Andy Serkis: An ‘Apes’ Movie With Live Wild Animals Would Be ‘Absurd’ and ‘Cruel’

Actor's PETA Video Highlights How Technology Has Replaced Animal Exploitation

For Immediate Release:
August 1, 2017

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – The days of threatening exotic animals into performing on camera may soon be over—and it’s thanks to advancements in technology as well as actors like Andy Serkis, the star of War for the Planet of the Apes, King Kong, and the upcoming Jungle Book, among other films. And in a new video interview with PETA, he celebrates the computer-generated imagery and performance-mapping that make modern movies like Apes possible—and cruelty-free.

“The thought of shooting an Apes movie now with real apes is absurd,” says the Golden Globe nominee. “We’ve matured as an industry and realized that that would be intolerable and cruel.”

Serkis previously teamed up with PETA to call for a chimpanzee named Louie to be freed from a roadside zoo in Michigan, where he has been held in solitary confinement for nearly all his life, and the actor insists that his years of work portraying primates on screen has made him appreciate them all the more. “What is amazing is how similar we are,” he says. “[T]hey feel emotion, they sense. Their intelligence is incredibly close to us.”

As filmmakers have learned that animals suffer from deprivation and abuse in the entertainment industry, the use of digital effects to portray animals has increased. The Revenant, Noah, and the Apes series all used digital imagery to create wild animals, and AMC’s The Walking Dead used computer-generated imagery and animatronics to create the stunningly realistic fan-favorite character Shiva the tiger. PETA’s TV spot “98% Human”—which uses cutting-edge technology to address the plight of great apes in entertainment—won top honors in visual effects at the prestigious Cannes Lions festival, and the vast majority of top advertising agencies around the world have signed PETA’s Great Ape Humane Pledge, committing to not using live great apes in their projects.

Broadcast-quality footage is available for download here. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind