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Andy Serkis’s Invaluable Help with KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Detailed By Actor and Director — GeekTyrant read full article at

We are just a few months away from the release of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. This will be the first film in the franchise in quite a while that will not welcome the return of Andy Serkis, who played Caesar in the rebooted franchise. His character died at the end of War For the Planet of the Apes, and though his legacy is living on in this next film, Serkis’s iconic character will not. The actor did however play a major role in the making of the movie, helping the director and actors cultivate this new chapter.

In a recent interview with GamesRadar, the film’s star, Owen Teague, sat down to discuss the asset that was Andy Serkis behind the scenes of the film. Teague explained:

“To start, I spoke to Andy on Zoom for an hour and a half in my apartment. And then, he ended up meeting with the rest of the cast in ‘ape school’ over Zoom, where he would have conversations with us. He was really, really lovely and generous. He’s somebody that I have looked up to since I was six years old. He passed the torch. Andy helped me feel good about going into this because he’s done it for so long. One thing he said was, ‘It’s just acting. Approach it the same way as you would anything else. This is no different. You’re putting on a costume of this ape, but you still do all the other work that you normally do.’ That was really good to hear.”

When it comes to being the new face of the blockbuster franchise, Teague admitted there’s a ton of pressure on his shoulders.

“It’s terrifying. But it’s also amazing. It’s totally surreal. I never thought I would be leading a franchise that Andy Serkis previously led. That’s ridiculous to even say because one of the reasons I’m an actor is because I saw Andy doing Kong as a kid.” 

Talking about the stress related to his important new role, Teague added:

“There’s definitely a lot of pressure. Fortunately, I didn’t think about while we were actually filming, but now I’m feeling it. I hope he likes it. I hope he feels like we did a good job.”

GamesRadar also reports that during a trailer launch event in Los Angeles, director Wes Ball also revealed that Serkis served as an advisor on the new movie, being happy to impart his advice to the cast and crew. And early on, the British actor was indeed considered for a role in the upcoming trilogy, even going in to read some lines.

“We thought, ‘Man, wouldn’t it be cool to bring Andy in to play another character.’ At one point, he came in and read some lines against one of the actors – and you could just hear Caesar. We asked him to help, but it felt wrong [to add him to the cast]. We decided not to do it, but I talked to Andy a lot.”

Speaking further about Serkis’ behind-the-scenes role in the upcoming film, the director added:

“I showed him the script and I told him what the ideas were. I showed him the concept art and I would ask him, ‘Am I getting this right?’ Andy was crucial in sitting with us and talking about how we could stay true to the spirit of the previous movies while still carving our own path.” 

Serkis, of course, has a long history in performance capture. Ball said:

“When he made Apes, he’d already made Gollum, King Kong, and [Captain Haddock] from Tintin. He is a veteran of mo-cap, but all of our actors had never done this before. This is totally new for them. I said, ‘Andy, could you come in and talk to the gang and give them some pointers?’ He replied, ‘Absolutely. Say no more.’ Andy is seriously the nicest freakin’ guy ever. He’s so generous, kind, and supportive, so he talked to all of the actors and told them about what he had learned.” 

When it comes to the important lessons shared with the actors, Ball explained:

“You can’t pretend to be an ape, you have to be an ape. That’s hard for our actors. I mean, they’re walking around with these silly suits. They look ridiculous. How do you get past that and just be? That was a real journey and struggle for all the guys at first – but they went for six weeks of ape camp where they just improvised and they frickin’ loved it. I’d go and check on them and as soon as I walked into the room, they would start to act like apes around me. It’s intimidating as hell! They were in it. It was a fascinating process.” 

It’s awesome that Serkis was able to mentor the new cast and impart the wisdom he’s accrued from playing in this world for so long.

The cast for the film also includes Freya Allen (The Witcher), Peter Macon (The Orville), Travis Jeffery (Unbroken), Neil Sandilands (Sweet Tooth), Sara Wiseman (One Of Us Is Lying), Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi (The Clearing), Lydia Peckham (Cowboy Bebop), and Kevin Durand. The script for the film comes from Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and Patrick Aison (Prey). Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is set to be released in US theaters on May 10th. If you haven’t seen the new trailer, check it out here.

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