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Chimpanzees in Entertainment

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The Wolf of Wall Street

2013
The Wolf of Wall Street

Acclaimed director Martin Scorsese's November 2013 film "The Wolf of Wall Street" uses a young chimpanzee dressed in clothing and roller skates to "act" alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays a crooked banker in the 1990's.


Rise of the Zombies

2012
Rise of the Zombies

This American zombie horror film, which premiered on the Syfy Network in 2012, uses a chimpanzee "actor" to play the roll of Courtney, a laboratory chimp. In the film, Courtney is issued a vaccine prototype by Dr. Arnold (actor French Stewart), who believes he has discovered a cure for the infection which turns humans into violent zombies.


Space Chimps

2008
Space Chimps

The movie featured animated chimpanzees, but the film was promoted at events with real chimpanzees (right) including Mikey and Louis.  These two chimpanzees were privately owned but have since been moved into a group at Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas.


Speed Racer

2008
Speed Racer

According to the website of the American Humane Association (AHA) which monitors the use of animals in films and television, two chimpanzees ("actors" named Kedzie and Willie, aged 2 and 3), were used interchangeably to portray the one character, Chim Chim.  They report that one of the chimpanzee "actors" bit the arm of a young boy actor, and was subsequently removed from the set.  Then, towards the end of the filming, the trainer struck the chimpanzee "actor," a violation of AHA's guidelines for the treatment of animals  Because of this event, AHA gave the movie an "unacceptable" rating rather than the ubiquitous "no animals were harmed in the making of this movie", one of only a few movies ever to garner this rating.

Willie, along with nine other chimpanzee "actors", has been retired from the entertainment industry and currently lives at the Houston Zoo.


Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh

2008
Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh

Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh, is a Nikelodeon original movie based on the television sitcom, Drake and Josh. In the film, Drake and Josh get arrested and sent to court; however, Judge Newman tells them they will not be sent to jail if Drake fufills his "Christmas promise" to a young girl named Mary Alice. However, their attempts are foiled by Officer Gilbert who despises the holiday season.

Officer Gilbert adored chimpanzees as a child; however, on his eighth Christmas, his present, a pet chimpanzee, attacked him. Drake and Josh decides to send Officer Gilbert a sweet, baby chimpanzee, named Cookie, in hopes of reviving his holiday spirit. He instantly falls in love with Cookie and decides to keep Drake and Josh out of jail.


Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

2007
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is a 2007 comedy film written and directed by Judd Apatow and starring John C. Reilly.

Upon acheiving fame, Dewey Cox obtains a companion chimpanzee named Miles, played by a young chimpanzee "actor" named Willie.

Willie, along with nine other chimpanzee "actors", has been retired from the entertainment industry and currently lives at the Houston Zoo.


Evan Almighty

2007
Evan Almighty

This 2007 American religious comedy stars Steve Carell as a congressmen that is contacted by God to build an ark. This film featured many live exotic animals including chimpanzees interacting with human actors.

Also starring Morgan Freeman and Lauren Graham.


The Shaggy Dog

2006
The Shaggy Dog

The Shaggy Dog is a 2006 remake of the 1959 film of the same name.  In this version, a crazed geneticist, played by Robert Downey, Jr., is creating animal mutations in a search for immortality.  One of these is a chimpanzee with hyperintelligence, played by a young chimpanzee "actor".


Grandma's Boy

2006
Grandma's Boy

Grandma's Boy is a 2006 comedy film directed by Nicholaus Goossen and starring Allen Covert and Doris Roberts.

Alex (played by Covert), a 35-year-old video game tester, is kicked out of his apartment and has to move in with his grandma and her two old lady roommates. One scene features a chimpanzee dressed in human clothing playing video games with Alex and his friend.


The Reel Monkey

2006
The Reel Monkey

The Reel Monkey is a short film written and directed by Rosemary Lambert. It is set in Africa and features a documentary filmmaker trying to get good footage of two chimpanzees. When the chimpanzees remain inactive, the filmmaker gets frustrated and tries to relax with a Coca-Cola. When he opens the bottle he notices that the chimpanzees perk up and subsequently uses the Coca-Cola as bait to get the chimpanzees to perform for the camera. He soon loses control of the situation when the chimpanzees steal the bottle from him. The last part of the film shows the filmmaker sitting next to one chimpanzee while the other is operating the camera.

Although this film purported to show chimpanzees in the wild, it actually used chimpanzee "actors."