Serkis is busy promoting War for the Planet of the Apes, the dramatic conclusion to this century’s most underrated blockbuster film franchise-one that’s seen him embody the character of Caesar, an ape imbued with human-like intelligence, from infancy to old age.
In director Matt Reeves’ War, Caesar and his clan of apes have been locked in a seemingly never-ending battle with the humans in the two years since the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
His plans are dashed when a war-hungry Colonel murders Caesar’s wife and eldest son, sending him off on a mission of revenge.
The Daily Beast spoke to Serkis about his triumphant turn as Caesar and the evolution of motion capture.
In War for the Planet of the Apes we are treated to a more hardened, battle-tested Caesar.
For me, as an actor, it was holding the audience’s hand and saying, “See the world through Caesar’s eyes, and I’ll be your guide.” But we couldn’t cross over the line to where he was too human and therefore unbelievable.
In the rehearsal periods, you can see on a monitor-that’s almost like a magic mirror-that the suit with the dots on it drives a real-time image of the character, so you can very subtly understand what your shifts in posture and movements can do to a character.
How would you compare the experience of playing Caesar to, say, Gollum? And how has motion capture evolved in those 17 years?