07.05.11

10 Favorite Movie Monkey Scenes

Crystal the Monkey is one of Hollywood's biggest animal stars, having appeared in more than 20 films, including as a drug-dealing, chain-smoking menace in "The Hangover: Part II," and a troublemaking monkey voiced by Adam Sandler in "The Zookeeper," in theaters Friday. In a Daily Beast exclusive, Crystal the Monkey breaks down her favorite movie monkey scenes.

As you’ll probably notice, most of the films on this list are from my own body of work. I’m not conceited. There just aren’t a lot of movies out there with monkeys in them. You can’t really count pictures like King Kong, Mighty Joe Young. or Planet of the Apes because, as the name of the last one implies—they are about apes, not monkeys. There’s a big difference. Besides, those relied entirely on computer-generated imagery, animatronics, or humans in costumes. These are the real deal:

1) Zookeeper: What is more endearing than a talking monkey? I especially like the scenes where this crafty simian (humbly speaking, that’s me) sets up the nightly animal meetings by turning on the lights and unlocking the gates to some of the other enclosures. And, the monkey's method for escaping from his own exhibit is quite impressive.

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2) Night at the Museum: I really enjoy how Dexter (played by me) torments Larry (played by Ben Stiller) throughout this film. I feel my goal was to temper Larry’s mettle a bit to prepare him for the trials of his new job. Although the scene where I open the window is rather complex, my favorite is the slap fight between me and my nemesis.

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3) Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: In this sequel, I get the opportunity to play both characters, Dexter and Able. I always envied Hayley Mills for her work in The Parent Trap. Talk about double duty. My favorite scene is where the two monkeys beat up one of Capone’s gangsters while being coached by an Einstein bobble-head doll.

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4) Dr. Dolittle: This film was a huge success and my first big role. I was very excited to work with Eddie Murphy. The scene I enjoyed the best was where he tests my sobriety by having me walk a straight line and touch my nose. Once again, I have a speaking part that adds to the comedy.

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5) George of the Jungle: This was my film debut! I spent two weeks in Hawaii and was able to work with some of my primate pals, Binx (the other capuchin), Jethro (the orangutan), and Tonka (the chimp). Incidentally, there is a beautiful shot of me in the opening scene of the movie, but don’t blink or you might miss it.

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6) The Hangover: Part II This one isn’t for kids, but was perfect for me to display my acting range. I did most of my own stunts and got the chance to travel to Bangkok, Thailand. My favorite scene is where I’m used by some bad men to deal drugs for them. I certainly don’t condone the use or sale of drugs (or smoking, for that matter); I just like the complexity of the action and the surveillance style of the cinematography.

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7) The Pirates of the Caribbean... movies: I’m so jealous of that monkey. How cool would it be to spend all that time in the Bahamas with Johnny Depp? I love pirate movies and these are iconic. I especially love the scene in …At World’s End where the monkey lights the firework rocket.

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8) Monkey Trouble: This is another role I wish I could’ve had, but it was about three years before I got into the business. I love the mischief and the scope of what this monkey can do. I especially enjoy the scene where he uses a kite as a hang-glider.

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9) Bruce Almighty: The monkey climbing out of the bad guy’s butt is hilarious—painful, but hilarious!

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10) Monkey Shines: George A. Romero breaks his string of zombie movies with a Fatal Attraction-type thriller about a psychopathic, murderous monkey named Ella. I can really appreciate a good horror film. I’d like to add that I’m a huge “Simpsons” fan. My favorite episode is the one where Homer gets a helper monkey named Mojo. I go bananas every time I see it.

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