Catch more from the panel in the full episode of Entertainment Weekly: The Show, available now on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the free app on your Smart TV, mobile and web devices.
Andy Serkis didn’t know if the whole “motion capture” thing would take off after he played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It wasn’t until Peter Jackson asked him to be King Kong in the 2005 reboot that he realized his days as a “normal” actor were over.
“This is the greatest actors’ tool of the 21st century,” he said during a panel with his War for the Planet of the Apes costars on Entertainment Weekly: The Show. “You can play anything. You can become anything. You could play a table.”
Steve Zahn, who plays opposite of Serkis’ Caesar as Bad Ape, chimed in to talk about his experience performing for motion capture for the first time.
“I’m lucky to have come into the process after it has been, you know, fleshed out, and as advanced as it is,” he explains, adding that he had some misconceptions about the process. “I didn’t know if we were going to be in a room and I would be talking to a tennis ball.” After he started filming, though, the actor admits that the scene-work was no different from other films he had done. “I was going on set and we were playing scenes as characters… I just happened to be a chimpanzee.”
You can watch the whole clip above, and see War for the Planet of the Apes in theaters now.