(NEW YORK) — Friday sees the release of War for the Planet of the Apes, the third installment of the reboot series that began in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Andy Serkis reprises his role as Caesar, the brilliant leader of the ape clan. Serkis has played the character from the beginning thanks to the motion capture technology that he’s has been helping to perfect with his company, The Imaginarium. And as Serkis tells ABC Radio, that tech has really advanced since he played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings.
“The photorealism, the hair…the eyes — everything about the way that the characters are…on screen, really honors the actors’ performance in a way you’ve never really seen before,” he says.
Steve Zahn plays a new character, Bad Ape, an escapee from a zoo; he, like Caesar, has evolved to speak. Zahn says that his performance goes beyond the special effects that transform him into his simian onscreen counterpart.
“You act with these suits on, with dots, and they’re capturing your performance to make you look like an ape,” tells ABC Radio. “[But] They can’t make me be an ape. They can’t make me run like an ape…they can’t give me the characteristics and those things that actors do.”
The previous movie, 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, saw a fragile peace between humans and apes strained to the brink. This time, all hell breaks loose.
“The empathetic leader we’ve known [Caesar] to be…is shattered,” Serkis says, “because of the events that happen at the hands of Woody Harrelson’s character, The Colonel.”
“And so Caesar goes off on a full-bore journey of hatred and revenge, which is very out of…his character.”
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