Andy Serkis almost turned down the offer to portray Gollum in 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

The 53-year-old actor shot to fame in the hit Peter Jackson franchise - based on J. R. R. Tolkien's books - and has since gone on to become the go-to guy in Hollywood for motion caption roles and he now runs The Imaginarium Studios production company with producer Jonathan Cavendish which specialises in Performance Capture technology.

At first, Serkis thought the part was just a voice role and he came close to snubbing the part that changed his career.

Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, he revealed: ''When I started doing 'Lord of the Rings', I liked the gamble. Originally, I heard it was going to be like doing a voice for a digital character, and I wasn't interested, but then I met Peter Jackson and he said, 'We want an actor to play the role, be on set and make decisions for that character'.''

After starring as the deformed, schizophrenic creature, Serkis took on the role as the giant ape in 'King Kong' and admitted he found it to be an ''epiphany''.

Serkis - who also portrayed intelligent chimpanzee Caesar in the 'Planet of the Apes' trilogy - said: ''That was the epiphany because it was like: you can now play anything. Then, as the technology evolved and facial capture came into play, and [it became] total performance capture, not just motion, I realised how important it is as an actor's tool in the 21st century.''

Serkis has gone behind the camera for his directorial debut on the drama 'Breathe' - starring Andrew Garfield as Robin Cavendish, the father of Serkis' business partner, who was a paralysed polio sufferer who pioneered for disability rights - and he has admitted that he cried when he first read the script.

He said: ''I really did cry my eyes out, and that never happens to me.''