It may be the final chapter of the "Caesar Trilogy," but War for the Planet of the Apes shows that the newly-born species of intelligent apes still have some way to go before they become the civilization that audiences first met in the 1968 movie. These apes can use guns and ride horses, but almost all of them still communicate using sign language rather than speaking aloud, and they don't yet wear clothes. The movie does, however, offer a vision of the apes' future in the form of Bad Ape (Steve Zahn): a chimp who was liberated from a local zoo, who learned to speak by imitating his captors (hence his name), and who wears a puffy jacket in order to stave off the cold of winter.
For humans, the future looks a little more bleak. Caesar (Andy Serkis) and a small group of his closest friends stumble across a young mute girl called Nova (Amiah Miller) - one of the first "de-evolved" humans of the kind that George Taylor eventually meets later in the franchise's timeline.
Screen Rant got the chance to speak to Zahn and Miller about their characters ahead of War for the Planet of the Apes' release. Check out a video of the interview above, and a transcript below.
Steve, you have a big responsibility as in quite a grim and sober movie, you have most of the comedic beats. How did you balance the delivery of those?
STEVE ZAHN: Well, I didn’t think of it as a comic character, really. That’s how I delivered it. He’s not. He’s actually a tragic character. He has the same experiences that Caesar has: loss and he’s been alone for a long time. But I knew it would be amusing, I would hope that it would’ve been, but I knew that just playing the truth of this guy, which is, desperate for companionship. All he cares about is being around “people”. He’s been alone for so long, that it would be hopefully, you know, contradictory to what we’ve been experiencing through the journey – which is really dark stuff.
Kind of a tragic/comic character?
SZ: Yeah, and I think it was brilliant of Matt, really, how he put it in there. I was worried that some of it wouldn’t play and yet, I was amazed that some of it did. Like the binoculars scene I thought, “There’s no way. You can’t put this in there.” Like really? It works. It works.
Nova is kind of an interesting character because whenever we see how much she understands, we know she can use language. She learns sign language. Were you given an idea of how much comprehension she had of this world she found herself in?
AMIAH MILLER: They taught me sign language, and stuff like that, but I really wanted it to be like I put myself into it too but Matt wanted me to do it myself because he wanted everything to be natural. So I was just kind of doing what I felt should be done with that part but yeah, I was just going with the flow.
Nova isn’t really sure, at one point she asks if she’s an ape. Do you think she feels more of a connection with the apes than with fellow humans?
AM: Yeah, because, yeah, she just feels connected to them and she’s picking up on their mannerisms and stuff like that, so I mean, I would think I was an ape if I was in a that situation. *laughs*
SZ: They’re kind of coming together aren’t they?
SZ: Yeah, because they’re both moving in opposite directions and yet at the same time…
SZ: Yeah, the sensibilities are coming full circle. Kinda weird.
- War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) release date: Jul 14, 2017