In Planet of the Apes's most self-referential moment, ape army leader General Thade visits his father's bedside, where the withering patriarch, with his last breaths, unveils a symbol of humankind's inventiveness: a firearm. Yet, since the ailing elder is played by original Apes star Charlton Heston the president of the National Rifle Association, natch it's a scene that Thade's portrayer, Tim Roth, almost was not a part of.
"It was difficult for me, because of the whole NRA thing," admits the actor. "I'm aware of [Heston's] reputation, but I've got two kids. In fact, it has taken away from his reputation as an actor, to be honest.
"Everyone is welcome to their politics, I completely agree with that," Roth adds. "But [the NRA endorses policies] that could affect my family, so I have to have an opinion about it."
As filming of the two men's scene neared, helping to smooth things over was director Tim Burton. "Tim said things that made it possible," Roth explains. "He straightened me right out."
Not that Roth was about to let personal ideologies affect his professional demeanor or trigger a verbal dress-down of his co-star. "That's inappropriate for the workplace," he states. "I'm an actor. And I'm glad [Heston] did the film because I actually liked that scene very much."What are you going to do?" Roth concludes with a laugh. "He had just come through four hours of make-up. It's a tough gig."