‘We live in a world of division:’ actor Andy Serkis on linking Brexit and ‘Mowgli’

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Andy Serkis directing “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle.” Netflix

British actor Andy Serkis has taken on British Prime Minister Theresa May in a now-viral video. Serkis, who is well known for his role as Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings,” now merges that character with May.

In it, with Gollum’s split personality, Serkis debates the pros and cons of Brexit. “It hurts the people, makes them poorer,” hisses one side. The other protests, “But I finds it and negotiates it. We wants it! We has to do it! This is the only deal. Juicy and sweet. We will have it.”

Serkis spoke with Press Play after May won a vote of confidence from Parliament and delayed a vote on the Brexit deal that she negotiated with the European Union.

Two and a half years ago, more than half of the population of Britain voted to leave the EU. “Unfortunately as we all discovered immediately afterwards -- that people were ill-informed, pretty much lied to,” Serkis said. “The last two and a half years has sapped everyone’s energy and focus about how they feel about it.”

He said of the video, “The idea behind it was to entertain. And at the same time, make people think, ‘how do we really want to move forward now?’ ”

Serkis says there’s a connection between Brexit and the new movie he directs and co-stars in, “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle.”

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Rohan Chand as Mowgli, who was raised by wolves. Credit: Netflix

“We live in a world of division, and that's really the world that Mowgli is growing up in... A version of being other...When I took the project on, I was very mindful of the fact that you can’t really tell a version of ‘The Jungle Book’ stories in this day and age without somehow dealing with the issues around the writer.”

Serkis explains that author Rudyard Kipling grew up in India, then was forced to live in England, where he was abused in his boarding house, and had to retreat to his imagination.

“That notion of being an outsider and having a sense of yearning for home is really what is the fuel for the Mowgli stories...Given that the book was written 100 years ago… it seems to be an incredibly contemporary story about being on the outside, being judged for what you are. And finding the world of animals to be a place of darkness, as well as warmth and family. And the world of man equally -- both very complicated worlds for Mowgli to be not part of either, and be part of both in.”

“Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle” is available on Netflix now.

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Andy Serkis as Baloo. Credit: Netflix