War for the Planet of the Apes shows NYCC an exclusive preview clip
In the newly released trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes, Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) is fighting hard against the human Colonel (Woody Harrelson) for the survival of his ape brethren. But as director Matt Reeves, producer Dylan Clark, and Serkis himself told the enormous crowd gathered at the Times Square Regal last night, the real battle in War is inside Caesar.
The movie opens two years after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and the war between humans and apes has been raging viciously in the woods. Despite the advantage of the locations, the apes have taken huge losses. Caesar, Serkis told the crowd, finally loses so much, he can't recover any of the empathy from Rise of the Planet of the Apes and decides he alone must go kill the human Colonel.
In a sneak seven-minute preview, it is revealed Maurice (Karin Konoval), Rocket (Terry Notary), and Luca (Michael Adamthwaite) can't bear to let Caesar face this enemy alone, and accompany him. Along the way they come across a very unexpected surprise...a mute little girl (Amiah Miller) living with her father in an old fishing shack by the seashore. When Caesar kills her father before he can kill Maurice, Maurice feels compelled to take the child with them rather than leave her to die alone.
Did we just meet Nova's mother? Grandmother? Time will tell.
The seven-minute preview is also an explanation of their movie making process, Reeves explained. We were able to see four different stages of development in the clip; a segment would show the actors in their motion capture, or “mocap”, gear and arm-extending crutches, one would show them with the hairless ape frames over the actor's location, the next with the actor deleted and a filled in, hair-covered ape model, and even one little bit with lighting correction. It's a testament to the overwhelming amount of work required from New Zealand-based animation company Weta FX and Reeves as he has to sit with the editors and select the takes from hours and hours of footage.
Despite the incredible technology we witnessed last night, the real hero of the night was Andy Serkis. The praises from Reeves and Clark and relayed stories from the castmates culminated in a clear message: the reason Caesar is so effective and moving is because Serkis is a brilliant actor. He is the one interacting with the other actors, he's the one setting the tone for the film, he's the one allowing himself to face the torment and fear of Caesar and sharing that pain with the camera. He may already hold 30 acting awards, but Reeves insists he deserves an Academy Award for the work he's done in War for the Planet of the Apes.
We'll have to see if we agree in July 2017!