By all reports, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is going to be set many years following Caesar’s death at the conclusion of 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes. For that reason, it seemed unlikely that there would be any returning cast members, or at least characters given the motion capture technology used on the actors. But now it seems that three actors are reprising their original roles.
For starters — assuming the reports are true — Steve Zahn, who brought pathos and comic relief to War, is back as “Bad Ape,” a chimpanzee who fled from the Sierra Safari Zoo after family and friends were murdered by soldiers who believed they were responsible for spreading the Simian Flu. Speaking to denofgeek, he explained how he had the opportunity to build the character.
“Well, the character was brilliant on the page. I was extremely excited. And the only time you could bring really good stuff to characters is if they’re already written well. It’s hard to take a character that’s two-dimensional… I mean, what do you do? Then you’re inducing things into it. But something that’s already really finely defined – that’s a little easier, especially when you start [filming].
“He was that character who was always on the periphery, which, yeah, there were moments where, with Matt’s guidance, he’d be, ‘What would you say here? Would you do something different here?’ You know. ‘Ehh, I don’t know. I think he’d just sit here. [acts out the character], or, you know, ‘Uhh, excuse me!’ [Laughs] He’s the audience member, isn’t he? Going on the journey with them. ‘Wait, what? We’re going where? Are you nuts?’ And I often play those characters, who are commenting on what’s going on, which is kind of fun.”
Terry Notary returns as Rocket, a chimpanzee who served as Caesar’s right-hand … uh, chimp. In an interview with slashfilm at the time of War, Terry was asked if, as the films have gone on, whether or not there has been an evolution in his own choreography and movements. “Every film,” he said, “seems to have a little bit more of that.
“That human consciousness and awareness of the self and the battle between the instinct driven ape and the conscious awareness, the tether that holds the primal instinct at bay. It’s that balance where before it was eighty-twenty primal consciousness, now it’s starting to balance itself out. That influences the movement as well. They’re much more up right. Just the way they articulate. It’s going from the first film – we’re really in it being eighty percent ape to now where it’s pushing the consciousness forward. That influences everything.”
Karin Konoval as Maurice, the Bornean orangutan who was not only friends with Caesar, but his most trusted adviser. Of originally preparing for the role of Maurice in 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, she told highschool.latimes.com:
“When I was first cast in 2010 of course I didn’t know anything about orangutans. The research was that I read every book that was written. I watched every video that I could find. The physical training with quadrupedal walking and running was a very strenuous part of the initial preparation for the role. We also had to do things like add weights to each of my arms as I [walked] along because I’m 125 pounds while Maurice is about 300. I would do weight lifting in the gym, yoga, stretching to gain orangutan flexibility, and upper arm strengthening to do climbing. The very particular quadrupedal movement I had to get into my body is different from chimps and gorillas. I also had to find Maurice’s psychological and emotional integrity as a mature male orangutan. I had to teach myself how to long call, bringing orangutan vocalization into my voice. It has been a lot of different fronts over the years.”
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will be released on May 24, 2024.