Planet Of The Apes star Kevin Durand says original film inspired acting career

Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes star Kevin Durand said the original 1968 film “made me want to be an actor”.

The Canadian actor plays Proximus Caesar, the leader of a coastal clan of apes, in the latest film set several generations in the future of the franchise, from filmmaker Wes Ball – who directed the Maze Runner trilogy.

Durand and Ball appeared at the red carpet premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles alongside stars Owen Teague, who plays young ape Noa, and Freya Allan, who plays a human named Nova.

LA Premiere of “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes”
Owen Teague arrives a the premiere of Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The original 1968 film was directed by Franklin J Schaffner and led to many iterations, including the latest three films in 2011, 2014 and 2017 starring British actor Andy Serkis as protagonist Caesar.

“It was actually the 1968 film that made me want to be an actor, when I realised that the people behind the rubber masks were actually humans, I was relieved to know that,” Durand told the PA news agency on the red carpet.

“Not only because then I wasn’t so scared anymore, but also because I was like ‘oh wow maybe I could make a living doing this’.

“And there’s my giant head behind us which is absolutely bananas,” Durand said, pointing to a statue of his character on the red carpet.

US star William H Macy, who plays a human named Trevathan in the film, was also inspired by the original Oscar-nominated film.

LA Premiere of “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes”
William H Macy arrives a the premiere of Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

“I saw the original when I was a kid in a movie theatre and I remember the gasp from the audience when you saw the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand – it’s an iconic image now,” the 74-year-old told PA.

“So it seemed like a no-brainer for me to do this, and it’s a great script, it’s a really well-written script, it’s such an unusual premise.

“And oh those clever people, I think they’ve opened the door for many many more films in this franchise, because there is a lot of places it could go now.”

Meanwhile Durand described how the cast got into character before filming on location in Australia.

“We did ape school for about six weeks and learnt about the differences between humans and for me specifically bonobo (species of ape), we just learnt how to move and the voice was born,” he said.

LA Premiere of “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes”
Freya Allan arrives a the premiere of Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The 50-year-old, who recently starred in the horror film Abigail alongside the late Angus Cloud, added: “I remember walking the sidewalk when I first moved here, 173 years ago.

“I couldn’t get an agent, I couldn’t get anybody to answer a phone and to be here and see my big fat head right there is absolutely surreal, it’s a dream come true.”

British actress Allan, who starred in Netflix’s The Witcher alongside Henry Cavill, described Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes as the “best filming experience” she has ever had.

“The locations were stunning, the cast were the best I’ve ever worked with, Wes – the best director,” the 22-year-old told PA.

Before the stars arrived at the premiere, “apes” riding a trio of horses paraded down the red carpet.

Meanwhile Australian actor Travis Jeffery, who plays an ape named Anaya, said they shot the film and the special effects team worked on it for a year.

“It has been a long journey,” the 35-year-old told PA.

“I hadn’t done any motion capture before so we’re in these grey suits with our helmets with a camera and our facecam and we’re wandering around.

“It’s a lot of adjusting to objects in your way, you’re not using much, you might be in a blank room with something to jump on, it’s just really you and the other actors.

“The technology has come so far that we were on location a lot, in Australia … we went to the Blue Mountains we kind of had it for real while playing planet chimps.

“It’s a real mix of imagination and technology and some locations, it’s a great challenge as an actor, it’s a lot of fun.”

Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes will be released in UK cinemas on May 9.