Could it be considered type-casting at this point? English actor Andy Serkis - famous for motion-capture performances like Gollum in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy and the title character in the King Kong remake - will once again don a spandex suit adorned with ping-pong balls - this time portraying Caesar in Rise of the Apes, the Planet of the Apes prequel.
Caesar is the test subject for a scientist working on a cure for Alzheimer's. Unexpectedly, the ape begins to evolve at an alarming rate and sets in motion the chain of events that lead to an ape revolt.
20th Century Fox's Vice President of Corporate Communications, Chris Petrikin, revealed Serkis' involvement through his Twitter account yesterday:
This is cool: Gollum reteams with Weta. Andy Serkis to star as Caesar in "Rise of the Apes," portraying chimp who leads the simian revolt.
Serkis joins a cast that includes James Franco as the desperate scientist, John Lithgow as his Alzheimer's- stricken father, and Frieda Pinto as a primatologist presumably helping with the experiments. Rise of the Apes will be directed by Rupert Wyatt from a script by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.
Rise of the Apes will incorporate real animals and some prosthetic work, however the majority of the apes will be digitally rendered by the talented folks over at WETA. Of course there's an over abundance of movie CGI these days, and having CGI apes is also a dramatic deviation from tradition of the these Apes films, it also makes perfect sense, given the nature of the story. Considering that WETA's work in the past has been nothing short of incredible, I'm not particularly worried.
I can't help but wonder where Rise of the Apes fits in with the franchise as a whole. Particularly because it sounds more like a reboot than a prequel, since it is ostensibly rewriting the origin story depicted in the fourth film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. That film wasn't entirely accurate either though, as it contradicted elements of Caesar's back story previously established by the franchise. I suppose they could just ignore Conquest, but Rise really does sound like the start of a brand new series, if you think about it.
Regardless, Serkis is an obvious and terrific choice to play Caesar, and although I initially dismissed this film as somewhat ridiculous, I'm slowly warming up to it. They've assembled an interesting cast and I thoroughly enjoyed the director's previous film, The Escapist.
Are you excited about Andy Serkis joining the cast of Rise of the Apes? What are your thoughts on the film so far? The movie is set for release on June 24, 2011.