Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014) Production Notes

Director: Matt Reeves
Main Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-Mcphee
Release Date: 2014-07-11
Age Rating: 4 V
Runtime: 130 mins. / 2 h 10 m

In DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES a growing nation of genetically evolved apes, led by Caesar, are threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

Please note: Some production notes may contain spoilers.

In DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES a growing nation of genetically evolved apes, led by Caesar, are threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier.  They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

At one time the concept of successfully rebooting the Planet of the Apes series into a viable new franchise seemed impossible. But 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, along with the majestic performance of Andy Serkis and groundbreaking visual effects from Weta Digital, did indeed launch a new franchise. The film became a global hit, grossing nearly $500 million and receiving critical and audience acclaim. It was the first live-action motion picture to star and be told from the point of view of a sentient animal -- a character with human qualities and with whom moviegoers experienced a real emotional bond. 

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES director Matt Reeves wanted the continuity of his movie to fit into that timeline. “The story we are telling will lead to Planet of the Apes, and not Planet of the Humans and Apes, so it’s about how this film fits into that narrative.”

In the new story, the apes have continued to build a community in Muir Woods. Beyond the apes’ enclave, a pandemic, the Simian Flu, has wiped out much of the world’s human population. Gradually the lights of civilization began to dim and become non-existent. For all intents and purposes, humanity has perished.

Producer Dylan Clark notes, “A viral apocalypse hit the humans and 10 years later, their numbers are severely depleted. Apes, on the other hand, have done quite well. Caesar has led them to freedom and he’s built a new home. The apes have risen, and the humans have declined. And now they’re about to collide.”

Still, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is about survival and not an apocalypse. “There is a sense in the beginning of the story that apes have inherited the Earth,” says Reeves. “A small group of humans is struggling to come back from devastation, and the apes are fighting for survival. It’s an ape world, and we explore whether apes and humans can figure out a way to live together without violence.”

These events again revolve around Caesar, whom Andy Serkis brought to life in an acclaimed and stunning performance in 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. In DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Caesar rules a nation of apes, having established a rich life for the simians in the years that followed their liberation. Now, a decade later, he finds himself grappling with the challenges of maintaining his benevolent leadership, and protecting his mate and two children in the face of renewed interaction with humans.

According to Serkis, the challenges that defined Caesar in the previous film have evolved: “He’s still developing his ‘inner-ape,’ this time by galvanizing this group of orangutans and chimps and gorillas – 2,000 strong – while being an open and empathetic leader.

“Caesar is the alpha-ape,” Serkis continues. “He’s a natural leader. The other apes respect him because he has an innate sense of fairness, he values their opinions, and he includes them in the decision-making. He’s definitive in his decisions but also relies heavily on the advice of his inner circle, his council.”

At the same time, Caesar is conflicted about humanity because of the way he came into the world and was raised among humans. He was an outsider, even though he learned human belief systems and thought of Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ character Will as his father. He’s a creature who is going through the very human experiences of being rejected and finding his people.

Caesar as a leader, parent and mate provides abundant ground for Serkis to explore as an actor. “Caesar is a father now: he’s got a mate, a son and a baby,” the actor notes. “He is responsible for the survival of a community. On the other hand, he has empathy for humans, and still, deep down, he feels a need to be able to communicate with them.”

In DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Caesar’s principal human contact is Malcolm, portrayed by Jason Clarke. Malcolm is a former architect who lost his wife to the virus that wiped out most of humanity. Left on his own to raise his teenage son, Malcolm is desperate to maintain the hope and stability he and Alexander have found within a small colony of fellow survivors in San Francisco. 

“Malcolm is sort of a mirror to Caesar, trying to rebuild his community in the ruins of a world that is gone forever,” says Reeves. “There’s a lot of mistrust and throwing of blame on both sides,” adds Clarke. “From the point of view of the humans, there’s a lot of anger about how mankind has suffered because of the virus. The humans wrongly blame the apes for causing the virus, though humans actually created the virus in a lab a decade earlier.”

Caesar and Malcolm must make choices, compromises and decisions that not everyone respects. Both are fathers and must protect not just themselves but also their nascent societies.

In this respect, the film is the story of two families – one human, one ape.

While Malcolm is a pivotal figure in the human colony, its leader is Dreyfus, played by Gary Oldman. Prior to the breakdown of society, Dreyfus was a law enforcement professional. Now, he has taken on the role of a leader of the human colony surviving among the ruins of downtown San Francisco -- an authority figure intent on not only saving, but rebuilding what’s left of mankind a decade after the Simian Flu destroyed human-run infrastructure. Oldman describes the colony as “a melting pot of survivors. The virus has just wiped out millions and millions of people. We are just the lucky few that were genetically predisposed to have been immune. As a community we’ve come together and we’re trying to survive and restore our world.”

Working hard to rebuild her life is Ellie, a nurse who worked with the Center for Disease Control in its failed efforts to contain the viral outbreak. Ellie has managed to attain some measure of security amidst her fellow survivors in San Francisco, including Malcolm, with whom she has a burgeoning relationship. “Ellie is strong and tenacious because she has to be to survive in this world,” says Keri Russell, who portrays Ellie. “It’s a tough place that’s always on that verge of panic as everyone starts to realize that this little society they’ve built is coming close to bursting at the seams. She’s a strong woman and that’s just what Malcolm needs.”

