Analyzing Evil: Koba from ‘Planet of the Apes’

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If screenwriters, actors and directors do their jobs well, even the vilest of villains have a point of view, and, in turn, perhaps a bit of sympathy. That’s what’s being explored in a recent video from YouTube user The Vile Eye as part of their series, “Analyzing Evil,” which takes an in depth look at Koba from Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Additionally, the actor who provided the motion capture performance for Koba, Toby Kebbell, reflected to ScreenSlam on the character at the time of Dawn‘s release, musing, “I think the relationship with my character, Koba, and Andy’s character, Caesar, is always one of father and son, if not older brother and younger brother. It’s Caesar very much in control; in command without any kind of force. It’s very much a powerful situation. He’s a nominated leader and I think Koba sits very happily, although he’s still an uncomfortable person.

“You remember,” he added, “that Koba at the point we first met him had already been a clinal ape for 18, 19 years and there’s a lot of damage done with him. He hates humans and it’s not like I mean it’s unwarranted. He’s been abused. He doesn’t know the outside world. He doesn’t feel like an ape. We discussed that at the beginning, that he couldn’t really walk on all fours, and that’s something you learn in groupings of apes. It’s not an innate thing necessarily. And I think Koba and Caesar, over the 15 years [between Rise and Dawn] have really bonded in finding out what it is to be an ape. So I think he holds that very true, very dear to himself. What it is to be an ape, and humans disrupt that.”

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Toby Kebbell discusses the evolution of Koba

As part of the EPK issued by the studio, Kebbell added additional thoughts on the matter: “Koba and his rage come from being mistrusted, being mistreated and being ignored. Koba’s position now is one of trust and caring and leadership, and he leads the hunt when we start this film. That’s his position and he’s very happy with it. But when Koba feels like Caesar starts to overrule without really listening to what was said, Koba’s paranoia and mistrust comes back into play. The psychopathy of Koba is that he is trusting until you are untrustworthy. And once you’re untrustworthy, he no longer trusts you at all and there’ll be nothing you do to get back into his favor.”

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