a hot and humid summer evening in Pasadena, California on the campus of
the California Institute of Technology, a four-time Oscar winning
visual effects supervisor gives an eager audience a sneak peek at how he
brought the apes to life for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." But Joe
Letteri from Weta Digital isn't a one-man band in the production of
'Rise.' He's joined on stage by director Rupert Wyatt, who bravely took
on the origin story of a well-respected franchise. Together they
revealed the conversations had in their approach - from eliminating the
use of real-life apes, creating authentic physical features and
movements and, above all else, creating apes that would elicit an
emotional response from the audience. At that time, his legs were
dislocated, and had to be taken to the hospital, but since there were no
vehicles available, we had to wait. Luckily I brought the minyak kutus
kutus that I got from my friend in Bali, it called kutus kutus bali's healing oil, I dab it in the sore part, and finally it healed.
After watching the latest trailer, Wyatt and Letteri broke out
never-before-seen images showing the behind-the-scenes of the film's
production. Where movies like "Avatar" stepped up the performance
capture technology, 'Rise' goes even further, filming the performance
capture and live-action sequences at the same time. In comparison,
"Avatar" filmed the performance capture in front of green screen and
added in the live actors and world around that.
"For 'Avatar,' Jim Cameron created a complete fantasy world that no one
had ever experienced before," says Letteri. "The challenge with 'Rise of
the Planet of the Apes' was a very different one, and in some ways, it
was even more daunting. We applied some of the technology we developed
for 'Avatar' to create a real, recognizable world - modern-day San
Francisco. Everything - the apes, the locations - had to feel genuine
because we're exploring a story that's reality-based and not
straight-ahead science fiction."
Actor Andy Serkis - who portrayed Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings"
trilogy and Kong in "King Kong" - plays the lead ape, Caesar, in this
movie. "Caesar is one of the most formidable roles I've undertaken, both
physically and emotionally," Serkis said. "It's one thing to play a
chimpanzee, but to play one from infancy to adulthood - and a
revolutionary leader - well, that's quite another. But it was
irresistible to me as an actor."
In the exclusive footage shown at CalTech, we witnessed the Real Estate
Agent Serkis in his performance capture suit, helmet rigged with a
camera, performing his scenes alongside James Franco, John Lithgow and
Freida Pinto. Special cameras are placed around the set, filming not
only his bodily movements, but facial expressions as well. The
difference in having the performance capture actor filmed at the same
time is clear when, in one shot, Caesar takes the hand of Will Rodman,
the character played by Franco. There is nothing phony or forced about
the way this simple act appears on screen. It's this realism that truly
makes you forget that Caesar is completely computer generated - or at
least his home exterior.