In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new Planet of the Apes movie on the way. Back in Febuary, director Wes Ball (The Maze Runner franchise) confirmed that the film will not be a reboot but will be set in the newest Planet of the Apes universe that was launched in 2011 by Rupert Wyatt and then brought to greater heights by Matt Reeves. Many consider Reeves’ Dawn of and War For the Planet of the Apes to be some of the best films of the 2010s, so Wes Ball certainly has large shoes to fill.
Anyway, Discussing Film recently got the chance to sit down with Wes Ball to talk about the Planet of the Apes film he’s working on. Ball said that fans of Reeves’ and Wyatt’s movies need not worry.
“We have a take. We have a way of staying in the universe that was created before us, but we’re also opening ourselves up in being able to do some really cool new stuff. Again, I’m trying to be careful here. I’ll say this, for fans of the original three don’t worry – you’re in good hands. The original writers and producers that came up with Rise and Dawn, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, they’re also on board with this. Josh Friedman is writing this thing, a lot of the same crew is kind of involved. We will feel like we’re part of that original trilogy, but at the same time we’re able to do some really cool new stuff. It will be really exciting to see on the biggest screen possible.”
As it turns out, the film will be going into production sooner than expected. Ball said:
“We have a giant art team cranking away on some incredible concept art. We’ve got the screenplay continuing to move forward, that will take the time that it takes, and so that’s all good. Planet of the Apes is moving forward, baby! Not only that, but we could actually be in virtual production relatively soon because it’s largely a CG movie.”
Ball also talked about how he got the gig in the first place. A quick backstory: Ball was working on Mouse Guard for Fox when the whole Disney-Fox acquisition came about. Disney later scrapped the project, reportedly due to its insanely large budget of $US 175 million.
“When Mouse Guard fell apart, it was pretty quickly said, ‘Look we’re not going to do Mouse Guard, but what would you do with The Planet of the Apes?”'[Because] we were using the same material, the same kind of technology, we were using a lot of the same people involved — I had asked Andy Serkis to join Mouse Guard. So it was kind of natural fit. I understand where it came from and my big thing was: what do you do for a Planet of the Apes sequel? One, those last three movies are one of the great trilogies we have in modern movie history. They are just so well done. They honored the original movies they sprang from, the Charlton Heston movies, but they grounded it in a modern sensibility and it just worked. Caesar is one of the great movie characters that we’ll have throughout time. So what do you do to follow that up, right? At the same time, I wasn’t interested in doing a part four either. We want to also do our own thing.”