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Going Ape

The devolution from man to chimp takes seven centuries…just kidding, but seriously, dude, it’s a super-slow process; so here’s the quick version of how Andy Serkis transformed for ”Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

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To turn Roddy McDowall into a walking, talking monkey-man in 1968’s Planet of the Apes, it took Oscar-winning makeup artist John Chambers three to four hours each day. For Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the post-ape-ocalyptic sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, that process takes quite a bit longer. In fact, as you read this, the digital painters at Weta are working around the clock to make actors such as Andy Serkis and Judy Greer much, much hairier. ”I’ve seen an entire cut of the movie without any special effects whatsoever,” says Serkis, who reprises his role as Caesar, the chimpanzee commander of the burgeoning ape society. ”It’s amazing to watch as Weta’s work comes in and we’re transformed.”

That said, the Velcro/spandex motion-capture bodysuits that Serkis and his ape-portraying costars don for the production look pretty awesome on their own. ”Let’s just say they’re never going to be flattering,” Serkis admits, laughing. ”I hope one day we can design something that makes you look cool and superhero-like, but I’m not holding my breath.”

To see side-by-side footage of the actors performing on set and the fully rendered apes in the film, go to ew.com/apes.