Andy Serkis

With little sleep and almost zero vegetables eaten during the day, Robert Fure, Cole Abaius and Jack Giroux gathered in their hotel room overlooking the San Diego Convention Center and a giant cargo freighter loading container after container of bananas to discuss what their favorite moments were. After a quiet start to a roaring event, the day was filled with fantastic little moments that made us all wish you were right here in the hotel room with us. Each and every one of you. In one room. While we’ll be calling dibs on the bed, check out the 8 best things about Comic-Con‘s opening day.

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A significant portion of the 20th Century Fox Panel was dedicated to the upcoming August release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a prequel to the popular Apes franchise that focuses on Caesar, a laboratory animal that first gets smart and then gets revenge. The panel started with a “research clip” that showed rebel soldiers in Africa teasing a chimpanzee by mocking it. Aping it, if you will. The chimpanzee got the last laugh, and most of the laughs in between, when he picked up an AK-47 assault rifle and within seconds figured out that pulling the trigger made it go bang, and the bang sound made all the mean men run away like little girls. After the clip played, director Rupert Wyatt came out and discussed animal rights before Caesar himself stole the show.

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Everybody knows Andy Serkis as being the man who provides the motion capture performances for the revolutionary CG characters in Peter Jackson’s films. He was responsible for Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, he was the guy that made King Kong possible, and he’s playing the super smart ape Caesar in the upcoming Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which Jackson’s company WETA did the effects work on. So news that he is being looked at to bring another computer animated character to life should come as no surprise. In the most recent issue of “Empire”, which includes a lengthy feature on Apes, they talked to the film’s director Rupert Wyatt about what he was planning on doing next. He says that he’s looking to work with Serkis again to bring a classic work of literature to the big screen. The two want to make an adaptation of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”; the story set on an English farm that details the overthrow of the farmers by the animals and the subsequent corruption of the pig Napoleon when he becomes mad with power. You see, the animals are proletariat, the farmers are bourgeoisie, and the pig is like Stalin… you know what I’m talking about, you probably read this in high school English and remember it better than I do. The potential project is a ways off still and will probably hinge largely on the success or failure of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. But as […]

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While everyone else on the web continues to lose their marbles over the new Harry Potter trailer, which I still haven’t seen, a far more surprising and interesting trailer has hit the web: a 60-second international ad for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. What’s so damn cool about this trailer is that it mostly focuses on Caesar’s perspective. You’d think Fox would stick to James Franco‘s point of view, but thankfully they’ve put out something a little more ambitious.

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Even with a single teaser trailer, director Rupert Wyatt has already laid further waste to Tim Burton’s abomination. While that’s not exactly a tough thing to do, Wyatt looks to have made a genuine Planet of the Apes film. Burton and co. missed out on what made the Apes series interesting: social commentary. Rise of the Planet of the Apes seems to be another man abusing science fable, and it fits perfectly into the Apes mold. With further hating on Burton’s Apes “film” out of my system, Rise of the Planet of the Apes looks to be what the fans want. Judging by the trailer, it isn’t about explosions, it has a doom-ridden atmosphere, and looks to be one of those films that builds up to a real bang of a climax like the other (good) installments. I recently had the chance to discuss all this with director Rupert Wyatt, along with the trailer reaction, getting to make an inherently dark studio film, returning to social commentary, the hopefulness in the film, and how Justin Bieber is lending a helping hand to the end of cinema:

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Peter Jackson and his team on The Hobbit are about to do something no major production has done to date: give you, the fans, unprecedented access into the production process. Most impressively, you’ll be seeing it as it happens. It makes us wonder what will be left when the DVD comes out, but right now we’re not worried about that. For now it’s a nice little treat for Hobbit fans to get a look inside the process. This might be the neatest film-related thing that will happen on the web this year.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movie news. It will not try to sew your face to someone else’s butt. It will, however, make your hind quarters sore. So give yourself over to it — it will be gentle, at first. Fox’s upcoming Planet of the Apes prequel, previously titled Rise of the Apes, has been retitled to give it that ole’ familiar ring. It will now be called Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which should hold until they can figure out a less concise way to title it. Either way, it’s got James Franco, so I’m seeing it.

