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Roth: 'I was beat up in school'

That is why the star from Planet of the Apes is so good in evil roles. In Planet of the Apes Tim Roth plays the ruthless evil ape Thade. And he did not need to search further than back to his upbringing for inspiration for the role.

By Nicole O'Neill
Translation from Swedish by Lisa

"I was beat up a lot in school," he says to Aftonbladet.

When Tim Roth was offered the part in Planet of the Apes he answered that he would play anything -- except a human.

"After all, it's Planet of the Apes," he says delightedly, when Aftonbladet meets him in New York.

But how fun was it really to play an ape?

"I actually like physical acting, so I had fun. It was like making a silent movie."

What was the biggest challenge with the part?

"My role had more animal than human sides, so I had to play it like that. Like when Thade walks around and smells threatening on everyone."

Did you ever feel stuck behind the mask and all the makeup?

"No, if anything I felt closer to traditional and old-fashioned theatrical acting. Masks were after all more common in old theatrical forms, like kabuki and commedia del art."

Common subject in Hollywood films

Hollywood likes to play on our fear for nature. In the new cartoon Cats and Dogs, cats are potrayed as evil beasts and in Planet of the Apes the ruling apes look more like bloodthirsty Romans, who torment and despise the humans.

Do you think that there is a part of all the animals that would like to take revenge on humans for all the evil we have done to them?

"I don't think animals are evil at all."

Like (director) Tim Burton, Roth is fascinated with fantasy figures and the animal sides of humans. And Burton is one of his biggest film idols.

"Mars Attacks, Ed Wood and Nightmare Before Christmas," he says without hesitation when we ask him to list his favorite Burton films.

How was it working together with Tim Burton?

"You can meet an idol and discover that he is an asshole in real life. But Tim is great. He hasn't got megalomania and doesn't look down on anyone. But that is because he was pushed down once upon a time, so he doesn't want to do it himself."

Roth has played tough guys with great success (Reservoir Dogs). Maybe it's the ice-blue eyes and the sharp toungue that does "It".

Why do you think that you are good in evil roles?

"Probably the same reason as Tim Burton. I was beat up a lot in school."

Didn't have much to say to Heston

How was it to act with Charleton Heston, who leads an organization that spreads propaganda for possession of weapons?

"I came in, he laid in a bed and was covered in rubber. I was covered in rubber. We did the scene together and that was all."

You didn't talk a lot about weapons then?

Tim Roth smiles.

"We did the scene together and then I left him alone."

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