Andy Serkis Set to Play Lead Ape in ‘Planet of the Apes’ Reboot


20th Century Fox has just announced Andy Serkis is set to play the role of Caesar, the chimp who leads the simian revolt in the studio’s Planet of the Apes reboot Rise of the Apes.

Serkis is probably best known for using motion capture to portray Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (pictured right). This also marks his second turn as a simian after playing the title role in Jackson’s King Kong. However, for anyone thinking he’s compromising his career playing an endless stream of digital characters it’s actually something he loves. Prior to the release of The Prestige in 2006 I asked him about it in an interview and he told me, “I am really, really devoted to developing a digital performance side of things because it has occupied a lot of my life recently.” It seems he’ll be getting yet another shot at it.

Serkis joins James Franco, John Lithgow and Freida Pinto in the upcoming film set to be directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) .

There’s yet to be an official synopsis, but the film has been described as an origin story in the truest sense of the term. Set in present day San Francisco, the film is a reality-based cautionary tale, a science fiction/science fact blend, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy. Franco will play a driven scientist who becomes a crucial figure in the war between humans and apes. Oscar-winning VFX House WETA Digital (Avatar) has been brought aboard to render, for the first time ever in the film series, photo-realistic apes rather than costumed actors.

Filming on the project begins on July 5 for a June 24, 2011 release.