In just a few hours actor Andy Serkis, best known in The Lord of the Rings circles for his performance as Sméagol / Gollum, will sit down for a marathon 12-hour live stream read of The Hobbit.

The reason, of course, is to raise many for those fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. Serkis has pointed out that all funds raised will go to a pair of organisations in the UK. These are Best Beginnings and NHS Charities Together.

A GoFundMe page has been setup for the event ahead of the stream starting, and it has already pulled in an amazing amount of money. At the time of writing £88 818 has been raised out of the £100 000 target (that’s around R2 million and R2.3 million respectively). This is all before a single word has been read, so we fully expect those numbers to skyrocket once Serkis gets going.

It’s worth noting that, should the £100 000 target be reached, Serkis has stated that there may be a “special surprise later in our journey”. No further details on that have been provided, but we hope another actor from The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings movies makes an appearance.

Unfortunately, right now, there’s no link to where the live stream will be happening. Serkis stated on Twitter that it would be added to that GoFundMe page today, so keep reloading it if the stream isn’t popping up.

The reading will begin today, 9th May 2020, at 10AM GMT. That’s noon here in South Africa. Should the reading take exactly 12 hours it will be done around midnight local time, so we’ll be able to listen to the last parts just in time for bed. Lovely.

We also have to point out the amazing “streamer Sméagol” image that Serkis posted. We like to imagine that Serkis himself popped open Photoshop and slaved away at it for a while.

Finally you can keep up with the event using the hashtag #Hobbitathon on social media.

EDIT: the livestream is now running and embedded below. Turns out streamer Sméagol isn’t a Photoshop, but a 1:1 scale statue wearing real headphones. Huh.