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How on Earth does Andy Serkis not have an Oscar yet? Chalk it up to the limiting criteria of the Academy that they have not recognized the incredible work this British thespian has been doing in the realm of motion-capture performance in sagas ranging from The Lord of the Rings films to this weekend’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
It is for the release of Matt Reeves’ upcoming movie – a sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes -- that I was able to sit across from Andy Serkis and talk to him about the cutting-edge technology that allows him to turn into Caesar, an intelligent ape leader who is doing everything in his power to prevent war with some distrusting humans (led by Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke). Since Serkis has been at the forefront of this digital revolution, helping tech wizards perfect the craft of capturing mo-cap performances, I started by asking him to single out something that they were able to do in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that just wasn’t possible in 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
But Andy Serkis’ "performance" is about so much more than motion capture. Now that he has been living in the skin of Caesar for the duration of two films, I wanted to talk about the different means of communication that he and Matt Reeves had worked out for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. There are long stretches of Dawn that do not have traditional dialogue. Serkis and his Apes co-stars communicate in ways we haven’t seen since the days of silent films, and I wanted to know if those old reels were an inspiration for the Dawn actors.
Before I let him go, Andy Serkis and I talked about his long-term plans for the character of Caesar, but his answer delved into spoilers. I’ll have that answer on the site next week, after all of you have had the opportunity to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The movie opens everywhere on Friday, July 11. Don’t miss it!