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Pets & Their People: Movie chimps train the stars.


MEET the REAL stars of Hollywood blockbuster Planet Of The Apes - identical twin chimps Jacob and Jonah.

These two playful primates taught Helena Bonham Carter and Mark Wahlberg a thing or two about APE-ing around on set when they shared the part of Pericles in the science fiction adventure.

Their cheeky faces have appeared in films and ads around the world but this is the first time they have experienced GORILLA warfare, according to their Los Angeles trainer Michael Alexander.

Michael, 34, said: "Jacob and Jonah are very playful and enjoyed hanging out with Helena and Mark.

"But they had to learn how to climb into a space ship and give the thumbs-up as part of their training for the film.

"They end up saving the day during a fierce battle between the apes and humans."

But the five-year-old hairy heroes found life on set in California's Mojave Desert a bit hot to handle at times.

A special air conditioning unit had to be built inside their made-to-measure space suit costumes to keep them cool.

Michael said: "It was hard enough to get the chimps to wear space suits as they found them restricting but wearing the helmet was even worse."

The chimps had a key role, though...teaching the humans how to behave like them.

Helena and Mark "hung out" with Jacob and Jonah to learn how to walk, grunt, scratch and nit-pick like the animals.

But Ape School was not as easy as it looked for Helena.

She said: "I flunked. Apes are more tactile than we are so perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea if everyone went to Ape School."


PLAYING IT COOL: The dynamic duo...twins Jacob and Jonah; MIMICS: Helena and Mark
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 12, 2001
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