Set in present day San Francisco, the film is a reality-based cautionary tale where man’s experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy. Amidst the confusion of his study’s sudden termination, scientist Will Rodman (Franco) secretly raises a young chimpanzee named Caesar (Serkis) as his own, at home, while caring for his ailing father. Due to exposure in Will’s miracle drug, young Caesar displays intelligence and behaviors unusual for an ape of any age. Inspired by his observation of Caesar’s unexpected gifts, Will, against his better judgment privately continues his research at home, using his father and Caesar as test subjects. But he soon discovers, it has taken him – and ultimately the entire human race – on a ruinous path.
Andy Serkis aka Gollum as Caesar
As Weta Digital utilized its state-of-the-art tools to render photo-realistic apes, the world’s foremost performance capture artist, actor Andy Serkis, came aboard the project to infuse Caesar with nuance, emotion, soul, wisdom and heart. Serkis’ contributions to the movie cannot be overestimated, says Wyatt: “Andy Serkis is our generation’s Charlie Chaplin. By that I mean he’s one of the very few actors around who has fully embraced the available visual effects technology because he completely understands the full potential of what it can achieve. I think some actors are intimidated by performance capture because they think it’s separating their performance from the actual reality of the film, when quite the opposite is true. Andy understands that every little nuance – every breath, every little muscle movement that he gives on camera is visual exposition. Film is primarily a visual medium and if you are able to have your character tell a story with a minimal amount of words, then that’s ideal.”
Caesar’s character arc takes the chimp from a newborn to an adult and the leader of a revolution. Serkis, who gave acclaimed performances as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and as Kong in King Kong, notes that “Caesar is one of the most formidable roles I’ve undertaken, both physically and emotionally. It’s one thing to play a chimpanzee, but to play one from infancy to adulthood – and a revolutionary leader – well, that’s quite another. But it was irresistible to me as an actor.
Tom Felton after Harry Potter
In a recent chat with Total Film, Felton revealed he’s keen to further expand his range, to join Serkis in CGIcircles. “I bored Andy for hours about how he got into it and how he came to be the godfather of it all,” said Felton “He talked me through a lot of it, and it’s something I’d like to look into.There’s so many scripts that you could have read 20 years ago and you’d have said ‘You can’t physically make that’ but now it’s an option - you can do things that weren’t really achievable. “In this film you’re going to see such advances in the CGI that you’re going to look back at the old apes costumes and really think ‘that’s history’,” Felton shares.