war for the planet of the apes
Please take sensible, sturdy footwear,” they said. Boy, was it good advice. On a cold, wet afternoon in October 2015,
SFX has been driven into the forest north of Coquitlam, Canada. In the distance looms a mist-shrouded mountain. In every direction, ranks of skyscraping hemlock trees silently mock man’s ephemeral insignificance. Hidden amongst their ranks, a miniature tent city has sprouted up, as people labour under dripping canvas to try to create something that could compete with the awe-inspiring splendour all around. It’s pouring down – and has been for hours, judging by the Glastonbury-esque levels of mud. Boards laid down to aid safe passage shift disconcertingly beneath our feet. It’s day 11 of shooting on War For The Planet
Of Apes, and ape leader Caesar is about to make one last attempt to avoid a seemingly inevitable conflict. We observe as final adjustments are made before a take. A crew member consults a light meter; it’s protected from the rain by plastic – but Andy Serkis isn’t so lucky. Standing in front of a bristling mass of logs which jut out aggressively like tank barrels, face dotted with white spots, the Apes star is clad in a tight grey bodysuit, and is getting a thorough soaking. You suspect the headmounted camera trained on his expression is mostly recording chattering teeth.
Three of his fellow motion-capture actors look on, some from a crouch, as Serkis addresses two uniformed soldiers seated on horses, their hands tied. “Tell your Colonel you have seen me now,” he rumbles, his vocal rhythms surprisingly free of Shatnerian pauses. “I have a message for him: leave us the woods and this killing can stop.” After the horses are sent on their way, Serkis turns to orangutan adviser Maurice. “I have shown mercy. He will