With the third part of the all new Planet of the Apes trilogy from 20th Century Fox set to hit theaters next summer, fans around the world are eagerly anticipating the release of a trailer. Like its predecessors, War for the Planet of the Apes looks to be full of stunning visuals and some incredible performances from humans and apes alike. Each new entry into the franchise has brought with it more and more breathtaking action sequences and a number of unbelievable performances form the various actors donning motion capture units to emulate the film’s apes.
Leading the pack both in the movie and in the realm of mo-cap acting is Andy Serkis. The actor first thrilled audiences with his turn as Golem/Smeagle in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s been Serkis’ work as the world’s first intelligent ape, Caesar, however, that has garnered him heaps of praise and accolades. The role has also made him the go-to for anyone looking to bring more emotion into their digitally rendered performance.
When we talked with Planet of the Apes producer Dylan Clark during our recent set visit, he said that the quality of Caesar’s performance, and the films themselves, was very intentional and inspired by modern cable television.
“The truth is a lot of audience members are looking at film now almost like episodic television. You have all these great cable TV shows, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, and you get to really document minute-by-minute segments of these people’s lives and they love it. It’s shot like movies now. It’s just great stuff. Film is starting to take note. So there’s a lot of cynicism about,'”Oh God, another redo of this, or another chapter of this thing.’ But the truth is, once you have great characters – and I’m not saying we do but I’m saying we’re striving for great characters – once you have that, the audience wants more. We really do believe Caesar is a great character.”
Clark is right in saying that the past decade has seen a rise in more cinematic television series. Not just Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, but shows like Mad Men and Netflix’s original series have shown that a TV show can look just as beautiful as any movie. Furthermore, TV’s move away from episodic content and into serialized storytelling has meant characters and plots can grow and change organically over the course of a season or series.
With a limited runtime, movies can only do so much heavy lifting when it comes to their characters and the stories they’re trying to tell. While the proliferation of sequels, prequels, and shared universes has helped movies to mirror the structure of TV shows, filmmakers are still limited. Still, it’s good to know that Clark and the people behind blockbusters like the Apes franchise are paying attention to what’s happeneing on smaller screens. After all, TV shows would never have become so cinematic without cinema first leading the way.
We’ve got a lot more information coming from our set visit, so stay tuned for all things War for the Planet of the Apes.