Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Serkis: Ape

This morning I saw a story on AICN that promised to reveal which actor was playing Caesar, the chimpanzee revolutionary at the center of the upcoming Rise of the Apes.  Before even clicking through, I thought to myself, "Watch it be Andy Serkis."  Then I clicked the link and, uh, yeah, it's Andy Serkis.  While Serkis' face and name may not be familiar to many, his performances no doubt are, thanks to his memorable mo-cap work portraying Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and playing a slightly bigger ape in '05's King Kong.  Based on his work there, it looks like Serkis has become typecast as Hollywood's go-to "motion-capture ape guy."

In Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the film from which this new one most clearly springs, the central ape roles were, of course, played by actors in appliances, with Caesar himself played by series star Roddy McDowall.  Since they are going the all-CG, mo-cap route with this one, I guess Serkis is the guy to do it, and he joins star James Franco, and the recently-announced John Lithgow and Freida Pinto in the cast.  I still have some concerns about how directly Rise will be tied in with the existing Apes mythology, and -- more importantly -- whether it will even click with audiences, but regardless, the film is due to hit theaters just over a year from now (and just under ten years since Fox's last go at the property).

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