Andy Serkis says he has been “blown away” by the response to his marathon reading of The Hobbit novel.
The star, 56, best known for playing Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit films, is under way on a continuous, live reading of JRR Tolkien’s book for charity.
The fundraising target has now been increased to £250,000 after the initial aim of £100,000 was reached before Serkis had even began the performance, which is expected to last around 12 hours.
I want to take you on one of the greatest fantasy adventures ever written. Join me for a 12-hour armchair marathon reading of âThe Hobbitâ, in aid of two amazing charities which are doing extraordinary work right now to help those most in need@NHSuk @bestbeginnings #hobbitathon pic.twitter.com/q8qIO3diPT— Andy Serkis (@andyserkis) May 7, 2020
The star is calling on fans who watch his reading to donate via a GoFundMe campaign, with money raised to be split equally between NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings.
Serkis said: “I have been absolutely blown away by the response, both from those who have tuned in to watch along and from those who have been generous enough to donate.
“I want to express my gratitude to every single person who has come on this journey with me.
“The difference that this money will make to these two amazing charities is huge, so thank you very much.”
Serkis is reading the entire 1937 novel out loud with no breaks, although he said he might need to put up a “back in five minutes” sign to visit the loo.
The actor has been an ambassador of Best Beginnings, which works to support babies, toddlers, pregnant families and new parents and aims to reduce inequality, for over six years.
NHS Charities Together is the umbrella organisation bringing together all the official charities of the health service.
Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/thehobbitathoncovid19appeal.