Tyler Labine plays a character named Franklin in Rise of the Apes, the prequel to both the five part classic Planet of the Apes series and the memorably confusing 2001 reboot. Labine was at the Television Critics Association press tour to promote his new sitcom, “Mad Love,” so I went up to him after for some Apes scoop. He had a surprising perspective on the movie.
“It’s touching,” Labine said. “We have Andy Serkis at the helm. Basically the leading character is Cesar the Ape and he’s such a pioneer of motion capture craft and had people crying behind the monitors without saying a word, he’s so great. John Lithgow plays a very touching character in there and there’s a lot of humanity to juxtapose what’s about to happen. I think we need to see how humane we are in the beginning, in the prequel, so that there’s a bit of a rivalry between the humans and the apes by the time we get to Planet of the Apes.”
Franklin is a primatologist studying the apes when Cesar evolves into a speaking, emoting rebel leader. He’s a loving sympathizer for the apes too.
“I was kind of playing a bit of an ape myself, a guy who just loves apes, did all the schooling and everything but he’s sort of become like the bleeding heart of the clinic. He was a big sort of teddy bear who is thrust into these really heavy decisions early on in the movie that directly affect the outcome of what come to be with the apes. It was nice. There were some real dramatic turns in there and it also didn’t rely on just me being a smartass which I really liked.”
Of course, no real apes were harmed making the movie. Nor were they even employed. It was all Weta guys in motion capture suits. “Because I’m the primatologist of the clinic that the story is originating from, I did a lot of scenes talking with apes and carrying apes and doing surgery on apes and a couple big fight scenes with apes.”
Rise of the Apes is coming Jun 24.