Tyler Labine is on a new CBS show, Mad Love, but before that he worked on Rise of the Apes. While he was at the Television Critics Association press tour, Labine shared a little about the Planet of the Apes prequel. He plays a guy named Franklin.
“He is a primatologist,” Labine said. “I’m an ape doctor. James Franco plays the lead character. I’m sort of his right hand man scientist at his place of employ.”
It wasn’t a method-y research intensive kind of role though. “Not really. I did a little bit anyway just because I like to know a little bit about what I’m dealing with and what it takes to become a primatologist. There’s not very much information available on being a primatologist. It didn’t take a lot of research because the script was so carefully put together and the words were indicative of what my character did for a living.”
Franklin may be the one who explains all the science, but it won’t be in an obvious exposition way. “There was a little but not a ton. A lot of little medical terms thrown out here and there.”
Rise of the Apes deals with Cesar (Andy Serkis), the first ape who gains the ability to talk and ultimately leads an ape rebellion. “I think that’s sort of at the basis of the franchise itself, is a good sort of outside look at how we treat animals and other living creatures. It’s almost like A.I. The apes have jumped back up to rebel because we’ve sort of taken everything else for granted on this early, taken these creatures for granted and they decide to rise up. So it’s pretty neat. It’s cool.”
Labine himself missed the boat on the five Apes movies growing up. “Actually, I’m not really that familiar with the franchise but I’ve since watched a lot of them and wished I had been informed at a younger age because I think I probably would have been a huge fan growing up because I am now.”
He didn’t need to see the films though. He was making a movie about the science of ape study. Then cool stuff happens. “This is the prequel of all of the Apes franchise movies, even including Tim Burton’s reboot. This is before any apes have become cognizant or anything. The first instance in this movie happens where an ape actually interacts with a human in a brand new way.”
Unfortunately, there were no real monkeys on the set. “No, there weren’t. There were no real monkeys. Lot of guys in motion capture suits with arm stilts. It’s Weta doing the effects. We were doing things that literally I still have no idea why we were shooting things a certain way because they don’t slow down and really explain to you how the effects are going to come together. You just have to know that oh, we’re miming it in this one or we’re shooting it with a giant silver ball in your hand. You don’t really know what’s going on. It’s trying. It’s a harrowing process.”
Rise of the Apes is coming June 24.