Behind-the-Scenes WETA Livestream

It seems that WETA featured a Livestream about “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” just before Apple’s exclusive trailer debuted on Thursday.  The livestream featured Joe Letterii, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor for WETA, Dan Lemmon, a Visual Effects Supervisor, and actor Andy Serkis, who will be playing Caesar, the ape that leads the rebellion in the movie.

The livestream focuses on the technical aspects of the film, although a lot of what Letteri, Lemmon, and Serkis said was vague.  We do learn that this is another relaunch and that the cast and crew is only comparing it to the original Planet of the Apes series. Tim Burton‘s 2001 Remake was not mentioned in the half-hour special.  We also learn that the story will be rooted in the human aspects of Caesar and how he views humanity. It looks as though the film will tap some of the themes present in the original series.  Specifically the use of apes to symbolize humanity and the atrocities and potential they can achieve.

Lemmon specifically mentioned that this was the first time they used motion capture outside and that the size of the apes allowed for on-set capturing with live audiences.  WETA’s last production, James Cameron‘s “Avatar” featured nine-foot-tall aliens whose size made on-set captures impractical.  They also said that they worked to make the apes as realistic as possible.  While the facial features of Caesar featured in the early teaser looked CG, it was not obvious that his body is also fully CG.  It seems that WETA’s simulation abilities are becoming more and more advanced.  Perhaps Caesar’s facial expressions were not complete when they released the clips?  It’s not clear and will remain so until they release more footage.

It’s nice to see that a production studio outside of California is capable of producing a big budget movie.  WETA didn’t really exist as a large force until Peter Jackson insisted on using them for his Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The company has turned out big movies ever since and focused on fantasy and period films as well as the occasional science fiction piece.

It looks as though the marketing team for Rise is using Apeswillrise as a viral tag on the internet.  They have created a youtube channel and a Twitter handle based on the name.  Perhaps they will feature more WETA livestream events about the film?

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