Nope by Jordan Peele: Is the Gordy monkey real or digital? – Cinema news

In Nope, in theaters August 10, he plays the monkey Gordy in a memorable scene. Focus on the amazing Terry Notary, who notably played in motion capture characters from Planet of the Apes, Avatar and Avengers Endgame.

In Boopthe last film event of Jordan Peelea terrifying sequence features Gordy, a monkey

taken by an outburst of uncontrolled violence


The primate was created by computer but he is played by a real actor, Terry Notaryusing the technique of motion capture.

While the feature film is currently in theaters, we look back on the astonishing journey of this unique artist in the world, fromAvatar at The Planet of the Apes Passing by Avengers: Endgame.


Considered hyperactive during his childhood, Terry Notary devotes himself to gymnastics lessons. A discipline to which he continues to devote himself during his years of study, 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 prized, he ends up offering his services on film sets.

Nope by jordan peele: is the gordy monkey real or digital? - cinema news
Film Tray

This is how on the set of the Grinch of Ron Howard in 2000, Terry Notary served 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.

Some months later, Tim Burton allows him to invest in a universe that will 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 veritable “school of monkeys” alongside other artists, and thus allows the future actors of Burton to enter into their characters.


As the years went by, Terry Notary multiplied filming and coaching positions on many extremely popular films, such as X-Men 2, Superman Returns, Hulk, transformers or The Adventures of Tintinand thus allows many actors to become monsters or animals.

Little by little, his talent for imitation and his ability to get under the skin of the characters he studies earned him the opportunity to appear in front of the camera himself.

He thus finds himself digitally modified by the tools of motion capture likeAndy Serkisto which he also gives the reply in the latest version of The Planet of the Apes.

Nope by jordan peele: is the gordy monkey real or digital? - cinema news
20th Century Fox

In addition to the role of Rocket in the Planet of the Apes trilogy, Notary embodies several Goblins in that of the Hobbitan Orc in WarcraftJake Sully’s banshee 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 the King Kong of peter jackson), 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. In particular, he worked on Suicide Squadon the live version of the lion king and on the Mowgli of an Andy Serkis definitely never far away, a film on which he also officiated as a second unit director.


While we had the chance to spend a few hours on the set of Planet of the Apes – Supremacy in october 2015, we were able to talk to the man who is now considered the best in the world in the art of simian imitation.

In the middle of a Canadian forest, the natural environment of his character, in combination of motion capture, Terry Notary gave us some advice to become a monkey.

“A good part of our exercises consisted of going outside [ndlr : en pleine nature] with the actors, to sit down for an hour and shut up”he told us.

“Not talking. You might think it’s easy, but it’s not. Be in the present, be quiet, close it. Be really, really simple.”

“When you take the external things and make them your essential, you become invisible and you no longer play, you are. It’s incredible”continues Terry Notary.

“Your performance vanishes. You lose yourself in this thing that becomes more important than you and you stop identifying with yourself, not directing yourself. Your performance becomes real, and that’s what makes these movies work. “

For example, in The Showdown, Judy Greer (Cornelia) and Toby Kebbell (Koba) had to learn, before being able to embody their simian character, to move and behave physically like chimpanzees, in order to make their alter ego ultra-realistic digital on the screen.

They were personally coached for several weeks by Terry Notary, including using crutches to simulate the length of simian arms.

Greer felt that she had to move instinctively, and not think too much about her acting to get the best part of the character.

As the monkeys are therefore embodied by real actors thanks to motion capture technology, an important system has been set up on the set to follow the movements of the actors.

35 people were assigned to each team, about 50 mo-cap cameras and eight witness cameras constantly rotated to film everything related to the monkey characters.

For Joe Letteri, Visual Effects Supervisor, “this cutting-edge technology should never take precedence over the story and the acting of the actors, but on the contrary be at their service. Being able to film the performance capture on location and work with all the other actors makes it possible to obtain a more coherent interpretation .”

If ever these tips seem a little too abstract to you, here is a little lesson in pictures…

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