As War For The Planet Of The Apes draws closer, a select group of British journalists had a sneak preview of footage from the film this week, plus an introduction to the franchise’s newest face.
Bad Ape made his first appearance recently in this clip, which landed just days ago.
Steve Zahn plays the new arrival and, along with director Matt Reeves and Caesar himself, Andy Serkis, was in town to talk about his character.
Bad Ape has been raised in a zoo and Zahn spent hour upon hour watching videos of apes in captivity in an effort to understand him. A lot of the footage, he recalls, showed apes fighting each but what fascinated him was the one that would sit quietly in the corner, watching what was happening.
It turned out to be the key to Bad Ape because, as far as the other apes are concerned, he’s an outsider. He can’t sign like the rest of them, but talks like Caesar, and is desperate to be around people again. Even though, as director Matt Reeves described, he’s not been treated very well by humans. “The name came first,” he recalls. And the words ‘bad ape’ were shouted at him every single day of his life in captivity.
Zahn admits “there’s a lot of me” in Bad Ape, although when he first read the script for the film, he didn’t pick up on the character’s humour and pathos. That only came when he brought him to life on the screen and the ape’s lack of body hair, caused by the stress of life in the zoo, makes both more apparent.
Bad Ape joins Caesar and other familiar faces from the tribe – Rocket, Luca and Maurice – when War For The Planet Of The Apes arrives next month. And Matt Reeves has the best news for fans of the franchise. “There will be another one!”
War For The Planet Of The Apes is released in UK cinemas on Tuesday, 11 July.