Steve Zahn to Bring the Comedy and/or Drama to 'War for the Planet of the Apes'

Steve Zahn to Bring the Comedy and/or Drama to 'War for the Planet of the Apes'

Oct 13, 2015

A Perfect Getaway

The ever-likable and versatile actor Steve Zahn (above in A Perfect Getaway) has joined the cast of War for the Planet of the Apes. Zahn will play a new ape character, according to Deadline, though no details have been revealed.

The secrecy is part and parcel of the project, which has been written by Matt Reeves and Mark Bomback, and will be directed by Reeves, who guided the previous installment, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, to great success, including box office returns that exceeded $700 million worldwide. Dawn left uncertain the future of humanity, as men battled with apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis), with greater warfare looming in the days ahead.

Since 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the relaunch of the series has gained momentum, though it makes some wonder if it truly matters which actors portray the individual apes. After all, actors often become unrecognizable when covered in layers of makeup, whether the effect is achieved solely through makeup or through a combination of makeup, costuming, and motion-capture performances.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes / Andy Serkis

It's an issue that's already been debated endlessly, but a quick look at the two most recent Planet of the Apes movies illustrates the benefits of high-quality actors. Andy Serkis, of course, has demonstrated his talent in a variety of motion-capture roles (Lord of the Rings, King Kong) but his performances in the rebooted Apes movies as Caesar are high points of his career, showing the full range of his dramatic abilities.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was also boosted tremendously by the presence of Toby Kebbell as Koba, who becomes a powerful rival to Caesar. The flip side is that Judy Greer, for example, barely gained any notice as Caesar's wife Cornelia. But that's probably due more to the nature of the character, who is sickly and has little opportunity to be an active player in the drama that unfolds.

In the next movie, we don't know whether Zahn will be playing a fully-realized dramatic character or more of a comic sidekick. He's fully capable of bringing either type of role to life, though, and has demonstrated his expertise in dozens of movies and television shows. We can't wait to see what type of ape Zahn will be portraying when War for the Planet of the Apes smashes into theater on July 14, 2017.

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