Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was astonishing, and while it is very upsetting that he will not be directing the sequel, Matt Reeves is a credible choice of director to continue the story. With films like Let Me In and Cloverfield, Reeves has proved himself as one of the finest directors in the world today, and I have total confidence that he will make a sequel to match the stunning brilliance of Wyatt’s first film.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be hosting a panel at Comic-Con this coming Saturday, and while no actual film footage is ready to reveal, the cast and director will be on hand with lots of updates. However, Reeves is far too excited, and has spilled the beans on plenty to do with his sequel in an interview with Thompson on Hollywood.
Here is what Reeves had to say on the films script, the changes he has made to Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver’s writing, and how he intends to follow on from the first film:
“Watching “Rise” it was miraculous how connected we are emotionally to him. I’ve never seen it at that level. We’re wrapped up in his character. I wanted to carry that forward. When I rewatched “Rise” in the interim, I had a son, and something in watching Caesar come into being in that movie reminded me of my son. When you watch you identify with Caesar. I couldn’t believe I had that level of emotional involvement with a CG character. He is torn away from his family and grows up with another family, he’s taken away from them and imprisoned in the ape habitat.
There’s no dialogue except sign language and it’s fascinating and emotionally involving. It felt like an uncanny connection to Andy’s perspective. I wanted to make sure that the emotional life of Caesar was the way the story carried forward. You have to make Caesar’s movie, you have to think about what matters to him the most … When I got involved the story initially took place further down the line, the apes had evolved fast. What excited me was the idea of going back to finding a way to get on the path, I did not want to jump so far ahead. I restarted the first movie that put you in the heart of the apes, knowing that in the canon, the ’68 movie I saw as a kid, you know what that world is about. That was the beginning. So this leads to the original film. How does that work? That is where it’s going. I did not want to go too far and miss how it developed”
“Caesar talks at the end of the movie, he has some level of speech. I wanted to make sure we’re continuing to go along the path of evolution without missing it, it was so delicious to watch in the first movie. It’s not like now they are talking in verse. Hopefully the movie is emotional and thrilling as you watch the apes come into being … The ape civilization is in the woods, between Vancouver and New Orleans, the world after what happens with the simian virus flu. The two main locales are San Francisco and the Muir Woods where the ape civilization is born. We’ll be doing a little shooting in San Francisco as well. A lot of the Louisiana shooting was to build huge wood sets outside in the woods to add realism, enormous exterior streets. We’re shooting in the rain, in the wind, all on location out in the open in the elements”
Reeves then discussed the scale of his sequel, which will be much bigger than Rise…
“The crazy thing is the giant scale of this film, which is enormous for any movie, so much bigger. The only way it works is from an emotional intimate point-of-view. It has all the things that drive me to do something, an emotional core, as Andy, Rupert and Weta did on “Rise”: How do you become an ape? How emotional it is, the emotional intimacy. It’s a huge adjustment. It’s not only on a scale for me that is obviously larger than anything I’ve done, but huge for any film in this particular way: this is the first movie at this level to do native 3-D on an enormous canvas and mo-cap that is 95 % shot on location. The mo-cap shooting on the first movie was done really on the stage. It’s enormous do this in a naturalistic space. And it’s an exciting learning curve”
Finally, Reeves gave thanks to the brilliance of Andy Serkis:
“Andy is a great actor, it comes down to that. The first thing I did, I wanted the VFX people to take me through all the footage on the last movie before and after of Andy so I could understand what he was doing. I was so impressed, we all know he’s a genius. I wanted to get under the hood, and they showed some minutes in scenes with even more going on, I’m hoping to pull those things out”
Read the full interview at Thompson on Hollywood.
Andy Serkis, celebrated for his performance in the last film, reprises his role as Caesar. Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Public Enemies, The Great Gatsby), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises, The Harry Potter franchise), Keri Russell (“The Americans,” Mission Impossible III), Toby Kebbell (The Prince of Persia, Wrath of the Titans, Rock N Rolla), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, ParaNorman), Enrique Murciano (Traffic, Black Hawk Down), Kirk Acevedo (The Thin Red Line), and Judy Greer (The Descendants, Three Kings, 13 Going on 30) also star.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In). The producers are Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Oblivion), Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Tom Hammel (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is executive producing.
Oscar-winning visual effects house WETA Digital – employing a new generation of the cutting edge performance capture technologies developed for Rise of the Apes and Avatar – will again render photo-realistic, emotionally-engaging apes. The film’s key behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Michael Seresin, production designer James Chinland, and VFX Supervisors Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon, VFX producers Ryan Stafford, editor Bill Hoy and Stan Salfas, and costume designer Melissa Brunning.
Twentieth Century Fox will release Dawn of the Planet of the Apes worldwide on Memorial Day weekend, May 23, 2014.
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.