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'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Actor Kirk Acevedo Talks Humans vs Apes, Sharing a Set with Acting Idol Gary Oldman

First Posted: Jul 15, 2014 12:51 PM EDT
Kirk Acevedo in "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"

Photo : David James/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

When ALMA Award-winning actor Kirk Acevedo, who is of Puerto Rican and Chinese descent, got the acting gig as Carver in the action-packed thriller "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," he pondered what he would do if he were actually put in the same scenario as the film, where "a growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier."

The relationship between man and ape is a complicated one. While there are some parallels between the two species, when it comes to territory both want to seek world domination. 

"My character is the resident mechanic, electrician. ... He's skittish. They need Carver to help get the fuel source up and running at the dam, where he used to work before the Simian Flu came," Acevedo told Latin Post. How would Acevedo react? "You never know who is calm and cool unless you are in the situation. ... I think I would be calm and cool and be able to handle myself —better than my character, I'll tell you that much!"

The film, which hit theaters July 11, also stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Judy Greer, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Enrique Murciano. Eighty-five percent of the film was shot outside and on-location in the forests of Vancouver and in New Orleans.

"We were fighting against the elements for the first two weeks, then we moved to New Orleans and it got better," Acevedo said. "The cast was great. We all got to know each other very well — they are great people."

"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," Australian actor Jason Clarke said about filming in a lush rainforest in British Columbia.

"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."

While on set, Acevedo had the chance to spend six solid hours alongside one of his acting idols, Gary Oldman ("Batman," "Harry Potter," "The Contender"), whom he considers to be one of his favorite actors of all time.

"Gary — I mean listen, Gary is the man! Arguably, he would be in my top three — Daniel Day Lewis, Gary Oldman and Eddy Harris, you can put them in whatever order you want," he said. "One of my favorite days was sitting in the car with Gary and talking about our favorite films for six hours, and that to me was very, very cool."

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" has opened to glowing reviews, proving that the over four-decade-old "Planet of the Apes" franchise continues to resonate with audiences domestically and internationally.

"'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' "brought in an estimated $73 million domestic debut this weekend, Yahoo! Movies reported. "Overseas, the film brought in $31.1 million from 26 markets, most of them smaller territories with the exception of Australia and South Korea."

"It's one of those rare times when critics and audiences agree and the confluence created a perfect storm for a phenomenal opening," said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox, according to Yahoo! Movies. "A lot of the movies over the last couple of weeks have been received on the tepid side, shall we say, so the market was ripe for a high quality, visually stunning film."

'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' rules box office with $73 million weekend

- Variety (@Variety) July 13, 2014

"From the beginning I have seen all of them since I was little, especially the first three — they are all brilliant," Acevedo said.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Acevedo graduated from LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts and went on to gain his BFA from SUNY Purchase School of Acting (Purchase College). He then founded a theater company called The Rorschach Group.

"It's [acting] something that I just wanted to do," he said.

He made a guest appearance on TV shows like "New York Undercover," "Law & Order, "NYPD Blue," "24" and "As The World Turns." Acevedo also landed the role of Joseph Toye on Steven Spielberg's HBO series, "Band of Brothers." He is best known for role as Alvarez, "a morose and violent prisoner struggling for redemption," on HBO's "notoriously gritty 'Oz.'" He was nominated for a Cable Ace award and an ALMA award for his work on "Oz," but it was Acevedo's strong role as Pvt. Tella in "The Thin Red Line" that won him an ALMA.

Check out the official trailer for "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes."

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