APE ABOUT DAWN

For­mer South Aus­tralian ac­tor Kodi SmitMcPhee will be first in line to see him­self in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - MOVIES - Words dar­ren cartwright

SUC­CESS IN Hol­ly­wood has a habit of mak­ing young ac­tors grow up be­fore their time, but not ris­ing Aus­tralian star Kodi Smit-McPhee. The South Aus­tralian still has a strong sense of teenage en­joy­ment and is as ea­ger to see his lat­est film Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes as any ado­les­cent sci-fi fan.

Smit-McPhee, who is in Mel­bourne for the film­ing of the Nine Net­work minis­eries Gal­lipoli, plays one of the cen­tral char­ac­ters in the sec­ond in­stall­ment of the Planet of the Apes re­boot.

He stars as Alexan­der, the son of virus sur­vivor Mal­colm (played by Aussie ac­tor Ja­son Clarke) who forms a close bond with the ape leader Cae­sar.

It’s one of sev­eral movies that SmitMcPhee has made in the past cou­ple of years, in­clud­ing a re­make of Romeo and Juliet and sci-fi film Young Ones, which pre­miered at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val in Jan­uary.

Dawn of The Planet of The Apes picks up a decade af­ter the end of the ini­tial re­boot film Rise of The Planet of The Apes and could be con­sid­ered Smit-McPhee’s break-out role.

He’s in­trigued to see the fi­nal edit af­ter work­ing through­out the movie with ac­tors wear­ing skin-tight mo­tion cap­ture suits, in­stead of ape cos­tumes.

“I love see­ing all of the work ev­ery­one did be­hind, and in front, of the cam­era and watch­ing it come to­gether at the end is a re­ally cool feel­ing,” Smit-McPhee told AAP.

“The ac­tors were in mo­tion-cap­ture suits, but they fully em­bod­ied the ape char­ac­ters on set.

“So on set, you don’t see ape suits but these amaz­ing ac­tors play­ing apes. “They all de­serve awards.” And much like the grow­ing in­tel­li­gence of the apes in the movie fran­chise, the tech­nol­ogy used to bring them to life on screen has evolved.

Back when Andy Serkis first played simian ruler Cae­sar in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, it was the first time per­for­mance cap­ture had been taken out of the stu­dio and on to the streets.

But for the Apes se­quel, us­ing per­for­mance cap­ture film­ing on lo­ca­tion be­came the norm.

“Ev­ery­thing has taken a big leap for­ward and it’s mind-blow­ing,” SmitMcPhee said.

“It doesn’t look like people in cos­tumes, it looks real.”

When Smit-McPhee files into the cin­ema to watch his lat­est flick in early July, he’ll look at it from a unique per­spec­tive.

Un­like some ac­tors who pre­fer not to watch their own movies, Smit-McPhee says he de­lights in see­ing it through the eyes of his own char­ac­ter.

“I watch it (the movie) as that char­ac­ter and not as me on the screen,” he said.

“Then I can en­joy it from the point of view of how ev­ery­one worked on it and not just from ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing in it.” Dawn of The Planet of The Apes is in cin­e­mas now.

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