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Exclusive! Chatting with 'Apes' Star Jamie Harris

Actor Jamie Harris, who co-stars with James Franco, Freida Pinto and Tom Felton in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," talked with "Extra" about making the film -- and about being part of British acting royalty as the son of the late Richard Harris.


Jamie explained he plays an "autistic ape handler" in "Apes," who befriends the incarcerated chimp Caesar. "We proclaim to treat the apes humanely, but behind the closed doors, they are cruel to them -- but not my character because he understands the abuse."

The actor admired his co-stars, including Andy Serkis, who embodies Caesar, and James Franco. "When you have someone like Andy Serkis playing Caesar, he was phenomenal. He's played the little guys, Gollum, and the big guys, King Kong. Now he's midsized."

On Franco, Harris said, "He has a really great sense of humor, a stand-up guy, which is kind of annoying because he is also ridiculously good-looking. God gifted him with bloody everything!"

Working with Tom Felton, who made his name playing Draco Malfoy in the "Harry Potter" series, also brought up memories for Jamie since it was his dad, Richard, who originated the role of Prof. Dumbledore in the first two films -- his last films, as it turned out, as Richard died of cancer in 2002 at age 72.

Jamie recalled, "I went to the premiere of the first 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' with him in New York. To be honest, I found it hard to watch Harry Potter films after dad died."

How was it growing up with such a pedigree? "It was daunting, exciting and ridiculous," Jamie admitted. "Sometimes it was repetitive. He was more of a friend to me than a dad, even though he was a great dad. Any one of my friends automatically became his. He loved real people as opposed to Hollywood people. He loved going to the local bar to have a drink with friends."

Jamie added, "I'm good friends with Lorcan O'Toole, Peter O'Toole's son. I never met Peter O'Toole until after dad had died. We had the memorial for him in London and Peter showed up at the last second. He gave this phenomenal speech -- very short, very moving. Afterwards, he gave us all huge hugs, and said something like 'Too many tears, time to move on.' And then off he went into the night."

Along with "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," Jamie will next be seen in the indie films, "Lost Revolution," with Melissa Leo, and "Two Jacks," with Danny Huston and Sienna Miller.