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The actor who voiced Gollum is reading all of "The Hobbit" live online to raise money for charity


Andy Serkis, the voice of the ill-fated character Gollum in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” films, is inviting fans to come on another adventure with him — without leaving their homes. The actor announced Thursday he plans to read J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 fantasy novel “The Hobbit” cover to cover in a 12-hour live online marathon Friday in an effort to raise money for charity.

“So many of us are struggling in isolation during the lockdown,” Serkis wrote on his recently created GoFundMe page for the fundraiser, which he dubbed the #Hobbitathon. “While times are tough, I want to take you on one of the greatest fantasy adventures ever written, a 12 hour armchair marathon across Middle Earth.”

The British actor aims to raise £100,000, or over $123,000, through reading Tolkien’s novel. He’ll begin at 5 a.m. EST on Friday. All of the funds raised will be split equally between U.K. organizations Best Beginnings and NHS Charities Together — both of which have been working to aid those impacted by and fighting against the coronavirus crisis, Serkis said.

Serkis teased on the GoFundMe that there “may be a special surprise later in our journey” if the fundraiser hits its target. The fundraiser has netted £67,314 as of Thursday afternoon.

The link to the livestream will be posted on the GoFundMe and his Twitter page Friday morning for those looking to tune in.

The seasoned performer told the BBC he first thought of the idea “about two weeks ago,” as a way to help alleviate some of the frustrations of quarantine. “This, so to me, felt like a bit of an answer, in a way. Being able to take people on an imaginary adventure, a fantasy wander through Middle Earth.”

He also spoke about the challenge of reading the entire book in about twelve hours, comparing it to a “marathon.”

“Gotta think about all the things that marathons entail, like comfort breaks and how you sustain yourself and all of those things,” he added.”Whatever happens, happens, including if the cat walks in and pees on my laptop — then that will be part of it.”

The actor first tweeted a video Sunday announcing an “adventure” would take place on Friday, as “Gollum” interrupted in the background throughout the clip. “Can’t you keep quiet for two minutes,” Serkis said to Gollum as the video ends. He officially announced the project Thursday.

“The Hobbit” isn’t the first fantasy book to get the star treatment during quarantine. Daniel Radcliffe and other celebrities are taking turns reading chapters of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter in the films, read the first chapter of the book. The video dropped online May 5. Each week, a new narrator will read from book one in the seven-part series, according to the Wizarding World website.



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