Andy Serkis told Screen Rant about how much the character of Caesar has changed throughout the new Planet of the Apes trilogy. The much-anticipated War for the Planet of the Apes hits theaters on Friday, and the Matt Reeves-directed third installment of the rebooted franchise drew outstanding reviews with a certified fresh 93 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Beyond the franchise’s stunning visual effects and compelling narratives, actor Andy Serkis’ mesmerizing motion capture performance as hyper-intelligent ape leader Caesar has been at the center of its newfound success.
Unlike more combative ape characters like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Koba (Toby Kebbell), Caesar has long desired peace between man and apes. But he could not prevent war forever, and War for the Planet of the Apes finds Caesar at the heart of a battle for the survival of his species and the planet as a whole. Still, as Serkis says in a new interview, Caesar at his core is the same ape he has always been.
Speaking exclusively to Screen Rant during a press junket for War for the Planet of the Apes, Serkis spoke about the development of Caesar throughout the trilogy from his life as a young ape in Rise of the Planet of the Apes to an adult in Dawn to old age in War. When asked how much he feels Caesar has changed as a “person”, Serkis said that while the character has certainly grown in intelligence and evolved through his harrowing experiences, his central values have essentially remained consistent.
“Well obviously, he would have changed but his core belief system is of fairness and understanding and empathy of others, because he was brought up with human beings – good human beings who offered him love and showed him. Unlike Koba, who was an ape in a laboratory, in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes he starts a war against Caesar because he was brought up with hatred from human beings and then actually leads the apes into a war situation. But Caesar really is, I think, someone who is egalitarian, he cares and values the opinions of the other apes and also values the possibility of peace between humans and apes, through peaceful solution.”
With his transformation into Caesar, Serkis has crafted as compelling a mo-cap character as as ever been portrayed on screen. Raised by good-hearted humans in Rise and compelled to peacefully protect his ape brethren in Dawn, Caesar never truly wanted a war, which he spent much of Dawn trying to avoid. In War, Caesar’s struggles to hold on to his egalitarian nature in a time of war will be one of the sequel’s most intriguing narratives.
War for the Planet of the Apes finds Caesar, who will have risen to legendary status, as conflicted as ever as he confronts the deadly realities of the battle that humans are waging against his kind. It remains to be seen how much Caesar will change or evolve in the third installment, but Serkis will almost certainly deliver yet another thrilling performance as what’s become one of Hollywood’s greatest CGI characters.
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