Dec. 16, 2014 | 12:09 p.m.
Few actors have been a part of as many celebrated genre stories as Andy Serkis. Following the success of the sequel “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the English actor is slated to appear in next year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” But if there were a pivotal moment in Serkis’ career, it was his portrayal of the tragic creature Gollum in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy more than a decade ago — a role that paved the way for the next chapter in his career and pioneered the performance-capture acting and technology that served as a launchpad for his London studio, the Imaginarium. Now, Serkis’ work on “The Hobbit” marks another turning point in his career — the transition from the screen to the director’s chair. In addition to […]
Oct. 21, 2014 | 10:00 a.m.
The extended edition of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is available for digital download today and out on Blu-ray Nov. 4, but Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at a clip from the bonus features. The clip showcases actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as the deadly dragon Smaug, a miserly lizard who guards his hoarded, stolen gold in a mountain lair that was once home to the dwarf king of Erebor. Like Gollum actor Andy Serkis, Cumberbatch employed performance-capture technology to play the enormous dragon in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel “The Hobbit.” “You kind of have to … imagine yourself into a vast creature in a huge space when you’re really crawling about on a gray bit of carpet,” Cumberbatch says in the video. Serkis — who has pioneered performance-capture acting with his […]
July 09, 2014 | 6:40 a.m.
In the new film “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” it can be a bit confusing whom to root for. Or, more accurately, there’s no one to clearly root against. Audiences come to sympathize with both the small band of humans struggling to survive in what’s left of San Francisco some 10 years after a worldwide plague plunged civilization into a new dark age, and also with the colony of apes, led by the chimpanzee Caesar, who have built up a society of their own. When the two cultures clash, there are bound to be only losers, no winners. After a recent Hero Complex screening of the film, director Matt Reeves sat down with stars Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman to discuss the highly anticipated sequel. A longtime fan of the “Apes” series going back to its original incarnation, […]
July 08, 2014 | 6:45 a.m.
At the recent Hero Complex screening of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” director Matt Reeves and stars Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman were on hand for a conversation after the film. Picking up the story 10 years after the end of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” the new film concerns a small band of human survivors stumbling upon a colony of apes whose civilization has grown more sophisticated. After attempting to peacefully coexist, tensions build between the two groups and escalates to all-out war. Despite being a summer popcorn blockbuster, the film also plays as a strong character drama, with thematic parallels between the humans, including characters played by Oldman, Jason Clarke and Keri Russell, and the apes, portrayed by Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer and others using performance-capture technology. Even when the film gets to […]
July 07, 2014 | 1:54 p.m.
With a series of roles that includes Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” series, the title role in “King Kong” and now Caesar the chimpanzee in the two most recent “Planet of the Apes” films, Andy Serkis has been redefining screen acting. Exploring what is now called performance-capture technology, in which an actor will perform with other actors and then be replaced with digitally created imagery based upon that performance, Serkis has given the process an unexpected legitimacy. Instead of limiting his range, he’s found a way to interface with the technology in an emotionally resonant way. In the new “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Serkis reprises his role as Caesar. As the new film opens some 10 years after the end of the previous film, Caesar has led a colony of apes to new levels of […]
July 04, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
Before Francis Ford Coppola shot “The Godfather,” he gathered his cast for a meal during which the actors all reflexively began deferring to Marlon Brando, establishing a crucial dynamic of the film. Last April in a forest in British Columbia, when director Matt Reeves wanted to inaugurate another feared and respected screen leader, Andy Serkis’ simian ruler, Caesar, in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” he remembered that story, which Coppola had shared with him at a film class. “I had imagined that Caesar was the Don Corleone of the apes,” Reeves said. Reeves sent his cast of ape actors through improvisations to help establish Serkis’ character as the alpha. “The emotional life of the apes was the thing I was desperate to explore.” And just as Brando relied on a quiet virility to communicate Corleone’s authority, Serkis built […]
July 03, 2014 | 2:45 p.m.
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is getting into the holiday spirit with a weighty new video message inspired by the July 4 Independence Day holiday. The trailer features an audio recording of President John F. Kennedy’s Fourth of July address at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1962, adding a measure of gravity to the events depicted in the clip, the latest of several offering a glimpse into how the new world order of the apes comes into existence in the July 11 release. As Kennedy’s Cold War-influenced intonation “to regard any threat to the peace or freedom of one as a threat to the peace and freedom of all,” rings out, viewers glimpse just how efficiently the apes appear to have taken over the world and thoroughly dominated mankind. Set 10 years after 2011’s breakout hit “Rise of […]
June 18, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.
Excited to see “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”? How about watching it with stars Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman and director Matt Reeves? Hero Complex will host a free screening of the new Fox film, presented in Dolby Atmos, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 30, at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. Following the screening, Serkis, Oldman and Reeves will take the stage for an extended Q&A about the making of the movie, which is due to arrive in theaters July 11. Set 10 years after 2011’s breakout hit “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” posits a world where apes have developed their own civilization and human sightings are rare. When a group of survivors — including Jason Clarke’s Malcolm, a single father and former architect; Keri Russell’s Ellie, a […]
May 08, 2014 | 8:13 a.m.
The new trailer for “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” has arrived, showcasing the film’s apocalyptic vistas and the ape civilization that has taken hold. Set 10 years after the earlier movie, a reboot of the sci-fi franchise inspired by Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel that brought in more than $480 million at the worldwide box office, the new film posits a world where apes have developed their own community and human sightings are rare. When a group of survivors — including Jason Clarke’s Malcolm, a single father and former architect; Keri Russell’s Ellie, a nurse; and Gary Oldman’s Dreyfus, the leader of the human colony in the ruins of San Francisco — seeks to restore electrical power to San Francisco, it comes into conflict with the rapidly expanding tribe of apes, led by Andy Serkis’ Caesar. The orphaned offspring […]
April 29, 2014 | 1:08 p.m.
It’s the biggest “Star Wars” news to emerge for some time — on Tuesday morning, filmmaker J.J. Abrams announced the cast for his upcoming space adventure, confirming some of the names that had been the subject of online speculation for some time. Adam Driver, best known for his role in HBO’s “Girls,” and Oscar Isaac, who won considerable acclaim for his turn in the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” will appear alongside Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, performance capture expert Andy Serkis and venerable Swedish thespian Max von Sydow. Also in the mix are John Boyega, known for his work in the fan favorite film “Attack the Block,” and newcomer Daisy Ridley. Additionally, the principal actors from Lucas’ original saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker, are set for director J.J. Abrams’ new film, […]