Andy Serkis Is First Banana in 'Apes' Sequel

[caption id="attachment_90367" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Getty Images"]Andy Serkis[/caption]

Considering he's been at the heart of multiple international blockbusters (see: "The Lord of the Rings," "King Kong"), you'd think that Andy Serkis would get some love from Hollywood. But for the last few years, despite his unparalleled skill in the increasingly important area of motion-capture acting, Serkis has kind of been viewed as a second banana. After all, you never see his face on-screen, so why treat him like a star, right?

Well, that's all about to change. According to Deadline, Serkis has just been re-signed to star in the sequel to this year's blockbuster prequel "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes" -- and he's been given priority over bigger named costars James Franco and Freida Pinto.

Sounds like Hollywood is finally ready to pay some attention to the man behind the curtain.

Serkis, as you may recall, rose to semi-fame as Gollum in the worldwide phenomenon "The Lord of the Rings." Despite widespread fan acclaim, however, Serkis was snubbed by all the major industry awards because his face didn't technically appear on film, relegating him to the role of a backstage technician rather than a serious actor.

Now, though, that's all evolving thanks to films like "Avatar." Hey, it's hard to ignore $2.7 billion. And since Caesar, the hyper-intelligent chimp portrayed by Serkis in "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes," was undoubtedly the key character in that film's surprising $453 million haul, well, like we said: Money talks -- and Hollywood is finally listening.

You go, Andy.