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When I first read the title Rise of the Apes I was hoping that it was going to be a big budget prequel of one of my favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 subjects of scrutiny 1987’s Time of the Apes. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have a direct connection. Rise of the Apes is going to be one of those humans versus talking apes movies made famous by the legendary Planet of the Apes though. This one seems to be set on modern day Earth and it tells the story of a science experiment gone wrong. In this movie James Franco plays a geneticist that accidentally creates a race of super intelligent monkeys who revolt against their human overlords and try to take over our society. It just sounds like something James Franco would do. Freida Pinto is also set to star, and Andy Serkis will be playing some sort of monkey character. And toss in a little Brian Cox and John Lithgow for good measure. None of this is new news though. The big development when it comes to this monkey movie is that Fox is moving up its release date. Originally it was scheduled to come out on Thanksgiving, but now it will join the end of summer blockbuster hopefuls with an August 5th release. I imagine that we should take this as good news. Moving a film from the fall to the summer must mean that somebody at the studio has watched a cut of this thing […]

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It was only a matter of time before the major pieces of the puzzle fell into place. We’ve watched as other actors have signed onto the Peter Jackson-directed The Hobbit (even some that don’t quite make sense), but we’ve been waiting on a handful of names before heaving a sigh of relief. At least a smaller version of that sigh can be let loose because Andy Serkis is officially back as Gollum (the book/film’s version of The Riddler), and Ian McKellen is back as Gandalf. The only hold out at this point is Christopher Lee who (after his almost insultingly cheap appearance in Season of the Witch) would make the circle complete. Rejoice!

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With the Andy Serkis and Simon Pegg led film Burke & Hare, John Landis appears to be fusing the two things he has done well in the past 35 years of filmmaking: silly comedy and blood-spilling horror. Based on this first trailer though, it would appear as if the pendulum is swinging more to the side of silliness than it is to violence. It certainly fits into Landis’ filmography somewhere in between the gnarly nature of An American Werewolf in London and the ridiculousness of Three Amigos, telling the true life story of William Burke and William Hare, a pair of intrepid wanderers who take to the business of collecting bodies. But when the well of fresh ones run out, they find a way to make their own. Of course, the film itself (based on this first trailer) is far sillier than the actual act of murder. If you don’t find murder to be fun, that is…

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I have to assume that our simian friends attack the eyes first, and Planet of the Rise of the Apes promises to do the same at some point in the near future. The remake/sequel/prequel seems to be rolling along unhindered and just got its villain in the form of veteran actor Brian Cox. According to The Wrap: Hollywood, the actor has signed on as a man who keeps a sanctuary but mistreats all the animal inhabitants – meaning that Cox can finally add “Evil Ape Sanctuary Owner” to his list of roles. We’ll do the honorable thing and avoid the monkey-slapping jokes (because there will be plenty of time for them later) and instead simply report that the actor’s talent will be paired up with Andy Serkis, James Franco, Freida Pinto, and John Lithgow. A formidable cast, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s an unnecessary remake/prequel to a decade’s old franchise that already got the remake treatment earlier in the decade.

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Andy Serkis

Andy Serkis might have one of the most unique and sought after talents in the world of film today. But it has nothing to do with his live-action persona. It’s all about his ability to be expressive with performance capture. With roles as Gollum in Lord of the Rings and Kong in King Kong, it’s no surprise that Fox has tapped him to play Caesar, the chimp who leads the simian revolt in Rise of the Apes.

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An evil wizard named Flagg seeks to subvert the Kingdom of Delain by placing a monarch in power that will listen to his every whim. With King Roland’s two sons – Peter and Thomas – Flagg sees an enemy to fear and a child to manipulate into the tool of destruction he needs on the throne.

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Several new images have emerged this week from the set of John Landis’ upcoming horror comedy Burke and Hare, starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis. The film is described as a “black romantic comedy” about two bodysnatchers in 1828 Edinburgh.

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James Cameron took it to a whole new level with Avatar, and it would only be so long until some other hotshot directors had their turn to get their hands on the technology. The first hotshot director to go crazy for Cameron’s toys is Steven Spielberg. Spielberg will use this technology to create a digital world for his newest film The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which he’s co-producing with Peter Jackson.

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hobbitweavingmckellenserkis1

All three actors are signed up to reprise their original trilogy roles for the upcoming The Hobbit, so feel free to wet your geek pants. After all, you can’t get any uncooler.

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tintin-set-1

Empire has published the world’s first look at director Steven Spielberg on the set of his upcoming CG-animated epic Tintin, complete with a first shot of actors Andy Serkis and Jamie Bell in their motion capture suits.

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Brendan Fraser in Inkheart

If you’re looking to take the kids out to the theater this weekend or just in the mood for a magical journey, you’ll find no better choice than Inkheart.

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Inkheart

Looking for more information on ‘Inkheart’ and news on a possible trilogy? Well then look no further.

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The Hobbit Movie

There are talks to get three actors whose characters from LOTR, show up in The Hobbit: Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn/Strider, Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum.

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