In Which I Discuss Hollywood Hiring An Actor Pretending to be an Ape to Teach Its Animators to Understand the Soul of an Ape
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a surprisingly fun B-movie, but for me, by far the most impressive thing about it thing about it is Andy Serkis’ acting, especially now that I know that COMPANIES PAY HIM TO ACT LIKE A CHIMP TO TEACH THEM WHAT CHIMPS ACT LIKE! Serkis, best known for his work as Gollum in Lord of the Rings, “plays” Caesar the ape. And by “plays,” I mean acted as a model for the animators when they were creating Caesar, Caesar being an all-CGI ape who looks and grunts and acts like an ape in pretty much every way. OF COURSE they needed a human to act like an ape in order to animate an ape! DUH. Can you imagine? It’s every actor’s dream! Creating the missing link using only THE WORDLESS PURE EMOTION OF PRIMAL FEELINGS! It’s the most high-tech hippie theater game ever conceived, and my mental image of it encapsulates the absurdity of Hollywood PERFECTLY.
“We need a realistic CGI chimp that will be totally believable as a real chimp! It’s never been done! But how???”
“CALL ANDY SERKIS!
“HE’S A CLASSICALLY-TRAINED BRITISH ACTOR!”
“But that’s… BRILLIANT!”
Cut to three weeks later, Andy Serkis wearing a head-to-toe green leotard covered in mo-cap censors, crouching on top of a box, hissing at a team of animators who note his every movement in their notebooks.