This weekend, the revolution begins. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" opens in theaters Friday. The film is a prequel to the sci-fi films from the 1970s that starred Charlton Heston.
This time around, James Franco plays a scientist who develops a drug to cure Alzheimer's disease in humans, but testing on chimps has unintended consequences, when they start to become as smart as humans.
Forty-seven-year-old British actor Andy Serkis plays the role of the hyper-intelligent chimp, Caesar, who ends up leading the revolution against humans. Unlike the original films there are no rubber monkey suits here.
Four hundred and fifty visual effects artists at WETA Digital in New Zealand used performance capture technology to transform Andy's movements and expressions into a digital chimp. Film critic Roger Ebert says that combination of technology and acting made Caesar the best performance in the movie.
Serkis is no stranger to performance capture, having embodied Gollum in "Lord of the Rings" and King Kong in director Peter Jackson's 2005 remake.
Serkis says that performance capture is no different for him than shooting a movie with a 35 mm camera.
"It's about getting inside the soul ... mindset of whatever character you're playing," Serkis said. "Whether it's human or a creature or whether it's an ape, primate, whatever ... it's about believing that you are that thing or that person or that animal and totally inhabiting it."
This interview originally aired in December 2005
- The below video shows how "performance capture" made a monkey out of actor Andy Serkis.
- Andy Serkis, actor
This segment aired on August 5, 2011.