Ellie and Malcolm’s relationship impacts the latter’s teenage son Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Alexander’s mother has passed away – one of countless victims of the Simian Flu. Alexander has grown up in this decimated world, and has little memory of what normal life was like.  His reality is a daily struggle to exist and survive, with his father and the other humans, amongst the ruins of civilization.  

Smit-McPhee says the film is a story of survival, as well as one “about trust and love between Malcolm and Alexander.” Though Alexander and all the humans are under constant threat, Smit-McPhee notes that “it’s the only world that Alexander has known, so it’s all he’s used to. If anything, that’s given him the strength necessary to survive.”

A formidable antagonist for the humans is Koba, played by Toby Kebbell. The milky-eyed and scar-faced bonobo, introduced in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Koba spent much of his younger life confined in laboratories, where he was subjected to experimentation in the name of science. In the decade following the apes’ liberation, Koba has evolved into a grizzled warrior who harbors a strong hatred of the human race, believing that the only good human is a dead human.

Kebbell, who recently landed the role of the iconic villain Victor Von Doom in The Fantastic Four, says that Koba’s relationship with Caesar is one of “son and father, if not younger brother and older brother. Caesar is very much in control, and Koba appears to be fine with that.”

A far gentler ape character is Cornelia, the young female chimp who in Rise of the Planet of the Apes was held at the San Bruno Primate Center, and who is played in this film by Judy Greer. Ten years after Caesar’s uprising against humanity, their budding relationship has blossomed. Cornelia is now Caesar’s wife and queen and the mother of his two children: an impatient and sometimes-rebellious adolescent male simian named Blue Eyes, played by Nick Thurston, and a newborn baby chimp.

When Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released, fans immediately recognized that Cornelia was named in tribute to the 1968 film’s lead ape character Cornelius, played by Roddy McDowall. Given her romantic connection with Caesar, her name is also a historical reference to Cornelia Cinna, the first wife of Roman general and statesman Julius Caesar.

Another ape introduced in the last film, Rocket, played by Terry Notary, is a skilled combatant and one of Caesar’s closest allies. As in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Notary also served as the ape movement coach and stunt choreographer.

Also returning is Karin Konoval, as Maurice, an ex-circus orangutan who was forced to perform for the entertainment of his human captors. Now the wise elder, Maurice serves as loyal consigliere and advisor, serving Caesar and educating the youth of his ape kingdom.

Going Native (3D) On Location

Director Matt Reeves, who created a vivid and unexpected sense of realism in his 2008 thriller Cloverfield, says, “My hope is that audiences – even knowing about the visual effects – will say, ‘Wait a minute. There weren’t real live apes in the movie at all?’

“That to me is an exciting idea because it creates emotional reality. If you believe these apes are real and they are emoting, then your involvement just becomes deeper and deeper. I think that’s one of the miracles of what Weta has achieved.”

Producer Dylan Clark adds, “It all goes back to Matt’s vision. What he loved about Rise of the Planet of the Apes was watching the apes grapple with issues and apply their intelligence to challenging situations. We really wanted to capture the apes in the environment Caesar has created for them.”

Reeves says that ultimately DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES isn’t intended as a fantasy. “What’s important is to find the reality, and take the one fantastical element and make that the only one. In this movie, that element is that they are intelligent apes. Everything else is completely realistic.”

That realism is further enhanced by the production’s ability to shoot in exterior locations. More than 85 percent of DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES was shot in the forests of Vancouver and outside New Orleans. Serkis calls this a “huge technical leap that enables there to be no disconnect with the other actors.”

Shooting a film of this scope and scale in native 3D, coupled with the complex performance capture work amidst stunning yet challenging exterior locations was exponentially more difficult than what had been achieved on Rise of the Planet of the Apes. That latter featured mostly interior sets, but DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES depicts a community of 2,000 apes, living in wild surroundings, in humid, rainforest environments.

“Everything around us, and everywhere we shot provided challenges for the performance capture,” Serkis continues. “No one has ever attempted that combination of shooting native 3D in a practical location, at least not to this extent. What was really exciting was to take the aesthetic of photorealistic apes and then put these characters in naturalistic situations. It’s important to be thinking about what’s right for the story, so my first thought about the work was not necessarily about 3D; it was, ‘what’s this moment about?’”

The juxtaposition of Mother Nature’s beauty and Hollywood high tech was eye-catching. Jason Clarke talks about walking onto set in the middle of a lush rainforest in British Colombia: “It’s simply amazing – old-growth forest, 3D cameras, motion cap cameras, wires going everywhere, smoke machines, fog machines, rain and mud, a crew of hundreds and then there’s 50 actors performing as apes walking around the forest. I always prefer shooting on location rather than on a soundstage. It just brings so much in terms of realism to the project. This goes for the actors portraying the human characters and for the ‘apes actors’ as well. These guys are not just sitting in a volume. They’ve got to interact with people and the forest and the mud and everything else and the rocks and the stones and the rain.”

