Actor Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in Sir Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, is taking on an extra role in the two Hobbit films.
As well as reprising his on-film performance, Serkis has also been hired by Sir Peter as a second-unit director on The Hobbit.
That means he will be asked to take charge of shooting some scenes on the production.
"It is wide ranging and encompasses a lot of directing aspects of filmmaking and story," he told the Hollywood Reporter.
"There is some performance capture, but I will be very much on the live-action sets and locations helping Peter to tell the story," he said.
"When Peter asked me, there was this email out of the blue. It was a fantastic surprise".
The actor told the Hollywood Reporter online that he understood Sir Peter's "sensibility".
"We have a common history of understanding Middle Earth," he said.
"A lot of the crew from The Lord of the Rings was returning to work on The Hobbit. There is really a sense of Peter wanting people around him who totally understand the material and the work ethic."
The Hobbit is being shot in 3D, and Serkis said the book would be "faithfully represented with a fresh interpretation".
Of his own performance in the filming now underway, he said: "He is very much a Gollum that people will recognise."
Serkis planned to direct his first live-action feature once filming on The Hobbit wraps up, and hoped to launch a perform-capture studio and training centre.
Serkis also has performance-capture work in two additional movies: as Caesar in the prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Captain Haddock in The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn.