While the phrase ‘sequel of a reboot’ is often cause for concern, critics and audiences agree that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a towering achievement. A vital member of the film’s cast is Kodi Smit-McPhee, who is already somewhat of a critical darling himself after his early turns in The Road and Let Me In, the latter opposite Chloe Grace Moretz (and directed by Apes director Matt Reeves).
In Dawn, he plays Alexander, son of the de facto hero of the human group, Malcolm (Jason Clarke). When they head north of post-apocalyptic San Francisco in search of a power source, they run head on into the Apes, who have built a flourishing community in the woods. While the ape leader Caesar (the brilliant Andy Serkis) squares off against the humans, sensitive Alexander establishes a hesitant rapport with an orangutan, who becomes fascinated with his reading material.
That sensitivity and intelligence is evident when speaking to the 18-year-old actor, who comes from an acting family in Australia. “My dad taught me everything I knew about acting when I was 8,” Kodi says. “He has been an actor since as far back as I can remember.”
Kodi Smit-McPheeHe has been guided well by those around him, selecting quality work over quantity and not bending to mainstream expectations. “I try to go at it with the same idea: always to do quality jobs that stick with me for the rest of my life,” Kodi shares. “…and that stick audiences.”
[Dawn of the Planet of the Apes](movie:322904) was one of those projects. Upon seeing the finished piece, Kodi says he was “absolutely blown away. Working on a scale project like this, a lot of it is imagination,” he shares about the production process, but when he saw the film in the theater, he “did not know how realistic the apes were going to get, how much of a leap [the filmmakers made] since the last movie – the textures, movement, everything is beginning to be perfected literally in front of our eyes.”
Looking ahead, Kodi is excited to continue acting, but also appreciates other aspects of the filmmaking and creative processes. “I’ve always loved photography and writing and music and dancing,” he shares, specifying his “love for expression itself. It’s a place where you can be so free.”