Gollum: The Addict of the Ring

By Chrisanne Grise 12/11/12

The Hobbit actor Andy Serkis says Gollum's obsession with the ring is "entirely based on addiction."

Gollum is powerless over the ring. Photo via

Actor Andy Serkis has revealed that his portrayal of Gollum in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is inspired by addiction. Serkis first brought Gollum to life (with the help of some computer-generated imagery) on the big screen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy over 10 years ago. He reprises the role in the new film, the first of another trilogy based on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit. Gollum is a creature consumed by his desire to possess "the ring," which he often refers to as "my precious" and "my birthday present." Throughout his rather wretched life, he's often torn between this desire and a parallel yearning to be free from it. "Gollum is entirely based on the notion of addiction," says Serkis. “The way that the ring pervades him, makes him craving, lustful, depletes him physically, psychologically and mentally.” Serkis says that playing the creature as an addict makes him more relatable to viewers—a good thing for a story that takes place in the fictional world of Middle Earth. "It was important to find something very real to people watching in this day and age,” he says. “You feel sorry for him but you hate him. Gollum has a weak personality and isn't able to cope with the power of the ring.” Even the character's distinctive, scratchy voice was designed to show "how he carries that pain [of addiction]". The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in theaters this Friday.

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Chrisanne Grise is a multimedia journalist specializing in health/fitness, lifestyle, travel, bridal, and music. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Parents, FitnessMagazine, Fisher Price, Bridal Guide, Scholastic's Choices, AbsolutePunk.net, Chorus.fm, and more. She is the Senior Editor at The New York Times Upfront. Follow her on Linkedin and Twitter.