Freya Allan Reveals “Pretending to Be a Dog” in Childhood Prepared Her for Planet of the Apes

    Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes star Freya Allan explains pulling off her pivotal and difficult human role in the film – and wy sone childhood oddity helped out.

    MAJOR SPOILERS For Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes in this ARTICLE and VIDEO! 

    Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes had some “wonderful days” at the box office during its opening weekend – and one of the early breakout stars of the film is Freya Allan, who has one of the most dynamic roles in the film as “Nova.” Nova is the lead human character – a girl that ape leads Noa (Owen Teague) and Raka (Peter Macon) take under their wing as they journey to save Noa’s tribe from the imperial hand of Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand). 

    Of course, the biggest twist in Kingdom is that “Nova” is actually “Mae,” an elite-trained operative from a settlement of militarized humans who have retained their intelligence and are rebuilding the technological infrastructure of Earth. Mae’s mission ends with that militant camp of humans reactivating satellite communications so that isolated pockets of humans can organize and regroup. 

    During the press tour for Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, Freya Allan revealed an interesting source of inspiration for how to play her role as “Nova” in the film: childhood games of pretending to be a dog. While that may at first seem like a reference to playing one of the Proto-Humans featured in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, it’s a much deeper psychological roadmap, on how to pull off a crucial deception. 

    (Photo: 20th Century Studios)

    “I think the main thing I lent on was almost like this deer in headlights to the way she looks at the apes and looks at things. The physicality being quite kind of like small, and like a wood loose… and then she comes out of that,” Allan said, explaining Mae’s progression in the film. “You know, the feral humans had a kind of specific design of running, and you can very much see that she’s still running like a human runs – there’s like little Easter eggs where you go ‘Okay wait. Something’s off there, she’s not matching up to them.’ So it was about striking a balance, like that.” 

    Allan found that pulling off the Nova/Mae turn in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes took her back to a very specific childhood place: 

    “It was scarily like close to what I was like as a child. I spent tons of time out in the woods just pretending to be a dog. So uh basically just tapping back into that. [Laughter]”

    Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is now playing in theaters. 

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