In “Kong: Skull Island”, broadcast this Sunday evening on TF1, he plays the famous giant gorilla. Focus on the astonishing Terry Notary, who notably played in motion capture characters from “Planet of the Apes”, “Avatar” and “Avengers: Endgame”.
In the feature film Kong: Skull Island, the famous giant gorilla was created by computer but is played by a real comedian, Terry Notary, via the technique of motion capture. While the feature film is broadcast this Sunday evening on TF1, we look back on the astonishing journey of this unique artist in the world, from Avatar to The Planet of the Apes via Avengers: Endgame.
TERRY NOTARY, WHO IS IT?
Considered hyperactive during his childhood, Terry Notary worked hard in gymnastics classes. A discipline to which he continued to devote himself during his studies, and which even earned him a scholarship. After several years working for the prestigious Cirque du Soleil, as well as in various shows where his talent and know-how are valued, he ended up offering his services on film sets.
This is how on the set of Ron Howard’s Grinch in 2000, Terry Notary officiates as a “movement coach”. His job is to make sure that all the actors who play the Who, those strange individuals with festive traditions and hated by the Grinch, move the right way and perform their stunts well.
A few months later, Tim Burton allowed him to invest a universe that would very quickly become his great specialty: The Planet of the Apes. After having carried out his observation work at the Los Angeles Zoo, he animates a real “school of monkeys” alongside other artists, and thus allows future Burton actors to enter into their characters.
HAVE NOT EVER SEEN IT SOMEWHERE?
Over the years, Terry Notary multiplied the shootings and the positions of coach on many extremely popular films, such as X-Men 2, Superman Returns, Hulk, Transformers or even The Adventures of Tintin, and thus allows many actors to become monsters or animals.
Gradually, his talent for imitation and his ability to step into the skin of the characters he studies earned him to pass in front of the camera himself. He thus finds himself digitally modified by the tools of motion capture like Andy Serkis, to whom he also gives the reply in the latest version of The Planet of the Apes.
In addition to the role of Rocket in the Planet of the Apes trilogy, Notary plays several Goblins in that of The Hobbit, an Orc in Warcraft, the banshee of Jake Sully in Avatar and a teenage Groot in Avengers: Infinity War. In 2017, he returned to the world of primates, lending his features and movements to the imposing Kong of Skull Island (like … Andy Serkis in Peter Jackson’s King Kong), before showing his face uncovered for the very first time in the Palme d’Or The Square.
Recently, Terry Notary has refocused on his work behind the camera. He notably worked on Suicide Squad, on the live version of The Lion King and on the Mowgli of an Andy Serkis decidedly never far away, film on which he also officiated as a second team director.
HOW TO EMBODY A MONKEY?
While we had the chance to spend a few hours on the set of The Planet of the Apes – Supremacy in October 2015, we were able to speak with the one who is today considered to be the best in the world in the art of imitation. simian. In the middle of a Canadian forest, that is to say the natural environment of his character, in motion capture suit, Terry Notary gave us some tips on how to become a monkey.
“A lot of our exercises consisted of going outside [ndlr : en pleine nature] with the actors, to sit down for an hour and be silent “, he told us. “Not to speak. You might think it’s easy, but it’s not. To be in the present tense, to be silent, to wrap it up. To be very, very simple.”
“When you take the outer things and make it your core, you become invisible and you don’t play anymore, you are. It’s amazing.”, continues Terry Notary. “Your performance vanishes. You get lost in this thing that becomes more important than you and you stop identifying with yourself, leading you. Your performance becomes real, and that’s what makes these movies work. “
If ever these tips seem a little too abstract to you, here is a little lesson in pictures …