Andy Serkis, perhaps best known for his CGI-enhanced performance as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings movies, is reading The Hobbit live on YouTube as a benefit for UK charities providing COVID-19 relief. He started his Hobbitathon at around 5AM ET today and already has raised £203,699 (about $253,000).
“So many of us are struggling in isolation during the lockdown,” Serkis wrote on the GoFundMe page for the fundraiser. “While times are tough, I want to take you on one of the greatest fantasy adventures ever written, a 12 hour armchair marathon across Middle Earth whilst raising money for two amazing charities which are doing extraordinary work right now to help those most in need in the UK: Best Beginnings and NHS Charities Together.”
Best Beginnings works with families with young children, and funds from the Hobbitathon will go toward its work supporting the mental and physical health of pregnant families and new parents across the UK. NHS Charities Together is an umbrella organization for National Health Service charities in the UK, and it has launched an appeal to support its staff, volunteers, and patients.
If you want to catch up with Serkis’ reading, you can rewind and start from the beginning; as of 11:30AM ET, Serkis was about halfway through. He’s promised some special guests may also appear as part of the fundraiser. Nerdy fingers crossed that Ian McKellen reprises his role as Gandalf.