Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Andy Serkis as Caesar

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES explores how the apes evolved from the mostly mute but intelligent animals of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, into articulate, civilized beings that emerge as Earth’s dominant species within the canon of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

Director Matt Reeves explains: “In Rise of the Planet of the Apes the apes said only a few words.  With this film we show the apes at the dawn of their society, and learning to truly speak.  Inevitably, the younger generation will be better with language than their parents, which leads to a very complicated portrait of the apes’ cultural order. This is the ape society that eventually evolves into what we see in the 1968 Planet of the Apes with an organized government, military and science.”

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES co-screenwriter Mark Bomback says one of the script’s biggest challenges was to depict how the apes communicate with each other and how much the apes articulate verbally. “At the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes it’s shocking when Caesar speaks an entire sentence.  In this film, we explore how much further the apes have advanced in their language skills. We struggled a lot with this because there’s a temptation to just give the apes pages and pages of dialogue.  But there was a huge plausibility issue that we were contending with, which is it’s only been ten years since the events of the previous film, and if Caesar is only able to say one sentence in that film, then how much speech would he really be capable of in this one?

“The second question,” Bomback continues, “was, why would they actually need to speak?  Apes were perfectly able to communicate with each other through sign language, so why would they want to or need to talk like humans? By extension, at what point is sign language inadequate, emotionally, so that the apes would have to speak?”

Adds Matt Reeves: “The thing that was important to me was that the story, and its elements such as language, not jump too ahead far, in a certain way, from where things were in Rise of the Planet of the Apes; when Andy says ‘NO!’ in Rise, I think it’s so startling it blew me away.”

The same experiments that drove Caesar and his community to escape are continuing to make them more intelligent, which leads to new forms of verbal expression. “This time there is an evolution in linguistic terms,” Serkis explains. “We worked in great detail in terms of creating that level of sophistication versus ‘finding’ language. Caesar communicates through the sign language he was taught, which has become a unifying way of speaking with the other apes.  At the same time, he’s verbalizing more.”


About Andy Serkis

Serkis is an award-winning actor who has earned acclaim from both critics and audiences for his work in a range of memorable roles. His performance as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes earned him a Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor from the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Serkis gained legions of fans around the globe for his performance as Gollum in the Academy Award ® winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.  Serkis won an Empire Award for his role in addition to sharing in several Outstanding Ensemble Cast Awards, including, a Screen Actors Guild Award®.  Reuniting with Jackson, he played two roles in the director’s epic retelling of King Kong, taking performance capture to another level as the title character of Kong and also appearing as Lumpy, the ship’s cook. Serkis reprised his role of Gollum in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, as well as tackling 2nd Unit directing duties on the film.

Serkis recently announced he will direct an adaptation of Richard Kipling’s The Jungle Book for Warner Bros.

In October of 2012, Serkis announced the acquisition of two projects that will be produced by his London-based performance capture studio The Imaginarium: The Bone Season (based on a series of books by Samantha Shannon) and a re-telling of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which Serkis will direct.  20th Century Fox-based Peter Chernin will co-produce the adaptation of The Bone Season withThe Imaginarium.

Other recent credits include a starring role as Captain Haddock alongside Jamie Bell’s Tintin in The Adventures of Tintin, from director Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy, and had co-starring roles in Death of a Superhero and Brighton Rock.  In 2010, Serkis received critical acclaim and accolades for his portrayal of punk-rock legend Ian Dury in the film Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll for director Mat Whitecross.  The role earned Serkis a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor. He also played 19th century grave robber William Hare, opposite Simon Pegg’s William Burke, in John Landis’ black comedy Burke & Hare.

On the small screen, Serkis appeared in the BBC miniseries Little Dorrit, based on Charles Dickens’ classic tale, which garnered him a 2009 Emmy® nomination for Best Supporting Actor.   He also starred in as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein in the BBC/HBO production of Einstein and Eddington.

Serkis previously earned Golden Globe® and BAFTA TV Award nominations for his performance as Ian Brady in HBO’s Longford.  He also garnered acclaim for the role of Bill Sikes in the PBS presentation of Oliver Twist.  British television audiences also know him for a wide range of roles in telefilms, miniseries and series.

Feature film credits include Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed drama The Prestige; the comedy 13 Going on 30, with Jennifer Garner and Judy Greer; and indie films The Cottage, Extraordinary Rendition and Sugarhouse.  He also lent his voice to the animated feature Flushed Away.  He earlier co-starred in Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People and Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvy.  Serkis includes among his additional film credits such independent releases as Deathwatch, The Escapist, Shiner, Pandaemonium, The Jolly Boys’ Last Stand, Five Seconds to Spare, Sweety Barrett, Among Giants, Mojo, Career Girls, Loop, Stella Does Tricks and The Near Room.

An accomplished stage actor, Serkis received acclaim for his work on the stages of London and across the United Kingdom.  He starred as Iago in Othello, at the Royal Exchange Theatre; played the Emcee in Cabaret; and originated the role of Potts in Jez Butterworth’s Mojo, at the Royal Court Theatre.  His stage work also includes productions of King Lear, Hush, and Decadence.  In 2003, he made his directorial debut with the play The Double Bass at London’s Southwark Playhouse.

As a director, Serkis also helmed the award-winning Heavenly Swordfor PLAYSTATION®3 and the upcoming Enslaved: Odyssey to the West for Namco Bandai Games.  In addition, he wrote and directed a short film called Snake, starring his wife, Lorraine Ashbourne and Rupert Graves.