In May 2020, Andy Serkis—who played Gollum in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies—returned to Middle-earth for an epic read-aloud of The Hobbit that lasted 11 hours straight and raised more than $400,000 for COVID-19 relief efforts. After this so-called #Hobbitathon ended, Serkis went on to record an actual audiobook edition of the novel for HarperCollins UK.
If you listened to Serkis’s inspired rendition and wished he would also record J.R.R. Tolkien’s entire The Lord of the Rings trilogy on audio, we have fantastic news: That’s exactly what he’s doing. As The Bookseller reports, all three digital audiobooks—The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King—will be released on September 16, 2021 in the U.S. and the UK.
To anyone who’s seen the movies (or better yet, seen behind-the-scenes footage of a crouched, Spandex-clad Serkis performing as Gollum), it’s clear that the acclaimed actor knows how to inhabit a complicated character. And based on his description of the audiobook recording process, it appears that he’s committed to every role in Middle-earth with the same enthusiasm and intensity: He called the experience “equal measures of pure joy, sheer madness, immense pleasure, and a level of psychological and physical fatigue I have never quite experienced the like of before.”
“I actually feel like I have lived through Tolkien’s saga, and felt his profound understanding of and connection to nature, love, war, truth, hatred, and altruism,” Serkis told The Bookseller. “Each day I genuinely went through ups and downs, often coinciding with the progress of the ring-bearer and his companions. On more than one occasion I was sure I wasn’t going to make it to the Crack of Doom!”
U.S. residents can pre-order the audiobooks from Audible here.
[h/t The Bookseller]