WARNING: Possible War for the Planet of the Apes spoilers below!
It’s a Lord of the Rings reunion!
Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood reconnected in ET’s suite at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday.
Serkis stopped by for an interview with ET’s Ashley Crossan, where he opened up about his latest project, War for the Planet of the Apes, which some reviewers say should earn the actor an Oscar nomination. Serkis, however, said that there’s still “prejudice” against motion capture performances.
“I’ll tell you what I’m striving for, and something that frustrates me is that there has been in the past — it’s slightly changing now — but there is prejudice against performance capture as being something that is different to acting and it’s not,” he shared. “The process of playing a role using performance capture technology is no different than going on to set as an actor playing any live action character.”
“You’re playing the scene. You’ve done the build up of the character psychologically, emotionally, physically,all the rest of it as you would in any character. It just so happens [that] in this instance, there’s another technology that’s also filming you at the same time as the movie cameras are filming you,” Serkis continued. “And there seems to be some kind of very gray area that’s a mystery surrounding performance capture.”
“So, for me, as long as that’s understood, awards aside, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “I tire of having to have this same discussion, almost starting from scratch. People saying, ‘What’s it like to put on a performance capture suit? How do you do the monkey movements?’ It’s like, it’s not about that. You’re creating a character and playing a role.”
Serkis has played Caesar in the Planet of the Apes movies since 2011, playing the role through several stages of the chimpanzee’s life.
“It started off for me as, ‘Find the chimpanzee.’ I based him on a real chimpanzee. But actually, as the movies went on, as the story progresses, as the arc of his journey changes, he came closer to me,” he explained. “In [War for the Planet of the Apes], I suppose, I portrayed very much closer to my emotions… I could only do that on this portion of the journey by bringing him very much close to my chest and playing his situation as if it were mine. What would I be feeling if I were going through these emotions, these circumstances, this loss?”
“I have such a lot of affection for the character,” he added. “I think it is because I played him all the way through his life that I find it particularly hard to let go of this one.”
Serkis isn’t the only one who has grown attached to the character he plays — he revealed that he wouldn’t even tell his children the ending of War for the Planet of the Apes.
“My kids were so cross with me, so angry with me, because my family has grown up with this trilogy. My kids didn’t expect Caesar to ever end,” he said.
As for whether Serkis would ever return to the franchise as another character, he said “conceivably” he could.
“I love this world. I love the metaphor of using apes as an amazing analogy for the human condition, and being able to see ourselves through the eyes of apes,” he confessed. “And if it were to be a Matt Reeves film, or a Rupert Wyatt film, absolutely, because they so understand the world and absolutely, crucially understand how to use that metaphor.”
Next up, Serkis will be portraying Baloo in The Jungle Book, which he’s also directing.
“It really is for a slightly older audience than the Disney version — which by the way, I loved and thought was amazing and I thought John Favreau did an amazing job. But our film is very different. It’s a live action movie, shot on location, it’s using performance capture,” he revealed. “It’s tonally darker.”
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