When it came time to cast Rise of the Planet of the Apes, director Rupert Wyatt chose to use groundbreaking computer-generated imagery (CGI) to portray the apes in his film, rather than using abused ape “actors” as other much-criticized films have. “We wanted to tell our story without using live apes for any number of reasons,” he explained in his presentation at this year’s Comic-Con. “It would be a cruel irony to tell the story of the exploited and repressed and use live apes to do so.” Wyatt’s compassionate decision has earned him PETA Asia’s Proggy Award for Most Animal-Friendly Feature Film. PETA’s Proggy Awards (“Proggy” stands for “progress”) recognize animal-friendly achievements in commerce and culture.
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes reminds viewers that animals are feeling beings who deserve compassion, and its stunning use of CGI shows that there’s no need to subject apes to the stress of filmmaking,” says PETA U.S. Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “Rupert Wyatt’s methods back up PETA’s message that apes should be protected and respected.”
Great apes who are used in movies are forcibly taken from their mothers shortly after birth in a process that causes irreversible psychological harm to both the mother and her baby. The young apes are physically and psychologically abused during training to ensure that they will perform confusing, unnatural behaviors on command. By the time apes reach approximately 8 years of age, they are too strong to be safely handled and are often discarded at appalling roadside zoos or other substandard facilities, where they may languish for decades.
For more information—including interviews with Rupert Wyatt and lead motion-capture actor Andy Serkis—please visit PETA.org.