Andy Serkis’s Tips For Playing an Ape

Chris Tilly

Andy Serkis has played Caesar in three movies — Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War For the Planet of the Apes. Making him pretty much the expert when it comes to monkeying around onscreen. So when he stopped by the FANDOM studio, we asked Serkis for tips and advice for someone hoping to follow in his paw-prints by playing an ape onscreen.

“There’s a difference between playing a full ape, and playing the apes in these movies who of course have been enhanced in some way, and are evolving,” explains Serkis. “Like Caesar, who starts off as a chimpanzee, but then very, very quickly starts to carry himself in a more human-like way. It’s funny because when we work with new actors coming in, it’s like: ‘Yes, go and study apes, go to the zoo, go and look at video footage.’ But then you have to kind of throw it all away and base it on a character. What is the character?

“Steve Zahn talks very eloquently about coming into the process and saying he did do all that research, but actually he thought of ‘Bad Ape’ as a lonely mountain guy. A mountain man who was a hoarder to make himself feel less lonely. And that’s the sort of work that you start to do. So yes, learn to quadruped, learn to make ape vocalisations, do all that study. But finally, it comes back to character.”

War For the Planet of the Apes is out now Digital, Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD.

Chris Tilly
FANDOM Managing Editor in the UK. At this point my life is a combination of 1980s horror movies, Crystal Palace football matches, and episodes of I'm Alan Partridge. The first series. When he was in the travel tavern. Not the one after.
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