Steve Zahn plays lonely chimp Bad Ape

SFX - - War for the Planet of the Apes -

Is Bad Ape the comic re­lief?

Well, there’s a lot of weight to this char­ac­ter – he’s gone through a lot – but in con­trast to the tone of the other apes, yeah, he light­ens this re­ally heavy story. It’s a story of re­venge, and bat­tling pri­mal in­stincts that we all have. Then there’s this char­ac­ter who is tag­ging along that doesn’t want to go be a part of this story, but be­cause there are other apes he’s so ex­cited. This is a chimp that’s lived on his own for a long time, and now he’s found new friends, and I think there’s some­thing re­ally child­like and beau­ti­ful in that.

How did move­ment coach Terry No­tary help you pre­pare?

The first time we started talk­ing it was ex­tremely philo­soph­i­cal – I started get­ting cold sweats! I thought, “Oh my god, I’m back in act­ing school, do­ing some crazy ex­er­cise for a teacher!” You start from the in­side. So we spent an hour just sit­ting in a chair and breath­ing, talk­ing about weight and strength. When you im­i­tate a chimp you re­ally have to be­come an ape. Once I got that on an in­tel­lec­tual level we re­ally honed in on his move­ment. I watched ev­ery YouTube video out there of chimps! I was fas­ci­nated with a chimp sit­ting on a rock do­ing noth­ing: how is that liv­ing crea­ture dif­fer­ent than me sit­ting on a rock? It’s to­tally dif­fer­ent, but how? And I de­vel­oped this rock­ing back and forth which I saw on videos, which worked with his be­ing ex­cited around oth­ers. It was very in­ter­est­ing.

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