By JAMES FRANCO

The new Planet of the Apes film, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, belongs to Andy Serkis. Narratively it was always his film: I play an emotionally stilted scientist who in the process of mistakenly unleashing a lethal virus on the human race, learns to care for others; Serkis gets to play Caesar, essentially Che Guevara in chimp form. There is no question that his character arc is much more dynamic and fascinating, it is the story line that takes the franchise’s central theme of culture/racial/species clash and turns it on it’s head by making the maligned apes the unequivocal heroes.  We get to watch the fall of mankind and enjoy it because we root for the underdogs, the apes.

But this narrative structure is only half of the story; there is also an acting revolution that has taken place.  Andy Serkis is the undisputed master of the newest kind of acting called “performance capture,” and it is time that Serkis gets credit for the innovative artist that he is.

When Serkis was hired to play the inimitable character, Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy it was initially only for his voice, the character was meant to be entirely animated. But Serkis got so physically involved in the production of the (more…)