War for the Planet of the Apes star Andy Serkis stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night to promote the third film in the post-apocalyptic prequel series. While there, the actor found himself channeling his iconic Lord of the Rings character, Gollum, to poke fun at some of Donald Trump’s tweets.
Serkis has become legendary for his innovations as a motion capture performer. His breakthrough in the medium came in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which he followed up by appearing in LOTR director Peter Jackson’s 2005 adaptation of King Kong, where he played the titular doomed ape. Apparently acquiring a taste for portraying simians who are tormented by mankind, Serkis has portrayed Caesar, the leader of a revolution against a disease-ravaged humanity, in all three of the modern Planet of the Apes films.
After showing some impressive behind the scenes footage of Serkis’ motion capture performance for War for the Planet of the Apes, Colbert asked Serkis to indulge in a bit of fun at Donald Trump’s expense. A lifelong Lord of the Rings obsessive (who once famously beat Peter Jackson in a LOTR trivia contest), Colbert requests Serkis read a few of the embattled president’s more infamous tweets in the voice of Gollum (or, per Colbert’s very nerdy addendum, the voice of Smeagol would also be fine). Serkis was more than game, leaping onto the couch in Gollum’s iconic crouching stance, regaling the visibly delighted Colbert with readings of lines about fakes news and “covfefe”.
Serkis also took time to discuss his time as Caesar, and how the character has evolved along the world around him. He notes that War for the Planet of the Apes finds Caesar in a particularly dark place, and the story of the film revolves around Caesar’s struggle to remain a morally pure champion in the face of unthinkable tragedy.
It’s unclear at this point if War for The Planet of the Apes will close out the franchise. Early reviews have been strong, but the box office prospects have been projected as slightly lower than the previous installment. And while director Matt Reeves has expressed enthusiasm about continuing the story, he’ll soon be tied up with another blockbuster series, as he begins his work developing DC’s The Batman. Even if War for the Planet of the Apes is the end of the line for this iteration of the series, Serkis’ performance as Caesar will stand as an iconic film achievement.
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