“He’s also a major inspiration for Tony Stark”: Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Villain Based His Role on Billionaire Who Inspired Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man

Kevin Durand revealed his inspiration behind Proximus Caesar in 'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.'

kingdom of the planet of the apes, robert downey jr.’s iron man


  • Kevin Durand played villainous Proximus Caesar in 'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.'
  • The actor revealed that he was partly inspired by tech billionaire, Elon Musk for his role.
  • Musk also inspired Robert Downey Jr. in 'Iron Man' and appeared in the second installment of the franchise.
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Wes Ball is adding another installment to the popular Planet of the Apes franchise starring Owen Teague in the lead alongside Lydia Peckham, and Freya Allan. Kevin Durand plays the main villain in the narrative, Proximus Caesar, and the actor recently revealed that he was partly inspired by one of the richest men in the world.

Proximus Caesar in rage
Kevin Durand’s Proximus Caesar in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Elon Musk who currently stands as the second richest man in the world after LVMH chairman, Bernard Arnault, has inspired several characters in movies and shows. Musk who is undoubtedly one of the most popular among all the billionaires, also appeared in several cinematic projects including his The Big Bang Theory appearance and of course, in Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man 2.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Villain Actor Revealed His Inspiration

Kevin Durand in an interview
Kevin Durand. Credit: HeyUGuys/YT

Kevin Durand who plays the villainous Proximus Caesar— an ape king who leads a coastal clan of apes looking for human technologies— revealed that he was partly inspired by tech billionaire Elon Musk. Undoubtedly, the billionaire has a huge social influence with an astonishing fan following on his own social media platform, X (formerly Twitter which he renamed after his acquisition of the company). In Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, as Durand revealed in his chat with Inside Total Film podcast, Musk was among the influential people he looked at while developing his character.


“That’s awesome! I mean even with the bonobo face, they compare me to Elon Musk… I get Elon Musk all the time actually, it’s very funny. People approach me with a look in their eye where I realize they are not meeting an actor that they like, it’s something bigger. But the fact that it comes through even when I’m an ape is fantastic!” Durand said in the podcast.

The actor went on to add that he was in search of charismatic speakers and Musk, according to him, happened to be one of them.

“I did look at really charismatic speakers – I watched [life coach] Tony Robbins quite a bit, Elon, Arnold Schwarzenegger doing like his governor speeches. Just these humans who without trying, you just have to watch them as they hold so much power and charisma,” he added.

Obviously, Musk’s gradual development to claim his spot as one of the richest men in the world was seemingly the inspiration behind MCU’s Tony Stark played by veteran Robert Downey Jr. And in this regard, Durand’s inspiration does not seem far-fetched.

Fans Are In Agreement With Kevin Durand

Elon Musk interview
Elon Musk. Credit: Real Time with Bill Maher/YT

As Durand revealed his inspiration for his voice of the character in the Wes Ball-directed action sci-fi movie, fans did not have to struggle to believe the actor. Also, many fans find the facial similarity between the actor and the billionaire, and Musk’s inspiration would be an easy pick for shaping motivation for a role.



Regardless, Musk’s influence is undeniable. Mark Fergus, among the screenwriters of Iron Man, previously revealed the real-life inspiration while developing Tony Stark. “Him [Musk], Trump, and maybe a little Steve Jobs,” Fergus said after giving credit to aerospace engineer, Howard Hughes (via Esquire).


“…The working the crowd that Musk has a real natural talent for. Musk took the brilliance of Jobs with the showmanship of Trump. He was the only one who had the fun factor and the celebrity vibe and actual business substance. I’m not sure we talked about too many other people; there are not many people like that around. It’s dangerous to be a celebrity businessman. One scandal and it’s billions of dollars. People want their CEOs to shut up and be good, quiet figures who aren’t in the paper dating celebrities. Because shit can happen.”

To complement the quote, Musk’s cameo in Iron Man 2 justified the inherent connection of Musk with the titular MCU character. 

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is now showing in theaters.


Written by Lachit Roy

Articles Published: 1004

Lachit Roy is a seasoned writer specializing in science and entertainment news. Armed with a postgraduate degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Tezpur University, he brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to his craft.

Lachit is particularly passionate about crafting engaging content on entertainment news and trends. A dedicated movie enthusiast, he possesses an in-depth understanding of the cinematic world and takes joy in disseminating the latest updates to the global fandom. When not immersed in writing, Lachit can be found indulging in his love for movies and series, occasionally tending to his garden, but predominantly expanding his expertise in the realms of his interests.