When he was 8 years old, Matt Reeves started making 8-millimeter movies inspired by his love for the original “Planet of the Apes.” “I’d have my friends put on gorilla masks and run around shooting these little sci-fi films,” he recalls. “As a kid, I was captivated by these images of horses with apes on them.” Decades later, Reeves, perched on a sofa in his tidy Hollywood office, has taken his fascination with primate cinema to a whole new level as the auteur behind the 2014 performance-capture blockbuster “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and this summer’s “War for the Planet of the Apes.” Taking the reins from “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” director Rupert Wyatt, Reeves, lauded for his low-budget horror hit “Cloverfield,” initially harbored reservations about helming Twentieth Century Fox’s multimillion-dollar franchise. “I’d avoided doing tent-pole pictures because I assumed the studio would let you make some small percentage of what you want and a much larger percentage of what they want,” he says. “But if I don’t have a way into a story on a personal level, then I literally don’t know where to place the camera.” Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer and Andy Serkis star in "War for the Planet of the Apes." Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer and Andy Serkis star in "War for the Planet of the Apes." WATCH: Video Q&A’s from this season’s hottest contenders Reeves made both “Apes” sequels his way. For “Dawn,” he connected with Andy Serkis’ performance as language-acquiring ape Caesar by observing similar behavior in his then-infant son. “My little boy was just learning how to speak when I saw ‘Rise,’” Reeves recalls. “The way Andy played Caesar as this animal coming into articulation, it was the same thing with my son. When he finally spoke, it was with great urgency.” After “Dawn” raked in $711 million worldwide, Reeves and co-writer Mark Bomback scripted “War” as the ultimate test for Caesar, forced to face a murderous desire for revenge after his family’s been killed by humans. They added new nemesis the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), quirky sidekick Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) and deaf girl Nova, played by Amiah Miller, who auditioned for the part by improvising scenes with casting