The marathon event — which Serkis has fittingly dubbed “a Hobbitathon” — will kick off at 10 a.m. in the U.K. (5 a.m. EST and 2 a.m. PST) and is expected to last at least 12 hours. Serkis has set up a GoFundMe for the reading and hopes to raise £100,000 (about $123,000) for two U.K. organizations, Best Beginnings and NHS Charities Together. Should the fundraiser reach its goal, Serkis suggested “there may be a special surprise later in our journey.” A link to the livestream will be posted on the GoFundMe page and Serkis’ social media channels.
“From an unexpected party to the last stage, join Bilbo and me on this tale of high adventure,” Serkis wrote in a description of the event. “Together we’ll face the might of the trolls, journey to the magical Rivendell, encounter the giant spiders in the labyrinths of Mirkwood, and the evil goblins living among the roots of the Misty Mountains, until we meet the dragon Smaug, and see the Battle of the Five Armies.”
Serkis famously helped pioneer a new era of CGI/motion capture acting and filmmaking with his role as Gollum/Sméagol in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (he reprised his role in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, then worked behind-the-scenes on the next two films in that series). Serkis’ more recent credits include appearances in the recent Star Wars and Planet of the Apes trilogies, while he’s also directed films like Breathe, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle and the upcoming Venom: Let There Be Carnage.