Scott Z. Burns Talks Planet Of The Apes And 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

By Rudie Obias | Published

This article is more than 2 years old


Scott Z. Burns is one of the hottest screenwriters in Hollywood. He has written screenplays for directors Steven Soderbergh and Paul Greengrass, and has a few high-profile films in the works for Ridley Scott, Matt Reeves, and David Fincher. Now the screenwriter is slowly making the transition from high-concept thrillers to the high-concept science fiction genre, but he’s hit a few roadbumps along the way.

In an interview with, Scott Z. Burns opened up about his upcoming projects, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. First, Burns discussed his disappointment in seeing director Rupert Wyatt leave Dawn of the Planet of the Apes after Twentieth Century Fox decided to go in a new direction and hired Matt Reeves to take Wyatt’s place. Burns says:

I have no idea [if they’re using my script], Rupert Wyatt and I worked on a draft last summer that I think we were both really excited about and he went into Fox and they seemed to like it, they wanted a lot of changes and they sort of parted ways over those changes. Then management shifted at Fox, they brought in a new director, I think the new director wanted a new writer and I don’t know how much of what we did and I wrote is ongoing. It’s kind of heartbreaking because I really loved what we were trying to say with that movie so I hope some of it survives or that they came up with something a lot better.

While the status of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is still unknown, another project Burns was working on remains just as hazy. The upcoming 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is still trying to get off the sea floor, with hopes that David Fincher would direct the remake for Disney.

I don’t know [the status of 20,000 Leagues], I saw Sean Bailey at Sundance and I know that I had a great time working with David. Again, it’s a script that I really loved, I loved that book and I think that David and I had a really great take. I know I ran out of steps at some point and David asked Andrew Kevin Walker to do a pass, I’ve not read his draft, but shit the guy wrote Se7en he’s an amazing writer. Sean said that they’re really happy with that script. I think David is figuring out at what budget he can do the movie.

Earlier this week, Burns talked about possibly working with Ridley Scott on a sequel film to Blade Runner, but as it turned out he instead hinted at working with the director on another project.

Currently, Scott Z. Burns’ work can be seen in Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects, featuring Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum.