Andy Serkis has become legendary in the world of motion capture acting, from his portrayal of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings films to the title character in the 2005 remake of King Kong. There’s another character, however, that has garnered the actor a lot of praise over the past five years: Caesar, the chimpanzee from the modern Planet of the Apes series. What makes the character – as well as Serkis’ performance – so noteworthy is how the ape develops between films. In the first film Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar is more chimpanzee than human even after developing enhanced intelligence from an experimental drug, while in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes he straddles a tenuous balance between the two.
Now, with the third film in the reboot series, War for the Planet of the Apes, it looks like Serkis is intent on moving Caesar even further into the realm of “humanity.”
During our visit to War for the Planet of the Apes set, Serkis revealed that Caesar will be more human-like than ever.
The character will walk more upright and, in keeping with the development in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, he’ll be more fluent in his ability to speak human language – which will be his primary method of expression:
Physically, he is much more upright, much more human-like. He’s continued to evolve. Linguistically he’s much more fluent. In this movie Caesar is much more, he becomes almost human.
If you remember in the last movie, the apes were discovering language. They were finding a sort of prototype language and it was a combination of signing and ape vocalizations and the odd human word. For Caesar now, the human word becomes his primary form of expression. That was a very big challenge for me, personally, in this movie in terms of charting the next version of Caesar, Caesar Mark 3.
The fact that Serkis and writer/director Matt Reeves (who also helmed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) seem bent on not only continuing the saga of Caesar but how he has evolved between films is good news for fans.
Continuing the character’s (as well as his simian brethren) march toward achieving full sentience is only natural, especially if Reeves wants his series to server as a bridge to where the original Planet of the Apes starts (even if only as a spiritual precursor).
Some fans, of course, would rather the series get to that point sooner rather than later, hoping for a direct Planet of the Apes remake to eventually take place. Given how well received Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was (grossing over $700 million worldwide and maintaining a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes), most viewers will be willing to give the director the benefit of the doubt when it comes to War for the Planet of the Apes and its intended direction.