Keri Russell notes, “We were really cut off from civilization. On location it was quiet and beautiful but at the same time, we were a massive production. It was unbelievable to me that they got those giant 3D cameras and this epic moviemaking operation on these little trails in the rainforest.”

To capture the performances, Weta Digital had 35 people on each unit, an array of 50 or so mo-cap cameras and eight witness capture cameras that were constantly rolling on anything that involved an ape character.

Joe Letteri, senior visual effects supervisor, notes that this groundbreaking technology must always be in the service of the story and the performances. “Being able to record the performance capture on location and working with all the other actors means you have a more coherent performance,” he explains. “Everyone is in the moment together. And that’s really what we were trying to do with the new technology we developed.”

The visual effects magic and design wonders were always in the serice of the story. Production designer James Chinlund embraced Reeves’ vision of the apes’ new world. “It’s one that’s been reclaimed by nature,” he says. “We did a lot of research into the way nature would reclaim the earth, and the first steps in how a primitive society would evolve.”

Chinlund adds, “Matt, from the beginning, has been very explicit about this being more than just a post-apocalyptic world. This is a story about the birth of a civilization. I think it’s sort of a restart for the planet Earth. It was exciting to try and imagine how that would happen and also watching this new society built its world. I feel like the apes are going through the same evolutionary path that we did and running into the same pitfalls and trying to figure out how to build their new world. It was a really fun opportunity to try to think like an ape and help create that society.”

Caesar Speaks!

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES also explores how the apes evolved from the mostly mute but intelligent animals of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, into articulate, civilized beings that emerge as Earth’s dominant species within the canon of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

Reeves explains: “In Rise of the Planet of the Apes the apes said only a few words. With this film we show the apes at the dawn of their society, and learning to truly speak. Inevitably, the younger generation will be better with language than their parents, which leads to a very complicated portrait of the apes’ cultural order. This is the ape society that eventually evolves into what we see in the 1968 Planet of the Apes with an organized government, military and science.”

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES co-screenwriter Mark Bomback says one of the script’s biggest challenges was to depict how the apes communicate with each other and how much the apes articulate verbally. “At the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes it’s shocking when Caesar speaks an entire sentence. In this film, we explore how much further the apes have advanced in their language skills. We struggled a lot with this because there’s a temptation to just give the apes pages and pages of dialogue. But there was a huge plausibility issue that we were contending with, which is it’s only been ten years since the events of the previous film, and if Caesar is only able to say one sentence in that film, then how much speech would he really be capable of in this one?

“The second question,” Bomback continues, “was, why would they actually need to speak? Apes were perfectly able to communicate with each other through sign language, so why would they want to or need to talk like humans? By extension, at what point is sign language inadequate, emotionally, so that the apes would have to speak?”

Adds Matt Reeves: “The thing that was important to me was that the story, and its elements such as language, not jump too ahead far, in a certain way, from where things were in Rise of the Planet of the Apes; when Andy says ‘NO!’ in Rise, I think it’s so startling it blew me away.”

The same experiments that drove Caesar and his community to escape are continuing to make them more intelligent, which leads to new forms of verbal expression. “This time there is an evolution in linguistic terms,” Serkis explains. “We worked in great detail in terms of creating that level of sophistication versus ‘finding’ language. Caesar communicates through the sign language he was taught, which has become a unifying way of speaking with the other apes. At the same time, he’s verbalizing more.”

About The Cast

ANDY SERKIS (Caesar) is an award-winning actor who has earned acclaim from both critics and audiences for his work in a range of memorable roles. His performance as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes earned him a Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor from the Broadcast Film Critics Association. 

Serkis gained legions of fans around the globe for his performance as Gollum in the Academy Award ® winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.  Serkis won an Empire Award for his role in addition to sharing in several Outstanding Ensemble Cast Awards, including, a Screen Actors Guild Award®.  Reuniting with Jackson, he played two roles in the director’s epic retelling of King Kong, taking performance capture to another level as the title character of Kong and also appearing as Lumpy, the ship’s cook. Serkis reprised his role of Gollum in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, as well as tackling 2nd Unit directing duties on the film.

Serkis recently announced he will direct an adaptation of Richard Kipling’s The Jungle Book for Warner Bros.

In October of 2012, Serkis announced the acquisition of two projects that will be produced by his London-based performance capture studio The Imaginarium: The Bone Season (based on a series of books by Samantha Shannon) and a re-telling of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which Serkis will direct.  20th Century Fox-based Peter Chernin will co-produce the adaptation of The Bone Season with The Imaginarium.

Other recent credits include a starring role as Captain Haddock alongside Jamie Bell’s Tintin in The Adventures of Tintin, from director Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy, and had co-starring roles in Death of a Superhero and Brighton Rock.  In 2010, Serkis received critical acclaim and accolades for his portrayal of punk-rock legend Ian Dury in the film Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll for director Mat Whitecross.  The role earned Serkis a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor. He also played 19th century grave robber William Hare, opposite Simon Pegg’s William Burke, in John Landis’ black comedy Burke & Hare. 

