Do you have a ton of burning questions about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? What if you knew the stars and director were going to be on stage, talking about the film and maybe even putting out the flame on some of said burning questions?
The Alamo Drafthouse is having an early screening of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes today at the Alamo Drathouse, followed by a live stream Q&A with director Matt Reeves and stars Gary Oldman and Andy Serkis. Tweet your questions and hashtag them #AskApes and maybe they’ll be read live!
We’ll be following along and taking notes as Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci moderates the discussion, but you can watch the whole thing below. Cautions: spoilers below!
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be in theaters July 11.
– “The idea was to present this as a world with no easy answers,” Reeves says early in the Q&A about the morality of the film. He discussed Dawn as a movie with no easy heroes and villains. “The idea was to not objectify or vilify anyone.”
– Reeves says that when he was brought onto the project, it was an originally apocalyptic story where Cesar was a straight-up hero. He pitched a rethink that was about the origins of the apes civilization out of the ruins of the largely decimated human world.
– “This story could be about the one moment where it could have been the planet of the humans of the apes. So the whole thing is about why that didn’t happen,” according to Reeves.
– For Reeves, it’s like an old-school Western where the core question is about coexistence.
– Oldman: when he closed the last page of the script, he was moved and surprised with his character, Dreyfus’ journey. “He’s a smart guy, I’d like to think a student of history, and he doesn’t just close off that argument [with Cesar].”
– Reeves and Oldman talked a lot about the film being about family and tragedy at the heart of a family (Dreyfus losing his, Cesar protecting his).
– Serkis says that he reacted strongly against another draft of the story that saw Cesar embracing a warlike nature (“screaming out at the end”). He embraced the current iteration where Cesar has to reject the mindset of his right-hand Koba and learning to express himself with language.
– There’s about 2,000 apes in Cesar’s community 10 years after the plague (although Serkis says there were only 15 mocap performers). They communicate largely through an “ape-ified” version of American Sign Language developed by Terry Notary (who plays multiple apes, including Rocket).
– The “rules” of the ape language were developed at the script stage, with Reeves saying he was in part inspired by his son’s discovery of language. Cesar speaks maybe four words throughout the entire film. It was a “long process of exploration,” he says, largely dealing with the use of contractions, how the subtitles for sign language would be used, and how the ape characters could speak and win.
– Reeves complimented Notary’s ability to provide many different styles of performance for multiple apes (both background and featured) – somewhere north of 20 characters in all.
– For Reeves, the move towards vocalization and language for the apes was one of the most important journeys for the film.
– Reeves talks about being raised on the classic Apes films and wishing that he could do a version of those with the rubber masks.
– Oldman on not getting to do performance capture in Dawn: “Did I have performance capture envy? Maybe.”
– Reeves on the challenges of the Dawn shoot: Rise was largely shot on stages (approximately 75%). Because he wanted something a little more robust and real, he went to FX house WETA and asked for help in coming up with equipment to be used out in the elements. He wanted the apes to look more realistic and felt that the path to doing that was dropping them into real environments.
– Reeves says he wasn’t concerned with trying to come up with twist for this movie – we already know that this world will ultimately end up like the world in Apes ’68. He says that the series’ journey is the twist, explaining how our world becomes theirs.