As Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves addressed the press -- 20th Century Fox released our first look at Serkis’ Caesar.
Serkis said that because of the way Caesar was raised by human beings, there was always a sense of not knowing who he was. “He has human belief systems. I will never forget reading the (first film’s) script for the first time and thinking about the trajectory of that character and realizing that he’s just an ape. If you take that away, he’s still an amazing character,” Serkis said.
The actor, who also plays Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies, believes that how he approached portraying Caesar in a motion capture suit is exactly why audiences resonated with the beast. “I think what people responded to was all of his recognizable human emotions. Now, it is very much about Caesar becoming a leader and having him throw away everything that he grew up with. It’s about him coming into his own by building this group of apes and chimps, 2000 strong,” Serkis said.
“He’s trying to evaluate on a daily basis how he can command this group and take it to the next level. He also has a family with two teenage sons, a wife, a counsel, and a very big community that he is responsible for. Then on top of that it is about how he communicates with human beings that he still has feelings for. Fighting back has been one of the biggest challenges for him. He is a very rich character.”
For his film, Reeves admits coyly that there will be references to the first film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. “Let's put it this way -- we don’t do it in a sort of winking way,” Reeves said and smiled.
“What was done so brilliantly in Rise was that you became an ape, you became Caesar and you cared about him. The thing that we wanted to carry forward was the emotion within the context of this story. We all know that it leads to the Planet of the Apes, not the Planet of the Humans, so our story is really about where this fits among that.”
For star Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), the journeyman actor could not be more pleased about finally making his mark on a leading man level. “It feels good. It also hurts,” he said and laughed.
“I got the call one day and they said, ‘Do you want to do Planet of the Apes?’ I said, (expletive) yea! I play a different mirror to Caesar [as opposed to James Franco]. There are many different ways to talk about it,” Clarke said.
He then gave more insight into his Dawn of the Planet of the Apes character. “I play Galvin, who was an architect who has a son and lost a wife. He now has a new partner and is trying to find a way to keep his family alive. He’s trying to survive. Through the story in a funny way he finds his inner ape as well. Through the ten years that this virus and civil war has gone on, he’s lost a lot and he gains a lot back through his interactions in the woods.”
Reeves is excited for audiences to see how the world of Apes has evolved into a simian-ruled world.
“It’s interesting because to me even though the movie deals with the viral apocalypse that comes from the end of the last film, the movie is not a post-apocalyptic movie. It’s a story that starts in the world of apes,” Reeves said. “You see what they’ve built and this primitive majestic kingdom. You see a family, and a way in which they come into being. Then they are thinking and wondering in this new creation, are the humans gone?”
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is told from the point of view of the titular characters. When they realize that humans still exist, a battle begins. “It becomes a story of survival,” Reeves said. “That’s what the whole story becomes about. How can these two populations co-exist and will it lead to violence?”