Monday, July 22, 2013

Apes News Dawns at SDCC

While other news sort of sucked up the oxygen at last weekend's San Diego Comic-Con (like this, ferinstance), the thing I was most excited to hear about was what was up with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes -- which is actually the first honest-to-gosh Planet of the Apes sequel in more than forty years! We already know that Matt Reeves has replaced Rupert Wyatt in the director's chair for this installment, which plays the ball where it was left laying at the end of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but we got a whole ton of new info this week courtesy of the 'con. First up was this interview by Anne Thompson with director Reeves in the lead-up to San Diego. Click past the jump for some highlights:

On how he got the gig:
I was obsessed with Planet of the Apes, as a kid I desperately wanted be a gorilla, to be an ape. And I love what they did with "Rise," so emotional. I was not sure they'd want to have me do the movie. When I was going in, I thought, surely what's going to happen is they'll say "read the outline, to get it you're doing this." I'd say, "this is what I want to do," and they'd say "thank you, but no thank you." 
Instead, Emma Watts said, "Sounds great! You do that version. Are you in?" "I'm in, that would be incredible."
On where Dawn fits in with the overall Apes timeline:
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.
On how he intends to advance the revolutionary effects technology from the last film:
In the last movie there were a lot of things the apes couldn't do as performers, physically, so they animated them. It's amazing but some of that stuff isn't totally believable. You accept it. One of the things in the pursuit to make this as realistic as possible in addition to going on location in the light for a higher level of realism, is to see the movement of the ape stunt performers, not animated. The stunt performers trained themselves to move like apes. What they are performing is all real and when you see it translated it will not look animated.
Make sure you read the rest of Reeves' interview with Thompson here.

In addition, however, there was also the big Comic-Con panel in the famous Hall H, as part of Fox's big presentation (including plenty of X-Men news that should have fanboys on tenterhooks until next year's Days of Future Past hits). The pic above, depicting Andy Serkis' Caesar in full Braveheart mode, is the first official shot that's been released, and it comes from the sizzle reel that Reeves, et al, dished out. While we can't watch that vid, you can still read my buddy Paul Shirey's blow-by-blow of the panel, the trailer, etc. Paul didn't like Rise much (let's not hold that against him), but it sounds like Dawn is working his mojo on him so far.

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