Exclusive: Andy Serkis Talks ‘War For The Planet Of The Apes’ and Smeagol Meets Caesar
Andy Serkis talks the hardest part of motion capture acting in ‘War For The Planet Of The Apes’ and gives us an idea of what it would sound like if Smeagol met Caesar…
Tucked away in an unassuming interior chamber of the Madison Square Garden Theatre, we caught up with Hollywood franchise starter Andy Serkis to talk the upcoming trilogy topper ‘War For The Planet Of The Apes.’ Before chatting with the voice behind the now stately Caesar voice actor, lucky New York Comic Con 2016 attendees were able to get a roughly cut 7 minute sneak peek at the upcoming blockbuster, and the evolution of the high-tech motion capture technology that makes it all happen… and look really darn cool might I add. Joined by the film’s director Matt Reeves and producer Dylan Clark, Serkis and company commandeered the animated panel and fed the receptive audience tender morsels of behind-the-scenes information.
The jovial English actor was nothing but smiles when we met. Even after a healthy cue of interviews Serkis maintained a very pleasant and accommodating demeanor, happily playing along or calling us out on our attempted “Con…”
Watch FilmFad’s full exclusive interview with “War For The Planet Of The Apes” actor Andy Serkis:
Motion Capture (MoCap), although relatively unfamiliar in practice, has been vastly used over the past decade and half in hit franchises such as “Lord Of The Rings” and the 2011 reboot of “Planet Of The Apes.” The familiar image of actors wearing lycra body suits with their faces covered with dots and wearing a crown mounted camera is often what is presumed to be the extent of a MoCap acting gig. But as Serkis explains, there is far to motion capture acting than meets the eye and it can take a toll on the actor.
Having played Caesar now over the course of three movies, and having played him from infancy to a statesman like character in the latter part adulthood, each movie has had it’s physical challenges. When I was playing the toddler Caesar, the young infant Caesar, it was very physically demanding because of his quick energy and quaraped-ing. As he’s grown older, he’s grown linguistically… more complex kind of emotionally and psychologically. In this last film, in “War,” it was very physically demanding. Not because I was quadraped-ing around so much, but because of the weight, psychological and emotional weight of the character that I was carrying through the movie.
Serkis also proved to be both keenly witted and a great sport to play along with us, eventhough he quickly saw through our ploy to have him conjure a few of his iconic voice works.
I can see where this is going. You’re wanting me to do a little bit of Smeagol and a little bit of Caesar. I think Caesar would probably say “you are trying to con me.”
To which his Smeagol voice immediately chimed in to say:
“No he’s not, precious.”
In playing the psychologically evolving role of Caesar, Serkis’ carries a great emotional weight and, as he relates to us, it comes with a price. Aside from the physical strain of the motion capture process, there is a emotional strain that can linger with the actor even after filming wraps.
What you’re doing as an actor is you are tricking your mind and your body into feeling the emotions for real, for the camera. You’re chemically changing your body… It does cost. It costs you in all ways.
But, as the master of his acting craft that he is, Serkis is not without his means of decompressing after a stressful role.
A lot of R and R, really, and massage therapy…
I will say, that while general audience’s may not understand the full scope of what MoCap acting entails, the Panel and our conversation with Andy Serkis was enlightening as to how much MORE difficult it can be as an actor, let alone filmmaker.