In 2011, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of the biggest surprises of the summer. After Tim Burton’s failed attempt to reboot the franchise 10 years earlier, no one was expecting Rise of the Planet of the Apes to be as good as it turned out to be. That said, expectations are high for its upcoming sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which is currently in production in Louisiana and Vancouver. Director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) is expected to take the stage to promote Dawn of the Planet of the Apes during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. So what should we expect from Twentieth Century Fox’s presentation in Hall H this Saturday? Well, don’t expect to see much of the movie just yet.
Matt Reeves tells IndieWire, “We’re not showing very much. We are not going to be coming with tons of footage.” In fact, Reeves says not to expect to see much footage at all before the film’s release in 2014 (it was pushed back by a few months later to accommodate the changes Reeves made once he took the directing job). The film is still in production at this stage, and has yet to undergo visual effects at WETA Digital. Sorry, convention-goers, no “ape shots.” Reeves does, however, divulge a few tidbits about the next steps in ape evolution that we’ll see in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Reeves wanted to slow down the rate of evolution originally set by the screenplay’s first set of writers, Rick Jaffe and Amanda Silver. Reeves rewrote the script with screenwriter Mark Bomback to bring the focus back to the ape Caesar (Andy Serkis), making him the film’s emotional center. Dawn now takes place 15 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and features a war for world domination between man and ape. Reeves says:
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.
It will be interesting to see how Dawn of the Planet of the Apes shapes up. One of the reasons why the reboot worked so well was because it focused on the film’s characters, rather than just its action. That was the big problem with Tim Burton’s 2001 version; its characters were so bland and lifeless. Here’s hoping Matt Reeves makes the sequel work as well as the first film.
Here’s another little tidbit — Reeves says the apes will indeed talk in the new film, but not as much as you might expect:
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.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will feature Gary Oldman as a character named Dreyfus, while a family played by Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and Kodi Smit-McPhee will round out the humans in the new sequel. As for the apes, Judy Greer will play Cornelia, who has a son (Nick Thurston) with Caesar. British actor Toby Kebbell will play the key ape role of Koba, while Karin Konoval reprises her role as the orangutan Maurice and Terry Notary plays Rocket.
Twentieth Century Fox’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes panel with the director and cast will unfold in Hall H this Saturday, July 20.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will hit theaters everywhere on July 18, 2014, in 3D.