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Woody Harrelson: Apes movie’s similarity to Trump is coincidence

The actor plays a ruthless colonel who wants to build a wall against refugees in his new film.

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Woody Harrelson (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Woody Harrelson (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Woody Harrelson (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Woody Harrelson has said the War For The Planet Of The Apes plot’s startling similarities to the Trump administration are pure coincidence.

The actor plays a morally questionable colonel intent on persecuting a group of refugee apes by building a wall in the film, but insisted that work on the movie had already begun before real life started to reflect the storyline.

He told ShortList: “Well, there are definitely parallels.

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Woody Harrelson says the film’s real-life similarities were not planned (Joel Ryan/PA)

Woody Harrelson says the film’s real-life similarities were not planned (Joel Ryan/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Woody Harrelson says the film’s real-life similarities were not planned (Joel Ryan/PA)

“None of it’s deliberate, though – we were shooting a year ago, and there wasn’t the slightest idea that Trump would actually become president, so it was before his ‘wall’ became this whole thing.

“He was contending for the job back then – but, man, who would have thought, right?”

Talking about his character, he added: “He’s a guy who thinks he’s doing the right thing, but has done some terrible stuff along the way.

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Woody Harrelson is the ShortList cover star (Matt Holyoak/ShortList/PA)

Woody Harrelson is the ShortList cover star (Matt Holyoak/ShortList/PA)

Woody Harrelson is the ShortList cover star (Matt Holyoak/ShortList/PA)

“Even the most evil guy, like, even Donald Trump thinks he’s being a great guy, you know?”

The actor had previously told Nylon: “I had dinner with Trump one time, Forbes thing.

“I remember thinking, ‘This is the most narcissistic man I’ve ever met.’

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Woody Harrelson stars in War For The Planet Of The Apes alongside Andy Serkis (Ian West/PA)

Woody Harrelson stars in War For The Planet Of The Apes alongside Andy Serkis (Ian West/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Woody Harrelson stars in War For The Planet Of The Apes alongside Andy Serkis (Ian West/PA)

“And I literally had to excuse myself from the table in the middle of dinner, go outside, and smoke a joint just to take the edge off of being around him.

“It was a brutal thing.”

Harrelson also admitted that he missed out on starring in Dumb And Dumber thanks to winning a bet on a game of pool.

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The actor talked missing out on a Hollywood hit (Ian West/PA)

The actor talked missing out on a Hollywood hit (Ian West/PA)

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The actor talked missing out on a Hollywood hit (Ian West/PA)

The No Country For Old Men star bet on the match to try to avoid being cast in the 1994 comedy by his former roommate Peter Farrelly, not realising that it would become a huge hit.

Farrelly wrote and directed the film with his brother Bobby, signing up Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels to star in their first box office success.

Harrelson said: “It (Dumb And Dumber) was shot by one of my best buddies – my onetime roommate, in fact – Peter Farrelly, along with his brother Bobby.

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Jim Carrey and Peter Farrelly teamed up again for Dumb And Dumber To (Ian West/PA)

Jim Carrey and Peter Farrelly teamed up again for Dumb And Dumber To (Ian West/PA)

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Jim Carrey and Peter Farrelly teamed up again for Dumb And Dumber To (Ian West/PA)

“They’d had no success at that time, but really wanted me to do the movie.

“Pete’s a good pool player, so I challenged him to a game and said, ‘If I lose this game, I’ll do your movie; if I win, I’m not going to do it.’

“The game came down to the eightball – and I’ve never been so disappointed to sink an eightball in my life.

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The role went to Jeff Daniels instead (Ian West/PA)

The role went to Jeff Daniels instead (Ian West/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

The role went to Jeff Daniels instead (Ian West/PA)

“Although, I don’t know if I could’ve played that part as well as Jeff Daniels did, anyway.”

The Farrellys went on to have further commercial success with films including There’s Something About Mary, Me, Myself And Irene, and Shallow Hal, as well as the 2014 sequel Dumb And Dumber To.

:: The full interview appears in this week’s issue of ShortList, available from July 5.


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