To bring the zoo to life for the 2011 film Zookeeper, all the animals were real, except for one: Bernie the Gorilla.
The ape, voiced by Nick Nolte, acts as Kevin James’ character’s T.G.I.Fridays-obsessed, best furry friend. Due to gorillas’ endangered status, using a real one was out of the question. So instead, the production staff “pushed the gorilla technology envelope” to build an animatronic suit, as the special-effects expert behind Bernie, Tom Woodruff Jr., explained via Movieline.com. “The face of this gorilla!” James exclaimed at a New York press conference for Zookeeper. “It’s insane what they can do with him. I’ve gotten more emotion of him than out of some other actors.” Another point for the primates.