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The Beginning to the Sequel and More…with Jocko Sims

Jocko Sims
Lately there has been an emphasis of remakes and sequels to some of Hollywood’s classic films. The recently released, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” is the direct sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The original 1968 film Planet of the Apes was the first in a series of five films made between 1968 and 1973. Recently we had the chance to chop it up with actor Jocko Sims, opposite Gary Oldman in the 2014 return of the Planet franchise Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In route to Universal Studios for a talk show appearance, Jocko Sims was very conversational and in tune to our conversation.

Cataanda J: Although you weren’t even born yet, were you a fan of the original Planet of the Apes circa 1968?

Jocko Sims: I was not born. My dad was a big fan of those cool series back then and he loved it! That’s all he used to talk about. I saw some clips of it when I was younger. When I saw the 2006 version by Tim Burton with Mark Wahlberg, I loved that one. Then when they rebooted it with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I thought it was such an amazing idea and interesting concept to show the inception of how all that began. I showed that clip to my dad, he
loved it and it never occurred to me that I could possibly be in the sequel. When the sequel came up and I auditioned for it, I was hoping to get it. I didn’t tell my dad about it and I got the part so he’s over the moon. He’s the main one out of my family who’s the biggest Planet of the Apes fan, so he’s loving this a lot and I’m a newer generation fan as well. I’ve gotta tell you, the trailer for this movie looks amazing, and I just can’t wait to see it as a fan, let alone the fact that I’m a part of it.

 I thought it was such an amazing idea and interesting concept to show the inception of how all that began.

Cataanda J: So your dad is a very proud guy especially since you are a part of
one of his favorite movies/shows.

Jocko: Absolutely, absolutely! Without a doubt.

Cataanda J: For this particular role, did you have to do any special research of
anything in particular to get into character to prepare for the role?

Jocko: My character’s name is Warner and I am one of the last surviving humans, along with actor Gary Oldman, in this sort of colony where we built a safe haven for the humans. My job is to essentially reach out and try to contact other humans via radio that I basically built. The only preparation I had to do was to grow out my beard because during that time it takes place ­a little bit in the future and it’s a post apocalyptic leading world­ there’s no electricity. So the idea that we couldn’t use electric shavers or even bathe and things that we take for granted become sort of on
a barter system. We couldn’t shave so basically the only thing I had to do was to grow out any facial hair.

Cataanda J: Now I think that’s really cool because that’s definitely my lane. I’m a makeup artist and hairstylist as well and I know sometimes guys can be challenged by the ability to grow facial hair. Sometimes the makeup artist has to create a beard for them so you are fortunate to be able to grow out your own.

Jocko: Oh yeah, it’s not that much. I wish I could grow a full beard. Mine really grows in patches. (Laughing) You know it was cool. It was fun to see that much patchy hair on my face, I hadn’t seen that before.

Cataanda J: So that was kind of like a transformation for you?

Jocko: Yeah, oh yeah!

Cataanda J: Now a days, sequels are being made to old classics and a lot of times it doesn’t relate with how the original started. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a sequel, so does it actually follow the
series in comparison to the original 1968 version to 2011 to now,
the 2014 version?

Jocko: Sure, there is some confusion out there as to where this kind of falls in line. When I tell people I’m in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, they go “oh cool, I like the one with Mark Wahlberg”, and they think it’s the only sequel but actually they’ve done three installments of this. They did it back in the day with Charlton Heston, the first one, and then they rebooted it in 2006 with Tim Burton. They then rebooted it again in 2011, so 2011 can be considered the first movie and that was the one with James Franco. For all the fans out there if you want to get caught up on this new amazing series, by far I feel like this is the best classicto a main classic. The way that Matt Reeves­ the director has taken over for this sequel and I think he’ll be at the helm of the next sequel as a matter of fact, it’s just going to be mind blowing, it’s going to blow people’s minds away. As I was saying, the first  one is Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was basically centeredaround the main ape and his name was Caesar. He was raised by James Franco, and this one takes place 10­15 years after that. Caesar is now sort of the leader of the apes at that point. A lot is happening. They’ve grown, they’ve become smarter, but the humans are dying off because the same virus that’s spreading and making the apes smarter actually kills humans. So our population is dissipating because of this virus, while the apes are growing smarter and overpopulating. Before you know it they’ll just be dominating the area. People have to see the sequel because it’s amazing. I saw a lot of footage that’s incredible; but in order to understand the sequel you have to get to know the characters and the main apes. In order to do that, you gotta see Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This movie could definitely stand alone, and it is the direct sequel to the 2011 version with a lot of the same characters, so after awhile you’ll definitely partake.

