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‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Premiere: How Andy Serkis’ Caesar Found a Voice

Dawn opens ten years after the devastating Simian flu pandemic has decimated the human race, and the City by the Bay looks very different than moviegoers may remember from Rise. “I was very interested in telling the story from the apes’ point of view,” said Reeves, “To start the movie not in the post-apocalyptic world [of man], but instead in a world where it seemed it had been inherited by the new species of intelligent apes.” A rust-ravaged Golden Gate Bridge serves as a set of monkey bars for the apes to travel between their home in the Marin headlands to the now-desolate city of San Francisco. “The idea is that the earth would sort of start to reclaim this place,” said Reeves. “We tried to do it in as naturalistic a fashion as possible … what would happen here without humanity?”

Keri Russell, who plays the wife of Malcolm (Clarke) in the film, praised Serkis’ performance as Caesar, the genetically-enhanced ape. “Andy is just so good. That was really the treat of doing this movie. I really hope people start paying attention to him. He’s unbelievable.”

After the screening, the cast and crowd were ushered into the rotunda of the Palace of the Fine Arts, which had been transformed into a post-Simian Flu, apocalyptic afterparty. Dramatic up-lighting and overgrown branches shrouded the venue in deep shadows as floor-to-ceiling triptychs featuring Caesar’s iconic visage glowered over all. The dimly lit arena made distinguishing between guests almost impossible, keeping with the film’s message of the evening that, truly, we are all alike.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters July 11.