On the small screen, Serkis appeared in the BBC miniseries Little Dorrit, based on Charles Dickens’ classic tale, which garnered him a 2009 Emmy® nomination for Best Supporting Actor.   He also starred in as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein in the BBC/HBO production of Einstein and Eddington.

Serkis previously earned Golden Globe® and BAFTA TV Award nominations for his performance as Ian Brady in HBO’s Longford.  He also garnered acclaim for the role of Bill Sikes in the PBS presentation of Oliver Twist.  British television audiences also know him for a wide range of roles in telefilms, miniseries and series.

Feature film credits include Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed drama The Prestige; the comedy 13 Going on 30, with Jennifer Garner and Judy Greer; and indie films The Cottage, Extraordinary Rendition and Sugarhouse.  He also lent his voice to the animated feature Flushed Away.  He earlier co-starred in Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People and Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvy.  Serkis includes among his additional film credits such independent releases as Deathwatch, The Escapist, Shiner, Pandaemonium, The Jolly Boys’ Last Stand, Five Seconds to Spare, Sweety Barrett, Among Giants, Mojo, Career Girls, Loop, Stella Does Tricks and The Near Room.

An accomplished stage actor, Serkis received acclaim for his work on the stages of London and across the United Kingdom.  He starred as Iago in Othello, at the Royal Exchange Theatre; played the Emcee in Cabaret; and originated the role of Potts in Jez Butterworth’s Mojo, at the Royal Court Theatre.  His stage work also includes productions of King Lear, Hush, and Decadence.  In 2003, he made his directorial debut with the play The Double Bass at London’s Southwark Playhouse.

As a director, Serkis also helmed the award-winning Heavenly Sword™ for PLAYSTATION®3 and the upcoming Enslaved: Odyssey to the West for Namco Bandai Games.  In addition, he wrote and directed a short film called Snake, starring his wife, Lorraine Ashbourne and Rupert Graves.

JASON CLARKE (Malcolm) has emerged in the U.S. with a slate of performances in both television and film. Clarke stars in The Green Blade Rises, produced by Terrence Malick; and in 2013 had a leading role in the action thriller, White House Down, for director Roland Emmerich, alongside Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx and James Woods.

Clarke received acclaim for his performances in Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar® nominated Zero Dark Thirty. In Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan, Clarke played George Wilson, the cuckolded husband of Myrtle and the man who brings the story to its climax. 

Clarke was also recently seen in John Hillcoat’s period drama Lawless opposite Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pierce and Jessica Chastain. The film centers on a family of Depression-era bootleggers in the American South.

Earlier, Clarke starred in several high profile films including Michael Mann’s Public Enemies opposite Johnny Depp; and Paul W.S. Anderson’s Death Race.

In the world of independent films, Clarke starred in The Fields, opposite Sam Worthington, which premiered at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, Jada Pinkett Smith’s directorial debut, The Human Contract and David Schwimmer’s Trust opposite Clive Owen and Catherine Keener; Yelling to the Sky directed by Victoria Mahoney; and Swerve for director Craig Lahiff.

In his native Australia, Clarke starred in Phillip Noyce’s Rabbit Proof Fence, as well as Better than Sex, and Park Street. In television, Clarke worked opposite Geoffrey Rush in the series, Mercury. 

Clarke first came to America’s attention in the critically acclaimed dramatic Showtime series, Brotherhood, where he played Tommy Caffee, an ambitious Rhode Island politician who navigates the treacherous worlds of local politics and organized crime. He also starred in Shawn Ryan’s (The Shield) acclaimed crime-drama, The Chicago Code on FOX as Veteran Chicago Police Detective Jarek Wysocki, who leads the special unit fighting against the corruption.

Clarke graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne and also has extensive credits in theater, as an actor as well as director.

GARY OLDMAN (Dreyfus), with over 20 years as a worldwide presence in major motion pictures, is also known to millions as Sirius Black (Harry Potter’s Godfather), Commissioner Jim Gordon (Batman’s crime-fighting partner), Dracula, Beethoven, Lee Harvey Oswald, Joe Orton, Sid Vicious, and also the terrorist who hijacked Harrison Ford’s Air Force One.  He also starred in Luc Besson’s The Professional and The Fifth Element and also as Dr. Zachary Smith in Lost in Space. 

Highly regarded as one of foremost actors of his generation, and an internationally known, iconic figure, he has the distinction of appearing in more successful films than any other artist spanning the past twenty years, and additionally has appeared in more than one of the top ten highest grossing films in history including, not one, but both of the most successful film franchises in history!

Mr. Oldman is the recipient of the 2011 Empire Icon Award, awarded for a lifetime of outstanding achievement.

He has appeared in the following Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II; and also appeared in the Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

With the addition of master spy George Smiley in 2011, Oldman created yet another iconic character in the acclaimed film version of John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which brought Oldman his first Academy Award Nomination and also a BAFTA nomination as Best Actor.

