Collecting Planet of the Apes

This week’s Planet of the Fans interview features filmmaker, makeup artist, and avid Planet of the Apes collector Andrew Jones. Moved by the timeless make-up and practical effects of the original 1968 film, Andrew brings his love of classic movies to his own filmmaking career—and Halloween costumes that leave the neighborhood going absolutely ape!

Find out more about Andrew and his trove of Apes treasures in our interview below!

What is your favorite Apes movie and why does it stand out to you? On the same note, who is your favorite Apes character and why?

My favorite Apes film was the original 1968 film. Like many of my generation, it made me want to learn special effects makeup. I was obsessed. I remember as a kid lumping pottery clay on my brother’s face to try to recreate the makeup. I constantly drew pictures of apes from the movie and TV show in the 70’s. I had all the toys. It was just a magical film for me because the makeup was so fascinating, and the performances were so good that you didn’t even question whether or not it was “realistic” or not… the world was real, period.

Cornelius was probably my favorite, but I’ve always been partial to the gorillas… in fact I own two original gorilla costumes because they still give me that little thrill I got when I was a kid.

Describe what it was like the first time you watched an Apes movie. Did it have any lasting effects on your appreciation for movies or the sci-fi franchise?

The first glimpse of the gorillas on horseback in the original ’68 film is still one of the most powerful reveals in cinema history. They are as magnificent today as they were all those years ago. Modern VFX just doesn't hold the magic of the original films.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the franchise. How do you think these films have withstood the test of time? What is it about these films that are timeless to you?

The Apes films in the 60’s, and 70’s certainly had their moments of, say, cheesiness. And then there are those moments that were still important to the time. They spoke about social revolution, the environment, and the dangers of technology, which are issues we still care about.

Aside from the he films being timely and topical, the makeup and costume design are timeless to me. I still get a thrill when I see photos of the original apes. I recently had a chance to pick through some original artifacts – prosthetics, call sheets, and makeup notes – and I was as thrilled as I have always been. The makeup was so revolutionary and it has withstood the test of time. In fact, I find it interesting that no one can ever seem to recreate it perfectly – including myself. The hair is never quite right, the skin tones off. Everyone gets close, but can’t seem to capture it exactly, and I find that interesting. It’s a testament to the simplicity of design, and the sheer artistry and genius of the makeup artists.

What about these films inspired you to create your own Planet of the Apes works? How do you hope your works have expanded or added value to the Apes universe?

I’m a collector of Apes film artifacts, including the original molds for the prosthetics for Zira, Zaius, and Cornelius. I also have one gorilla costume, and one gorilla tunic that the horseback riders wore. I also have all the original 16mm and 35mm films that John Chambers owned—marketing stuff I imagine, and I have no idea what's on them. One day I will pay to have them transferred. Until then, it's a mystery.

I also go all out with ape makeup for Halloween, and I love it. Not only do I enjoy myself, but I also love seeing people’s reactions to it. For them, to be close to those characters and see them in person clearly has an impact. But also, as a filmmaker myself now, I draw inspiration from the movies I loved as a kid, and I have always—and will always—be inspired by the original Apes films.

What do you hope the future of the franchise entails? Unexplored parts of the Ape Planet? Lingering questions from the films? Characters you’d like to meet?

For the franchise, I’d certainly like to see a return to makeup. That is and will always be the most magical part of the movies. But, I’m old school… I always like to see a return to the roots.

Attribution: Images used in this article taken from Planet of the Apes (1968). TM & © 2018 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.