Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes: Wes Ball Talks Andy Serkis’ Influential Role Behind the Scenes

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes director Wes Ball reveals how original trilogy star Andy Serkis played a key role during the production of the upcoming installment.

“I had worked with Andy [previously]. I got to know Andy a little bit previously on the previous movie,” Ball said in an interview with Collider. “And Matt [Reeves] would always say, he’s the best actor I’ve ever worked with. We thought early on that it would be cool to bring Andy in to play another character, that would be pretty awesome. I talked to Andy a lot. I showed him the script. Told him what the ideas were. I talked to him, showed him the concept art, all this kind of stuff. And like, “Am I getting this right? Is this going to feel blah, blah, blah?” I want to do something a little different. They’re going to talk more in this movie.”

Serkis played the lead ape protagonist Caesar in 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its sequels in 2014 and 2017. The initial test subject of the experimental ALZ-112 cure, Caesar evolves from a young scientist’s (James Franco) innocent companion to the valiant leader of a large ape tribe while remaining compassionate to what’s left of the human race. Though Serkis’ Caesar met a heroic demise in the previous installment, the actor was happy to advise the new Apes cast through the motion capture process.

“He talked to all the actors and just told them what he had learned,” Ball added. “Our big thing is, you can’t pretend to be an ape. You have to be an ape. And that’s hard for actors when you’re walking around with these silly suits and you’re making ape noises. You look ridiculous and like how do you just get past that, and just do it and be authentic while doing so? I think it was a real journey and struggle for all the guys at first. But they went through six weeks of “ape camp” essentially where they just improvised, and they freaking loved it.”

What is Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes about?

The official synopsis for Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes reads: “Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic, franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike.”

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is scheduled for release in theaters on May 10. The new Super Bowl trailer spot is available on YouTube.