As skeptical as I was about the current Planet of the Apes reboot that began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes and continued this past summer with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, they more than delivered, exceeding expectations not once, but twice. Both movies were hits, but Dawn just crossed the $700 million threshold worldwide, and we already knew that there was a sequel on the way. Much of the success of this revitalized franchise rests on Andy Serkis, who plays the ape leader Caesar in a motion capture suit, yet still manages to convey an incredible range of feeling and emotion. He’ll, necessarily, be around for the next film, and director Matt Reeves, who helmed Dawn shed some light on what we can expect to see from the character in the future.
Serkis is so vital to the movies, and so good in his role, despite being covered with layers of pixels, that he’s even being pushed in the upcoming Oscar race, which would be a first. Reeves sat down with Coming Soon, and talked about Serkis, his importance to the films, and the upcoming third (depending on how you’re counting these).
Talking about Caesar’s evolution as a character and his story arc, Reeves says, “The first one is sort of how [Caesar] goes from humble beginnings to becoming a revolutionary. In ‘Dawn,’ he really rose to occasion of becoming a leader in really challenging and difficult times.”
And moving forward, they have a definite strategic plan in store for the ape, serving as almost a founding father type figure. Reeves says:
The notion of what we’re after with the third is to sort of continue that trajectory and see how he becomes a seminal figure in ape history. He almost becomes sort of like an ape Moses. A mythic status… We’re trying to play out those themes and continue to sort of explore it in this universe. Exploring human nature under the guise of apes.
Part of what makes Caesar so interesting as a character, is that he is really a man, or in this case an ape, without a real home. Though smart, he’s obviously not quite human and doesn’t belong there, but at the same time, as we saw in Rise, when thrown in with the other apes, he doesn’t fit there either. According to Reeves, his is a vital part of who he is as a character. Reeves says:
A thing I always found very moving was the concept of a character that was [an outsider]. Andy [Serkis] told me the way he played him and the thing that really moved me was that [Caesar] was really all about being an outsider. [He] said that [he] felt [he] was human until the one day it was made clear that that [he isn’t]. [He] said it felt like heartbreak. Like, ‘Oh, I’m not one of them!’ Then he’s thrown in with the apes, but he’s not one of them either. He’s an outsider to both. That was very moving to me because he’s an outsider to both but connected to both. He is the unique character in this story to be able to connect between the human and the ape world.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hits Blu-ray and DVD on December 2, just in time to be a Christmas stocking stuffer, while the next new chapter is scheduled to open on July 29, 2016.