Andy Serkis went to ‘ape camp’ for ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

ANAHEIM, Calif. — All of the actors who played apes in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” had to go to what Andy Serkis calls “Ape Camp.”

The actor — who plays Caesar in the new “Apes” sequel and its prequel “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” — was on hand with director Matt Reeves during WonderCon, and told HitFix about going through the “day in the life” of these evolving primates. He and co-stars like Judy Greer, Karin Konoval and Toby Kebbell learned things like walking, posture and sign language in their motion-capture CG skin.

But it's empathy for humans that makes Caesar's role as the leader among apes that makes this story more “subtle and nuanced,” said Serkis. His role has him as a parent of a teenaged son, but also embattled with the species that raised him.

“You can't have this story without hope,” Reeves said. “There's a real hope embodied in what happens between Jason Clarke and Keri Russell and Caesar. We know the end of the story, but it's avery long way from the end of the story. It has an epic tragic element to it.”

Watch the rest of the interview above, on how a graphic novel can bring two groups together, and why Serkis calls the first film “simple.”

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” heads to theaters on July 11 and also co-stars Gary Oldman. Is it the sequel you're most excited for this summer? Vote in our Summer Movies poll!