Starring also with Denzel Washington in the hit film The Book of Eli, his acting career began in 1979 where he worked exclusively in the theatre; in 1985 through 1989 working at London’s Royal Court.  His early BBC films were Mike Leigh’s Meantime and The Firm by the late Alan Clark.  Feature films, which immediately followed were Sid and Nancy, Prick Up Your Ears, directed by Stephen Frears, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead directed by Tom Stoppard, State of Grace, JFK directed by Oliver Stone, Bram Stoker’s Dracula directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Romeo is Bleeding, True Romance directed by Tony Scott, The Professional directed by Luc Besson, Murder in the First, Immortal Beloved, and The Scarlet Letter directed by Roland Joffe. 

In 1995 and manager/producing partner Douglas Urbanski formed a production company, which produced Mr. Oldman’s directorial debut, the highly acclaimed Nil by Mouth.  The film won nine of seventeen major awards for which it was nominated.  The film was selected to open the main competition for the 1997 50th Anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, for which Kathy Burke won Best Actress.  The same year Oldman won the prestigious Channel Four Director’s Prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival in addition to winning the British Academy Award (shared with Douglas Urbanski) for Best Film and also the BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, written by Gary Oldman.

In 2000, Mr. Oldman, and Douglas Urbanski produced the original film The Contender, which also starred Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater and Sam Elliott; the film received several Academy Award Nominations.

During the past twenty years Mr. Oldman has appeared in a staggering thirteen films that have opened in the number one box office position; the films in which he has appeared have a cumulative gross in the billions and billions of dollars, remarkably, making him, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the highest grossing film actor in the history of motion pictures. 

KERI RUSSELL (Ellie) stars in the original FX series The Americans, a drama that centers on Russian sleeper cells operating within the United States in the 1980s.

In 2013, Russell also stars in two motion pictures: Dark Skies, a science fiction – horror thriller, and the romantic comedy Austenland, directed by Joshua Hess, about a woman obsessed with the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice who travels to a Jane Austen-theme park in search of her perfect gentleman. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

The award-winning actress previously entranced audiences with her portrayal of the eponymous character Felicity, making the show a break out phenomenon. On the show, Felicity Porter’s rash decision to follow her high school crush to New York becomes a path to self-discovery – and her dilemmas spoke to viewers everywhere. For her efforts, Russell won a Golden Globe Award in 1999.

Simultaneously, Russell added to her motion picture credits, with roles in Eight Days a Week, The Curve, Mad About Mambo and the Vietnam War drama We Were Soldiers.

After Felicity concluded, Russell moved to New York City where she made her Off-Broadway stage debut in Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig with Jeremy Piven and Andrew McCarthy.

Her on-screen charm and vulnerability led to many memorable motion picture portraits, as Russell appeared in The Upside of Anger with Kevin Costner and Joan Allen, Mission: Impossible III with Tom Cruise, Waitress, The Girl in the Park, August Rush, Bedtime Stories, Leaves of Grass, Extraordinary Measures and Goats.

Her additional television credits include the mini-series Into the West, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and the Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation The Magic of Ordinary Days and the television series Running Wild opposite Will Arnett.

TOBY KEBBELL (Koba) was recently seen in Steven Spielberg’s sweeping drama War Horse, the action thriller The East, with Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgård and Wrath of the Titans, with Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson.

In 2010, Kebbell starred in three very different films: Mike Newell’s epic Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, starring Jake Gyllenhaal; Jon Turteltaub’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, with Nicolas Cage; and Robert Redford’s historical drama The Conspirator, in which he portrayed President Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

Kebbell previously starred in Control, Anton Corbijn’s 2007 biopic about Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. For his portrayal of the band’s manager, Rob Gretton, Kebbell won a British Independent Film Award (BIFA) for Best Supporting Actor and earned a nomination for a London Film Critics Circle Award. The next year, Kebbell co-starred in Guy Ritchie’s acclaimed crime comedy RocknRolla, with Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, Tom Wilkinson and Thandie Newton. Following his work in those films, he received nominations for a BAFTA Award and an Empire Award.

His earlier film work includes Wilderness, Woody Allen’s Match Point, Oliver Stone’s Alexander, and Shane Meadows’ Dead Man’s Shoes, which marked his screen debut and brought him a BIFA nomination for Most Promising Newcomer.

On British television, Kebbell’s credits include Black Mirror, The Commander – Windows of the Soul, and the Macbeth segment of the series ShakespeaRe-Told, as well as episodes of the series The Street and Peak Practice.

Kebbell has also performed on the London stage, including the plays Enemies at the Almeida, under the direction of Michael Attenborough and the critically acclaimed Journey’s End at the Playhouse Theatre, directed by David Grindley.

KODI SMIT-MCPHEE (Alexander) reunites with director Matt Reeves with whom he previously worked with on the film Let Me In opposite Chloe Grace Moretz and Richard Jenkins, for which he received a 2010 Critics Choice Nomination.

Kodi recently finished filming The Young Ones starring opposite Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning and Michael Shannon. In 2012, Kodi starred in the independent film, The Wilderness Of James. He also was the lead in A Birder’s Guide To Everything, opposite Ben Kingsley, which premiered at the 2013 TriBeca Film Festival.

Kodi played ‘Benvolio’ in Romeo & Juliet opposite Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Ed Westwick, and Paul Giamatti. In addition, he appears in The Congress opposite Robin Wright, Paul Giamatti and Harvey Keitel.

