WETA Digital talks ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’

By ANIMATION XPRES... | 15 April, 2011 - 15:27

In a recent special live stream event for 20th Century Fox’s upcoming feature ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, WETA the OSCAR Winning VFX house provided a behind the scenes look at the magic rendering, for the first time in the film series, a photo real ape. From WETA’s headquarters in Wellington, New Zealand, WETA’s Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon gave viewers an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at their work on the film, a reality-based cautionary tale that blends science fiction and science-fact.

‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is a reality-based cautionary tale that blends science fiction and science fact, which depicts how mankind’s hubris leads to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy. WETA Digital – employing certain of the groundbreaking technologies developed for “Avatar” – will render, for the first time ever in the film series, photo-realistic apes rather than costumed actors.

WETA’s work on ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ presented very different challenges and opportunities.  In addition to creating a CG character that gives a performance of unprecedented emotion and intelligence, WETA is applying some of the technology it developed for Avatar to bring to life a real world.

Letteri, a five-time Oscar winner, and Lemmon provided a look into WETA’s process, and explained how working on a Planet of the Apes film has long been the “holy grail” of visual effects wizardry – and a driving force behind their own careers.  In addition, visitors to the livestream event heard from other ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ filmmakers, including director Rupert Wyatt, and gota behind-the-scenes look at the work of actor Andy Serkis, whose nuanced performance is playing a key role in rendering of Caesar, the film’s principal ape character.