I recently got the chance to talk to Ryan Booth about his role in ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’. Here, Ryan talks about how the film stands out from its previous instalments and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Ryan. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ is currently in UK cinemas and has also been released worldwide.
Thank you for having me. Sorry for the delay, I was called to Ottawa for the death of my father, Gary. A sudden on-set of cancer. He fought bravely. I appreciate your patience.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It’s the prequel to the original ‘Planet Of The Apes’ film franchise. While looking for the cure for dementia and Alzheimer’s, a scientist stumbles upon a formula that makes apes super smart.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play the role of the South Side commander. An officer of the law charged with ensuring the escaped apes do not make it past the south side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I was auditioning for another show that was shooting in Vancouver. I was brought back several times and ultimately was not cast. However, the casting directors thought I might be good for this and submitted my audition for the other project to the producers. I guess they thought it was okay.
Obviously, taking into account the previous franchise – which is your favorite ‘Planet Of The Apes’ movie?
I’d have to go with this one. The apes are just so well done and you feel such a connection. I caught myself questioning whether or not I should feel this much for CGI characters. Never the less I found myself heavily invested emotionally. And it is a GREAT popcorn flick.
How would you say this film tries to stand out and be unique to it’s previous installments?
Good question. This film is a major technological achievement. It is the first time actors can physically interact with motion capture artists on the same set at the same time. Also the technology now allows for motion capture to be done in broad daylight as opposed to being done exclusively in studio. I have some experience as a motion capture actor and I can say this will turn the world on its ear… from a special effects point of view. Imagine being able to motion capture any athlete in a real game? I also want to say that this movie has a really gripping story. The relationship between Serkis and Franco is so touching. Reminds me of ‘The Fox And The Hound’ or ‘Old Yeller’. These are real emotions and it can be heart breaking.
The film stars the likes of Andy Serkis, James Franco, John Lithgow and Brian Cox – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
You know, I have to say that I didn’t work with any of them. The day I was there, it was mostly about the stunt drivers, stunt riders and the horses. These are men of utmost skill and professionalism. You would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated selection of professional stunt performers. Vancouver really has a resource in them! The crew was highly efficient. Everyone made me feel so comfortable. I did not feel like I was in a big budget monstrosity. I just got to be this guy put into remarkable situations and not worry about my safety, nor the rest of the things going on!
Let’s talk a bit about you Ryan. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
Probably my late Dad, who passed away last week. He always got so excited about going to movies. We used to talk for hours when I was a kid about what movie we saw. It got to the point where, even as a kid, I would remember the whole plot and several key points of any movie I went to, so I could tell him about it! One of my very first memories is going to see the movie ‘Star Wars’ with him. I was four. By the age of 11 I had memorized the ‘Star Wars’ saga. We lived on a farm and the garden was my responsibility. I had to weed the garden for two hours every day when I was not in school. I used to replay ‘Star Wars’ over and over in my head. That’s when I knew I had finished my two hours of gardening; when the movie was over.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Take some classes and see if you love it first. You will need to love it. If you do, then try to be the best you can be, at all costs. Remember there are many of us. And like athletes, the best never rest. They are always trying to get better. Do your best to improve every day. There are many reasons not to become an actor. There is a great deal of rejection. There is very little explanation. If you love the art of acting, that love can see you through some pretty tough times. Indeed it is not for everyone.
If you could have a dinner with three historical guests, living or dead – who would they be and why?
- Thomas Jefferson – founding father of American confederation. I once heard he got into a gun fight with another founding father regarding the words “persuit of happiness”. He felt so strongly about those words, he was willing to die to have them put into the constitution. I’d want to find out if that story is true, then, find out what makes a man so driven.
- William Shakespeare – I would love to have a beer with this guy and see what he does in real life. I have a feeling he was pretty good with the pen but flailed clumsily in practice. I’d ask him what the heck he meant about a couple of things. Then I’d have a chat with some directors I’ve worked with.
- Jackie Robison – to talk to someone who was so instrumental in the evolution of baseball and at the same time the reflection on human rights. As a side note I’ve always loved baseball due to how it reflects upon real life. The same way acting does. Baseball is probably a little fairer though than real life.
We should point out that you’ve also been in six episodes of ‘Stargate: Universe’ – what was it like to work on that show? Are you shocked that its been cancelled?
No not shocked. Universe is the 3rd installment of the ‘Stargate’ series. All were epically successful. I think that makes it harder for everyone. Living up to previous incarnations presents tough shoes to fill. And the expenses keep building up. It must be tough to make quality and maintain the integrity of the show when it is becoming more and more expensive to create. Maybe they could have cut corners and continued for another year but I’d rather it just ended as it was…a pretty awesome show! For my part, it was one of the best experiences I could ever have had. I made life-long friends and got to get better at what I love the most. I am forever indebted to Rob Cooper for giving me the chance to play Marsden. Rob is a really great man who has a specific vision of what a show can be. He has remarkably high standards. If everyone in sci-fi had that ability to be disciplined, there wouldn’t be the kind of crap out there that we sometimes have to deal with as actors.
You’ve had a number of roles in a lot of different TV series and films – which has been your TV show to guest star on and who has been your favourite actor to work with?
I guess that’s tough because there’s been so many great ones! The thing I really can’t stress enough is what a great environment Vancouver is to work in. The overall talent and professionalism here far supercedes anywhere else I have worked. I remember being really shocked at how great an actor Jason Priestly is! I have developed on-set crushes on Erin Karpluk too. I have been present when greatness happens. I have a bunch of nerd friends on a baseball message board who’ve managed to find an old episode of ‘Queer As Folk’ that I was in. They won’t let me forget it, and call it my foray into gay porn! Also I got to shake hands with and share the screen with some of the best actors I have ever seen. So really there isn’t any one person or show that stands out.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
I’m kind of hoping someone will see this and give me a job, haha. Really, I just try to put together the best work I can. Day in and day out. What I book, I book and that is not always in my control (as with ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’). If that work is auditioning, so be it. Even auditioning is a chance to act! And I love it.
Thanks for the interview!