Kodi starred in Paranorman, in which he lends his voice as the lead role of ‘Norman’. The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature for the 2013 Academy Awards and also received a 2013 BAFTA Awards nomination for Best Animated Film. The cast also includes Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Casey Affleck, Leslie Mann, and Jeff Garlin.

Kodi previously starred in The Road opposite Viggo Mortenson, Charlize Theron and Robert Duvall, for which he received a 2009 Broadcast Critics Nomination for Best Young Actor and a 2010 Australian Film Institute (AFI) Nomination for Best International Actor; Romulus, My Father with Eric Bana and Franka Potente, garnered him the 2007 AFI Award for Best Young Actor as well as a Best Actor Nomination; the Australian film Matching Jack for which he received a 2010 AFI Nomination for Best Supporting Actor and also Dead Europe, which premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

About The Filmmakers

MATT REEVES (Director) gained feature film prominence when he helmed the much lauded science fiction-horror hit Cloverfield (2008), about the arrival of a giant monster in New York City and its impact on the lives of several people there. Shot in hyper-realistic vérité style with a single camera carried by one of the protagonists, the film spoke to post-9/11 fears while delivering a special effects tour de force.  The modestly budgeted film set a domestic record for a January release and went on to gross more than $175 million worldwide.

Following Cloverfield, Reeves directed Let Me In (2010).  Acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, the film is a remake of the Swedish horror film Let the Right One In, about the relationship between a bullied young boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and his new neighbor, a young girl who turns out to be a vampire.

Reeves co-created the popular television series Felicity, starring Golden Globe Award winning actress Keri Russell. Reeves served as executive producer with partner and co-creator J.J. Abrams. He frequently directed episodes during the show’s four-season run, including the 1998 pilot for the WB network.

Reeves made his feature directorial debut with the 1996 dark comedy The Pallbearer, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, David Schwimmer and Barbara Hershey. He developed the screenplay with Jason Katims through Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. In 1999, Reeves co-wrote and co-produced James Gray’s critically acclaimed feature The Yards, starring Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix and Charlize Theron.

Born in Rockville Centre, New York, Reeves was raised in Los Angeles, where he began making 8mm movies at the age of eight. As a teenager, he discovered that a local cable system was broadcasting homemade movies on its public access channel, and contacted the program, Word of Mouth, to air his own productions. Reeves not only managed to get his movies shown on the program, but was also interviewed by its host, Gerard Ravel. Through him, Reeves met aspiring young filmmakers J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk. The trio became fast friends and subsequent production partners.  Perhaps most importantly, the festival introduced Reeves to producer Steven Spielberg, who after reading an article about it in the Los Angeles Times (titled The Beardless Wonders of Film Making) hired Reeves, Abrams and Burke to clean his old teenage 8mm films and repair the splices for $300.

Reeves and Burk eventually attended the University of Southern California, where they collaborated on Reeves’ thesis project, a short fantasy film called Mr. Petrified Forest, about a photographer obsessed with disaster. The project required a plane crash sequence, which Abrams, returning from college on the East Coast, to constructed on the front yard of his parents’ home.  Mr. Petrified Forest made the rounds of student film festivals, where it netted not only an award but also Industry attention and an agent for Reeves. He soon set to work on several feature scripts, including an action-adventure film that later became the Steven Seagal picture Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995).

For television, Reeves helmed the pilot episodes of Gideon’s Crossing and Miracles for ABC, Conviction for NBC and episodes of NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street and ABC’s Relativity.

MARK BOMBACK’s (Screenwriter, Executive Producer) credits include Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Wolverine, Total Recall, Unstoppable, Live Free or Die Hard, Deception, Race to Witch Mountain, and Godsend.  Films in development include The Art of Racing in the Rain (Universal), Agent Zigzag (New Line/Warner Bros.), and The Umbrella Academy (Universal). 

While primarily a writer of feature films, Mark recently co-developed a TV series, Legends, for TNT with Howard Gordon (Homeland), which is scheduled to air summer 2014.  In addition, a young adult novel, Mapmaker, will be published by Soho Teen in October 2014, co-written with novelist Galaxy Craze.

When his schedule permits, Mark teaches a class in screenwriting at his alma mater, Wesleyan University.  He lives in New York with his wife and four children.

RICK JAFFA (Screenwriter/Producer) a native of DeSoto, Texas, graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in History and Political Science. He later earned his Masters in Business at the University of Southern California. Jaffa began his entertainment career in 1981 in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency. He became the executive assistant to legendary agent Stan Kamen, who was then head of the Motion Picture Department. Later, as an agent, Jaffa represented writers and directors, packaging films as diverse as Robocop and The Trip to Bountiful.

Jaffa has collaborated with his wife/partner Amanda Silver for 25 years, writing and producing films such as The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and Eye for an Eye.

In 2011 the couple wrote and produced the award-winning Rise of the Planet of The Apes at 20th Century Fox, which was a re-imagining of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

Jaffa and Silver are currently working with James Cameron on sequels to Avatar. They wrote and produced Dawn of the Planet of The Apes, the sequel to Rise of The Planet of The Apes, scheduled for release in the summer of 2014. They’re currently in production on In The Heart of The Sea, with Ron Howard directing, and in pre-production on Jurassic World, scheduled for release in 2015.

