Andy Serkis was recently at CinemaCon in Las Vegas to promote his new sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He's also been in the news as of late because he is directing a live-action version of The Jungle Book for Warner Bros. at the precise moment that Disney is also embarking on their own version of the Rudyard Kipling novel.
The actor-turned-director spoke with Collider about both projects. During the conversation, he claimed that the first twenty-minutes of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be nothing but chimps. He also called it a completely different movie.
"What I love about this film is that it's completely different to the first film. People who enjoyed the first film may have enjoyed the domesticity of the first film, and the intimacy of seeing this young ape grow into an adult and go through all the trial and tribulations and being ousted from a human family and a father he thought was his. And then having to find his own identity as an ape and then lead them to freedom."
The sequel takes place a decade after Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He continued,
"For the first twenty minutes of the movie, you think you're watching just apes.[director Matt Reeves] has done an incredible job of making it feel very, very real. The ape community, where Caesar has, you know, set up and galvanized all the apes, the chimpanzees and the orangs, and the chimps into one family, one tribe that he's the ruler of. But he's an egalitarian leader, and so you really think you're watching a tribe at the beginning, and I'm really excited about people seeing that, and then suddenly having the rug pulled from out under their feet when the humans turn on them."
Audiences who have seen a rough cut of the movie have heaped praise upon it. Andy Serkis doesn't disagree with that.
"I think it's really powerful, and I think important film about identity, about tribalism, about fighting for what you believe is right and being able to empathize. As it always was with these 'Apes' films, they are always about something else, the metaphor is very clear, and it's - this particular time around it's about these two families fighting for survival, but yet knowing that if you just fight for your own family it's not necessarily the way to peace and not necessarily the way to survival."
The actor behind Ceaser then went onto confirm that a third film will be happening, and that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes clearly sets up the events of that next sequel. He then went onto talk about how the motion capture technology has improved since the first film.
"The performance capture technology I would say on this enabled - I would say 90% of the film is shot on location. There are very few on-set pieces in the film, which compared to the last movie, which a lot of them were on sets, very few locations."
Switching gears, Andy Serkis went onto talk about his directorial duties on The Jungle Book, hinting that this will be a darker take on the material than what Disney and director Jon Favreau are planning.
""It's a real thrill, and I'm so excited it about it. It's a wonderful script and a wonderful retelling of Rudyard Kipling's original book of The Jungle Book. Very much in the Warner Bros. tone, it's quite a dark take on the piece."
He also talked about his experiences reading the book as a child.
""I found it mesmerizing, and it transported me into this incredible world. It's extraordinary that I'm getting a chance to bring it to the screen. "What I love about the screen adaptation by Steve and Callie Kloves is it's very truthful to the original book; it doesn't shy away from its darkness. The jungle is a Garden of Eden and a wonderful place for Mowgli to grow up in, but also is a place of fear and a place of threat."