A new behind the scenes video shows Andy Serkis transforming into Caesar in promotional clip for War for the Planet of the Apes. Serkis, of course, is arguably the most accomplished motion-capture actor in film, having first displayed his skills while playing Gollum in director Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, starting in 2001. Since then he's only improved upon his unique talent, reteaming with Jackson to play the title role in 2005's King Kong and in 2015, eerily bringing the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke to life in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The big difference with Serkis' playing Caesar in the new Planet of the Apes trilogy, though, is that the action is largely centered around his character. Going from a major supporting character in Rise of the Planet of the Apes to the lead in the 2014 follow-up Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes, Serkis' portrayal as the Caesar character has become more realistic with each passing turn, thanks to ever-changing technology.
In a new video released Friday by 20th Century Fox, the production seamlessly blends footage of Serkis staring straight into the camera, giving his motion-capture performance as Caesar as he turns into a full-fledged version of character. The footage starts out as Serkis the actor, wearing a gray suit, motion-capture headset and computer markers on his face, citing lines as Caesar as he subtly turns into the character. The clip, while not footage from the the film, still deserves a stirring prologue message about the motivation of Caesar in War for the Planet of the Apes. The video ends with a message on screen, "Not all heroes are human."
While other actors have seemed to perfected the art of motion-capture — namely Toby Kebbell, who plays Koba in the Apes films and made King Kong a menacing presence in Kong: Skull Island — Serkis could easily be considered a pioneer in the field. With any luck, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will seriously consider Serkis for his talents come Oscar time; if not with a Best Actor nomination, then a honorary Oscar for his groundbreaking work, at the very least.
True, he has the benefit of having computer-generated features enhance his performance, but there's no question that essence of character is not lost underneath the wizardry of the computer animators' work. Plus, with a video like this new featurette, it's easy to see just how Serkins' eyes and facial features and expressions are captured in the full rendering of Caesar. On top of that, Serkis is just a great actor. It's amazing how his motion-capture performances are more convincing than most live-action actors. Not all Oscar-winning performances should have to be human.
Source: 20th Century Fox
- War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) release date: Jul 14, 2017