They live in Pacific Palisades, California, and have two children, Joe and Franki.

AMANDA SILVER (Screenwriter/Producer) a native of New York and graduate in history from Yale University, was an executive assistant at Tri-Star Pictures and Paramount Pictures before enrolling in film school at University of Southern California, where she earned her MFA in Screenwriting.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, her thesis script, opened in 1992. An Ace Award winning episode of Fallen Angels, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, followed in 1993. Silver has written and produced screenplays with her husband and collaborator Rick Jaffa for 25 years, resulting in such films as Eye for an Eye and the The Relic.

In 2011 the couple wrote and produced the award-winning Rise of the Planet of The Apes at 20th Century Fox, which was a re-imagining of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

Silver and Jaffa are currently working with James Cameron on sequels to Avatar. They wrote and produced Dawn of the Planet of The Apes, the sequel to Rise of The Planet of The Apes, scheduled for release in the summer of 2014. They’re currently in production on In The Heart of The Sea, with Ron Howard directing, and in pre-production on Jurassic World, scheduled for release in 2015.

They live in Pacific Palisades, California, and have two children, Joe and Franki.

PETER CHERNIN (Producer) Peter Chernin is the Chairman and CEO of The Chernin Group (TCG).  TCG’s current assets include Chernin Entertainment, an entertainment production company; a majority stake in CA Media, an Asia-based media investment company; and several strategic investments in U.S.-based technology companies, including Pandora, Fullscreen, Tumblr, Flipboard, Scopely, Base79 and MiTú.

Chernin Entertainment produces television programs and feature films.  It currently produces Fox’s hit television comedy The New Girl. The company’s first feature film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was released in August 2011 and has grossed more than $480 million at the worldwide box office.  Since then, Chernin Entertainment has also produced box office hits The Heat, Oblivion and Parental Guidance. 

Prior to starting TCG, Chernin served as President and Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation.  As President and COO, he oversaw diversified global operations spanning five continents, including the production and distribution of film and television programming; television, satellite and cable broadcasting; and News Corp.’s expansion into new media.

Chernin sits on the boards of American Express, Pandora, Twitter and is a senior advisor to Providence Equity Partners.  He is on the board of the Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and is Chairman and Co-founder of Malaria No More.

DYLAN CLARK (Producer) is partner of Bluegrass Films overseeing film and television. Previously he started The Dylan Clark Company in 2013 after successfully launching the film division of Chernin Entertainment with Peter Chernin in 2009. Their first two films, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Parental Guidance, were commercial hits. The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, was released in June 2013.  Clark is also an Executive Producer on the upcoming Fox Searchlight film The Drop.

Before joining Chernin Entertainment, Clark spent eight years at Universal Pictures, most recently as executive vice president of production. While there, he was responsible for overseeing production on dozens of acclaimed films, including Friday Night Lights, Dawn of the Dead, Children of Men, Cinderella Man, The Good Shepherd, The Kingdom, Charlie Wilson’s War, Definitely Maybe, Duplicity, Couples Retreat and Robin Hood, among others.

Prior to his tenure at Universal, Clark was director of development at MGM from 1999 to 2001. He oversaw production on Barbershop and Out of Time.

Previously, he was a creative executive at Outerbanks Entertainment, where he worked on the ABC television show Wasteland. Clark began his career in the entertainment business as an assistant to producers Victoria Nevinny and Tracie Graham-Rice on the film Phoenix, followed by a stint as an assistant at Fox.

Prior to entering the film business, Clark worked as an aide to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

THOMAS M. HAMMEL (Executive Producer) executive produced Rise of the Planet of the Apes which opened theatrically during the summer of 2011, grossing nearly half a billion dollars worldwide.

Hammel’s other credits as an executive producer include Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and Meet Dave.   Prior to that, he executive produced AVP: Alien vs. Predator, The Order, From Hell, Fair Game and Love Potion No. 9.

As a producer, Hammel’s film credits include Dungeons & Dragons and Firestorm. He also co-produced the sci-fi adventure The Day After Tomorrow.

Hammel won a Golden Globe for producing the acclaimed cable film The Burning Season, and another for producing the critically hailed cable film Barbarians at the Gate.

Hammel served seven years as vice president of production for HBO Pictures during the 1980s. He graduated from Art Center College of Design with a degree in film.

MICHAEL SERESIN (Director of Photography) left his job as a PA at Pacific Films in his native New Zealand in 1966 to pursue a career as a freelance camera assistant in Europe after being inspired by filmmakers such as Truffaut and Fellini.

After eighteen months in Rome and London, he graduated to lighting camera status and by 1968 was working alongside his future BFCS partners, Bob Brooks and Len Fulford.

From 1970 he combined commercials work with shooting movies, becoming a director of photography for Harold Becker, Adrian Lyne and Alan Parker, on films such as Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express, City Hall, Angela’s Ashes and more recently, Harry Potter - The Prisoner of Azkaban.