Cataanda J: Awesome! Thank you for the insightful prelude into the new adventures. There’s a reason you dissect the series from the beginning so passionately, from the actors point of view as well as scratching the surface from a director’s point of view. For those who may not know, I can’t help but share that you are not only a great actor, but you are talented in many other areas of entertainment, including directing. Who inspires you as an actor
and director?

“When I saw Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight when he played the Joker, that was for me one of the most incredible performances that I’ve seen.”

Jocko: I never really had a lot of people that I looked up to as far as acting, but I have to admit, I love watching what Denzel Washington does in Training Day and how he brings all these different real intricacies to his character. I remember watching it and I think at the time I saw Training Day, I can’t be sure, but I might not have planned to even be an actor at that time…I can’t remember what year it came out. However, I remember watching it and walking away from that saying, “I felt he was so transformed and so in character that it was a little bit distracting
from the story to me…like he was that good! He was beyond great. It was kind of like he was too good to the point where I am watching his acting and that was the first time that had happened for me. The same thing happened to me when I saw Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight when he played the Joker, that was for me one of the most incredible performances that I’ve seen too. So I like actors who dig all the way in and they completely lose themselves on screen. As far as directors, I’ve always liked dark stuff like Tim Burton. Growing up, I used to love his movies, the Batman movies and Beetle Juice, which had a dark but comedic side to it and I like that sort of element;
although I haven’t done anything yet to bring that in.

Cataanda J: You mentioned Denzel’s character in Training Day and how believable he was. Have there been any roles that have really challenged you to dig deep in order to really get into character?

Jocko: I have to answer that in two parts. In theater, you’re more able to dig deep and tap into a character and stay in that character at least for an hour, if not three hours at a time. You don’t have to come in and out of character and it’s easier to do that. You have a greater opportunity to be all these different characters you can possibly play. I played a character once in a play called “A Lesson Before Dying”. I was in college at UCLA; the play was about this kid who was wrongly accused of committing a murder.He was between 16­19 years old, and spoke with a southern accent. This was my chance to really dig in and I never felt so good as an actor. The reason I mentioned theater vs. film is because it is very different, and again, which is why I thought of Denzel. Now that I’m doing film and television, it’s amazing that take after take after take, and in between takes, you’re breaking character as you’re discussing with the directors and the writers about what’s going on. You position yourself to step in gear for this light and do this and that and still have to be able to consistently play the character and not being distracted by all the things that are going on around you. That’s a lot more difficult and also it’s harder to come by roles like that, which are available to you so you can dig in. A lot of us are fortunate enough to have that opportunity so with all that being said, I have that right now in the character I’m playing on Masters of Sex on Showtime. I’m doing that show concurrently with the Last Ship on TNT. I’ve been sworn to secrecy and can’t really talk about the details of the character, but I come in and I have a voice in the civil rights movement as it takes place in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and that is all I can say about that character. Again it’s someone who’s not me, he talks a little bit differently than I do and it’s just a fun opportunity and another role where I can dig in deep. So far, I’ve done like four episodes and we have like three left. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the whole art of where we go into character and what I can bring to the show so this may be that moment for me thus far in film and TV.

 In theater, you’re more able to dig deep and tap into a character and stay in that character at least for an hour, if not three hours at a time.

Cataanda J: That’s exciting. You have a lot of great television projects running concurrently, plus a sequel to a classic feature film. What does Jocko Sims do for fun in his down time?

Jocko: I’m a big fan of theme parks and roller coasters specifically.

Cataanda J: So you’re the adventurous type guy?

Jocko: I wouldn’t even say adventurous ‘cause I’m not jumping out no plane, don’t tie nothing to my feet and throw me off a cliff, I’m not doing any of that, but I like roller coasters. I really do enjoy it. It seems a little safer and that’s as about as wild as I’ll get on the adventurous side. It’s been a while since I’ve done it, but as a grown man, I get season passes to Six Flags and just go with a lot of friends as many times as we can throughout the summer and have a good time.

Cataanda J: Well I know you just arrived at the studio for you talk show appearance, but I just have one final question. For all of us watching Jocko Sims, your fans and your family and friends, what can we expect to see from Jocko in the future?

Jocko: I’m currently writing a project. It’s a comedy about a hip­hop group trying to make it in the music business and they write this song based on their experiences and relationships with girls. They’re single guys, they’re basically jerks like most guys are. Its a little bit of the music version of Entourage meets the male version of Girls. That’s what I’m really looking forward to putting out. I’m writing, directing, and producing…..

Cataanda J: You are definitely a busy guy but that’s what talent and brainsgets you. We certainly want to thank you for taking the time out to speak with us. We’re looking forward to seeing you on July
11th in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and we wish you
continued success…

Jocko: Thank you so much, it was great talking to you.

 

Written by Cataanda J:

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