Director Matt Reeves helms the newest installation in the Planet of the Apes franchise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which shows off the latest in motion capture technology as veteran MoCap actor Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings) reprises his role as ape Caesar.
“When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Planet of the Apes,” Reeves tells ICG Magazine. “When I saw [Rise of the Planet of the Apes], I was so taken with it, because I actually had the experience of being an ape in a way that I never thought of as a kid—which was emotionally. What Andy Serkis and Weta did to create Caesar gave you an incredibly deep, emotional identification with a CG character. I thought it was amazing. My desire for this film was to carry that forward.”
Reeves and cinematographer Michael Seresin were interested in depicting a shadowy and dark world for the film. “It’s definitely a low-key, dark film,” Reeves explains. “And the big thing for me was how to make that feel not artificially lit. I used a lot of single-source lights and deep shadows. In a world where there’s no electricity and no lights, you have to justify where the light comes from.”
The film was shot natively in 3D, but with a very pointed desire to “maintain a 2D aesthetic, like you would find in a non-effects film,” Reeves says. “That meant shallow focus, which, to me, is something that makes things feel intimate and real—with natural light and real focus falloff, in the CG as well. [That approach] creates an immersive 3D, such as when we’re in places like the forest. But the aesthetic is still very 2D, which creates a higher level of reality.”
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