The revived Planet of the Apes franchise has centered on the relationship between mankind and apes, a connection that was explored in real-life this year after the death of Harambe, a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. So what do War for the Planet of the Apes star Andy Serkis and director Matt Reeves think the Harambe killing and subsequent memeification of his death meant to interspecies rapport?
“One of the things about apes being the closest cousins genetically is that you sense yourself in them, and it’s part of what makes these movies so fascinating and why Andy’s performance is so amazing, which is the reason why you connect to him, because you can feel his emotion,” Reeves said to EW and SiriusXM at New York Comic Con on Friday. “You can feel what’s going on inside of him. That’s why people have such a passionate connection to animals. That was such a sad story.”
Serkis shared an optimistic outlook on how things have changed since the reboot franchise began in 2011. “There’s been a huge move forward in terms of the change of law and keeping chimpanzees in captivity,” Serkis says. “To be kept against their will in a contained space is actually now an illegal thing to do, because they have rights, which are akin to human rights. That’s a massive step forward in the last few years.”
Information on War for the Planet of the Apes has begun bubbling up. A digital billboard popped up in New York this week showing off a snowy Caesar (Serkis). The lead chimp will be darker in War than Dawn, still affected by the actions of the 2014 film.
See the Harambe moment around 7:20 in the video above. War for the Planet of the Apes is slated for a July 14, 2017 release.
Listen to this interview and more from NYCC in their entirety all next week on Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM channel 105.