Andy Serkis acknowledged that directing an emotional true-life tale wasn’t part of his skill set when he asked to direct Breathe.
The film, which tells the story of polio sufferer Robin Cavendish and his wife Diana, is Andy’s first foray into filmmaking and stars Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy in the lead roles.
Better known for his motion capture work on films like The Lord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes, Andy knew he was the right man to bring Breathe to the big screen, and approached his business partner Jonathan Cavendish, Robin and Diana’s only son, about directing the story.
“I came on board when I read Bill’s (William Nicholson) script, and it was without doubt one of the most emotional scripts I’ve ever read,” he told Cover Media. “I came in the next day and said to Jonathan, ‘I know this is a bit out of my wheelhouse and I’m used to directing orcs and dwarves and animals of the jungle and becoming various different creatures, but I’d like to direct your parents’ story. What do you think?’ And he said absolutely let’s do it.”
Andy and BAFTA nominated producer Jonathan founded production company The Imaginarium in 2011.
But his relationship with Jonathan wasn’t Andy’s only personal connection to the movie.
“The other personal connections I have are my mother taught disabled children back in the day, so I grew up with children who had polio and thalidomide and spina bifida,” Andy shared. “And also my father was a doctor who set up a hospital in Baghdad, I’m half Iraqi. About 20 years ago my sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. So there were many areas of my life that were pointing towards this when I read the script.”