JAMES CHINLUND (Production Designer) has worked with some of the industry’s most innovative filmmakers. In addition to his collaboration with Darren Aronofsky on Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain, he has worked with Josh Whedon on The Avengers (2012), director Spike Lee on his critically acclaimed film The 25th Hour, with director Paul Schrader on his ‘60s era biopic Autofocus and with Todd Solondz on the dark suburban portrait Storytelling.

Chinlund was born in New York City, and graduated from Cal Arts in Los Angeles with a degree in Fine Arts. His first feature credit was as art director on Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo 66, and in 1998, Chinlund met Matthew Libatique and Eric Watson on the set of Rob Schmidt’s Saturn, his first feature credit as production designer.

In addition to his work in the film industry, Chinlund has worked extensively in the commercial and fashion industries with such directors as Lance Acord, Roman Copolla, Todd Oldham and Gus Van Sant; and such clients as Calvin Klein, MiuMiu, Chloe, Pirelli, Sony, Levi’s, Estee Lauder and Nike.

WILLIAM HOY, A.C.E. (Editor) edited Zack Snyder’s worldwide hit 300, his acclaimed comic book adaptation Watchmen, and the thriller Sucker Punch, having first worked with the director as an additional editor on Dawn of the Dead.

Hoy has also edited such films as Tim Story’s Fantastic Four and its sequel Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Alex Proyas’ I, Robot; F. Gary Gray’s A Man Apart; and Randall Wallace’s We Were Soldiers and The Man in the Iron Mask.  He has collaborated with filmmaker Phillip Noyce on three films: The Bone Collector, Sliver and Patriot Games.

Hoy’s additional credits include editing work on Se7en, Outbreak, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Dances with Wolves.

For television, he has edited Houdini for TNT, Shattered Mind, and the series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

STAN SALFAS, A.C.E. (Editor) began his career as a feature film editor more than 20 years ago, and has worked on such films as Steven Soderbergh’s Underneath, David Dobkin’s Clay Pigeons, and Matt Reeves’ Let Me In and The Pallbearer.  He most recently cut David Jacobson’s Tomorrow You’re Gone, and Wilde Salomé, actor/writer/director Al Pacino’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s controversial Salomé.  His additional film credits include Spike of Bensonhurst, Star Time, Excess Baggage and Morning, and the documentary Metropolitan Avenue.

He has been nominated for two American Cinema Editors Eddie Awards, for the pilots of the J.J. Abrams series Alias and Felicity, and on the latter series, Salfas also served as supervising editor, co-producer and director.  His additional TV credits include the series One Tree Hill, What About Brian, Windfall, which he also produced, Numb3rs, Six Degrees, and Gideon’s Crossing.

MICHAEL GIACCHINO (Music), at the age of 10, began his filmmaking career in his backyard in Edgewater Park, New Jersey, eventually going on to study filmmaking at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. After college, he landed a marketing job at Disney and began studies in music composition first at Juilliard, and then at UCLA. From marketing, he became a producer in the fledgling Disney Interactive Division where he was able to hire himself to write the music for their video games.

When his work was brought to the attention of Steven Spielberg, he said, “I did what anybody in their right mind would do, I signed him up to score Medal of Honor.”

It was Michael’s work in video game orchestration that grabbed the attention of J.J. Abrams, who contacted him via email about the possibility of writing the score for Alias. They met, he got the job, and a relationship was born that would include the groundbreaking series Lost, for which Michael earned an Emmy.

Michael’s feature film composing breakthrough was with The Incredibles. After that, he went on to score box office hits such as The Family Stone, Mission: Impossible III, Ratatouille, Star Trek, Cars 2, Super 8 and John Carter. His 2009 score for the Pixar hit Up earned him an Oscar, a Golden Globe, the BAFTA, the Broadcast Film Critics’ Choice Award and two Grammy® Awards.

More recently, he composed the scores for Star Trek Into Darkness, Andy and Lana Wachowski’s Jupiter Ascending’ and Shawn Levy’s This is Where I Leave You. Michael sits on the Advisory Board of Education Through Music Los Angeles.

JOE LETTERI’s (Visual Effects Supervisor) pioneering work on digital visual effects has earned him four Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects on Avatar, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and King Kong. He also earned an Oscar nomination for 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Additionally, Letteri received the Academy’s Technical Achievement Award for co-developing the subsurface scattering technique that brought Gollum to life.   He joined Weta Digital as Visual Effects Supervisor on The Two Towers and over the last eleven years he has led Weta Digital to become one of the world’s premiere visual effects studios. Letteri specializes in the creation of compellingly realistic creatures, from the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, to Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, the 25ft gorilla in King Kong, the Na’vi in Avatar, and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

As Senior Visual Effects Supervisor on Avatar, he oversaw a program of research and development over four years that produced shots larger and more complex than ever attempted before.  Letteri led the Weta Digital team back into Middle-earth to bring to life the first film of Peter Jackson’s much-anticipated trilogy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Among his many awards and honors, The Producers Guild of America recently selected Letteri, along with Peter Jackson as the recipients of its 2014 Vanguard Award recognizing achievements in new media and technology.

In addition to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Letteri is currently working on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.