‘War for the Planet of the Apes’: Meet the Actors Behind the Ape Characters

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20th Century FoxWar for the Planet of the Apes opens in theaters on July 14th.

War for the Planet of the Apes is led by Woody Harrelson and Amiah Miller as the main human characters, but the real stars of the film are the apes themselves. Because advanced motion capture technology was used, these apes were not constructed from scratch in a computer; rather, there’s a real human performance behind every ape on screen.

Andy Serkis, of course, is the most valuable player of this series, delivering a stunning performing as Caesar in all three of the rebooted films. But there are plenty of other impressive performers behind the ape characters in War for the Planet of the Apes, including some major names and some lesser known ones.

Here’s a look at the actors who portray the ape characters in War for the Planet of the Apes. 


Andy Serkis as Caesar

Andy Serkis attends the European premiere of “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron” at Westfield London on April 21, 2015 in London, England.

The main character of the rebooted Planet of the Apes series is Caesar, and he is played by an absolute legend of motion capture, Andy Serkis.

You may not know Andy Serkis’ name, but you’ve seen him on screen plenty of times before. Serkis also played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, as well as King Kong in Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong remake and Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He will return as Snoke later this year in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. 

Serkis has also appeared on screen without the use of motion capture, though. You may recognize him from Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which he played Ulysses Klaue, an arms dealer whom Ultron visits at one point. Serkis will reprise this character in Black Panther, and he is featured prominently in the trailer for that film; the trailer opens with a scene of Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue talking to Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross.

In 2018, Andy Serkis will direct and star in Jungle Book, another adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling book that is unrelated to the Disney version.


Steve Zahn as “Bad Ape”

Steve Zahn attends the Disney ABC Television Group’s 2014 winter TCA party held at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 17, 2014 in Pasadena, California.

A new addition to this franchise is Steve Zahn, who in War for the Planet of the Apes plays “Bad Ape,” a chimpanzee who lived in a zoo before apocalypse.

Steve Zahn is one of those actors who is constantly popping up in films but who is usually not the lead. You may recognize him from films like Rescue Dawn, Shattered Glass, A Perfect Getaway, and Captain Fantastic. 

Zayn has also been in some comedies like Daddy Day Care, Reality Bites, That Thing You Do!, You’ve Got Mail, and Employee of the Month. And he has lent his voice to animated films like Stuart Little, Chicken Little, Escape from Planet Earth, and The Good Dinosaur. 


Judy Greer as Cornelia

Judy Greer arrives at The Hollywood Reporter’s 22nd Annual Women In Entertainment Breakfast at Beverly Hills Hotel on December 11, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

Returning to play Cornelia, Caesar’s wife, is Judy Greer.

Greer is known both for her film and her television roles. She voices the character of Cheryl Tunt on the FX series Archer, and she also played Kitty Sanchez on Arrested Development and Trixie on Californication. 

On film, Greer recently started receiving roles in some major films like Jurassic World, Ant-Man, and Tomorrowland. In Jurassic World, she played Karen Mitchell, the sister of Bryce Dallas Howard’s character who sends her children to the park. In Ant-Man, she played Maggie Lang, Scott Lang’s ex-wife. And in Tomorrowland, she was the mother of Britt Robertson’s character. She has previously starred in movies like Carrie (2013), Men, Women and Children, The Descendants, and 27 Dresses.

Judy Greer’s Planet of the Apes character was introduced in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Her character’s name, Cornelia, is clearly a tribute to the character of Cornelius from the original Planet of the Apes franchise.


Karin Konoval as Maurice

Karin Konoval attends the ‘War for the Planet Of The Apes’ premiere at SVA Theater on July 10, 2017 in New York City.

Maurice, the orangutan whom Caesar met while he was in the ape facility in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is played once again by Karin Konoval.

This is the most significant character that Karin Konoval has played, although she has had small roles in over 100 films and TV shows. On The X-Files, she played Madame Zelma, a Tarot reader, in two episodes. She also has appeared in shows like 21 Jump Street, The Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1, Psych and The Good Wife. 

Konoval previously played Maurice in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. 


Terry Notary as Rocket

Terry Notary attends a press conference for the film ‘The Square’ at the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 20, 2017.

Starring as Rocket, one of Caesar’s friends and his second-in-command, is Terry Notary. Notary also portrayed the character in Rise and Dawn.

Notary has a background in stunt work, as he was a stunt performer on films like How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), X2, Superman Returns, The Incredible Hulk, and Avatar. He also did stunt work for Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes remake.

Notary previously provided some motion capture work for Avatar, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes was the first movie where he was credited as playing a major character. He went on to provide motion capture work for King Kong in Kong: Skull Island, and he will play one of Thanos’ henchmen in Avengers: Infinity War. 


Ty Olsson as Red

GettyTy Olsson of “Men In Trees” speaks during the 2007 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour for ABC held at the Beverly Hilton hotel on July 26, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California.

Starring as Red, a new character to the series, is Ty Olsson.

Ty Olsson is known primarily for his voice acting work on the PBS television series Dragon Tales; he provided the voice of Ord, one of the dragons. In addition, he has had small roles on live action movies like X2 and Godzilla, and he had a recurring role on the WB series Supernatural. 

Although Red is a newcomer, Ty Olsson is not; he was previously in Rise of the Planet of the Apes playing a human character: Chief John Hamil, a member of the San Francisco Police Department who participants in the final Golden Gate Bridge showdown.


Sara Canning as Lake

GettySara Canning attends the “Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events” Screening at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on January 11, 2017 in New York City.

Sarah Canning plays Lake, a chimpanzee who is a part of Caesar’s tribe.

Canning is primarily known for starring in The Vampire Diaries as Jenna SommersElena and Jeremy Gilbert’s aunt. She has had small roles in a variety of other TV shows like Hell on Wheels and Supernatural. 

Most recently, you may have seen Canning in Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. She plays Jacquelyn Seleszyka, Mr. Poe’s assistant. This is a character that was invented for the TV show. Canning was not in any of the previous Planet of the Apes films.


Max Lloyd-Jones as Blue Eyes

GettyMax Lloyd-Jones attends “War for the Planet Of The Apes” premiere at SVA Theater on July 10, 2017 in New York City.

The actor behind Blue Eyes, Ceasar’s son, is Max Lloyd-Jones.

Lloyd-Jones’ first role was in The Sandlot 2, where he played David Durango. He subsequently had small roles in television shows like Supernatural, Teen Wolf, iZombie, Scream: The TV Series, and Once Upon a Time. 

In the ABC Family series Switched at Birth, Lloyd-Jones starred as Noah in eight episodes.

Blue Eyes was a character that was in the previous film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but in that movie, he was played by Nick Thurston. Max Lloyd-Jones replaces Thurston for War for the Planet of the Apes. 


Devyn Dalton as Cornelius

Devyn Dalton and Andy Serkis arrive at the premiere of 20th Century Fox’s “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes” held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on July 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

Starring as Cornelius, Caesar’s youngest son, is Devyn Dalton.

Devyn Dalton has experience working primarily as a stunt performer, not an actor. She did stunt work on films like White House Down, Godzilla (2014), Poltergeist (2015), and The BFG, as well as on shows like Once Upon a Time, Fringe, Arrow, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. 

Devyn Dalton was previously in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, although in that movie she played Cornelia, the character who would later become Caesar’s wife and the mother of Cornelius.