways. The classic satire follows a farmyard of animals who stage a revolution against their human oppressor, establish a Communist-like paradise, and instead fall victim to an even more dystopian regime once selfish leaders rise to power — namely, a pig named Napoleon (the book, you see, isn't very subtle). Modeled after the Russian Revolution and the rise of the Soviet Union, the fiercely anti-Stalin Orwell designed the story in a way that allowed subsequent adaptations to take a very loose approach to the material. It's possible that Andy Serkis could do the same.

In the subscriber edition of Total Film's January 2023 issue, the director opened up about the ongoing production. Boasting that it has "an incredible cast that I can't announce yet," Serkis at least was able to tease how his "very contemporaneous version" will differ from previous attempts to bring this story to life:  

"It's a reimagining of 'Animal Farm' for this generation, for a post-truth world. It has humor at the core of it, but the politics are sort of smuggled in underneath. It will appeal to a broad audience, and will resonate with all ages in different ways."

The "post-truth" comment sure rings true for current politics in the United States, though it's somewhat eyebrow-raising to note that this movie will somehow be less-than-upfront about its own commentary. We're ... curious to see how that could play out, to say the least. Serkis also notes that he's earned the goodwill of the Orwell estate, adding another fascinating layer to whatever he has up his sleeve with this movie.