In a seven-figure deal that will keep Andy Serkis in spandex and ping pong balls for a bit longer, Fox has signed Serkis to reprise his motion-capture role as Caesar in a sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. That film grossed over $450 million worldwide, obviously making it a top candidate for hasty sequelization, but the issue until now had been that only the writers and director Rupert Wyatt had been locked for a sequel. Now that studio heads have seen the behind-the-scenes featurette in which it becomes evident that Serkis's motion-captured acting was integral to the CGI ape's performance, they've made the actor a priority in returning to the franchise--so much so that human star James Franco hasn't even yet been approached to return to his giant headset. Not only that, 20th Century Fox is also reportedly ready to wage an Oscar campaign for Serkis in the hopes of earning him a first-of-its-kind nomination for a sensor-based performance rendered in chimp. I, for one, am hopeful for their cause. Not often enough does the Best Performance in a Leading Role category include a clip of a CGI simian leering at a sleeping couple.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes spoilers alert: despite being largely responsible for the ascension of super-smart apes to the eventual role of Earth's dominant species, Dr. James Franco manages to survive the initial onslaught of ape-on-man bridge violence. Phew, close one, James Franco! Next time, be more careful about what brain drugs you give to your chimps.
But! According to Fox postproduction president Ted Gagliano, Franco survival was not initially the final outcome of Apes. Unnamed "filmmakers" apparently first thought Franco should get offed out there, his giant Bluetooth symbolically shattered in a pool of blood and baboon poo (probably), and only later did anyone making this thing realize, "Shit, what if we want Scientist James Franco to shout something about damn, dirty apes in a sequel?" The decision to spare the good scientist was so last minute that Franco flew back to California to shoot the amended farewell scene on Fourth of July weekend, leaving postproduction workers only a month to render Caesar's closing "I think I'm going to move out to the woods for a while to find myself, James Franco," before the August 5th release. So that's something to look forward to in the DVD special features: a deleted scene of Franco getting chimp murdered. Also, probably a half-hour thing about Andy Serkis and motion capture that will be called "The Man Behind the Ape." I mean, there has to be that, right?
If you've seen the film, or even just a trailer or TV spot for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you know that the film's climax involves a bevy of apes storming the Golden Gate Bridge, led by a super smart chimp that James Franco gave special medicine. Seems pretty scientifically sound, right? So you'd think! But as it turns out: not possible! Over at Slate, they've done a little research on the subject, and while they have no problem with the idea of chimps acquiring superbrains, there is a bit of a logistical problem with the numbers--specifically in that, by their count, there's probably only about 25 apes in the entire Bay area, which would make for a pretty shitty uprising. So continue your work unfettered by fear of ape planet domination, James Franco; surely we can handle a couple dozen of these assholes.
With Rise of the Planet of the Apes somehow ending up a surprising critical and commercial success, the studio's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of sequels. Let's make more CGI ape dollars! Thankfully, RotPotA director Rupert Wyatt already has an idea or two to throw at them, and it's more than just bigger and better headsets for our unconvincing scientists (though, clearly, that will be a necessity). Talking to BleedingCool, Wyatt invoked Full Metal Jacket in his description of what could be next for Caesar & Friends now that they--SPOILER--have ruined redwood forest tourism, saying:
"There's so much we could do... The ideas I've had are all sorts of things, ranging from Full Metal Jacket with apes... you could start this story again eight years from where we left off, the next generation of apes, those that have come from our protagonists, perhaps going in to a conflict with humans and showing real fear, in the same way as going into war for young soldiers in this day and age, telling their story. Or how apes are taking over cities, and being moved into human environments and having to interact with them and deal with things that are part of our culture and understand and evolve through them. Spies that are in the employ of the apes, working against humans and humans maybe existing underground, because that's a way they can avoid the virus, coming up above ground wearing gas masks, and maybe that's what dehumanises them."
It remains to be seen how well Wyatt's seemingly thought-out plans will jibe with 20th Century Fox's sequel hopes: a girl monkey who you can tell is a girl monkey because she has lipstick and girl eyelashes.
- Here's the Indian poster for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Feel free to watch the film in Hindi.
- Ryan Guzman has joined the latest chapter of the Saw of competitive street dancing films, Step Up 4. He'll be playing the guy who dances with a girl.
- Making $77 million over the last year, Leonardo DiCaprio is now our highest-earning actor. Last year's top earner and this year's second spot, Johnny Depp, just couldn't compete with DiCaprio's constant influx of Growing Pains residuals.
- New Zealand film preservationists have found the first three reels of The White Shadow, a 1924 film thought to be the oldest surviving picture written by Alfred Hitchcock. Hopefully they'll get that on Netflix soon, or I'm just going to have to watch Skyline.
- Universal has dropped their Clue remake, but Hasbro remains determined to provide new films based on all of their board games, so Gore Verbinski will still direct this for another studio. Phew!
- Ben Foster has joined John Travolta, Lindsay Lohan, Al Pacino, Kelly Preston, and not Joe Pesci on Barry Levinson's Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father. He'll be playing John Gotti Jr., because Ben Foster looks close enough to this, apparently.
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon has now made over a billion dollars, and Michael Bay is just the kind of a-hole who will be doing Social Network quotes about this all night.
Want to know which character in Rise of the Planet of the Apes dies by way of ape booting a helicopter off a bridge? Answers await in this action-heavy, plot-lean Comic Con trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Hint: it is not J. Franco.
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Remember how Rise of the Planet of the Apes used to go by catchier, more memorable Rise of the Apes, but then Fox got so, so worried no one would get it? Well, that sentiment basically encapsulates the whole spirit of this new UK trailer for the film. They really want to make sure we get it! "Our therapy enables the brain to repair itself; we call it... THE CURE!" said James Franco in the first trailer. Trite as far as cure names go, sure, but pithy. And in the new trailer? Same scene: "We call it... THE CURE to Alzheimer's." It turns out they call it exactly what it is! It is a cure for Alzheimer's, and therefore that is how it's referred to. Curious why the ape Caesar ends up rebelling in the first place? Well, prepare to find out that it's because of an incident of this unusually-intelligent simian defending John Lithgow as a father figure. They just outright show you that, so concerned they are that you won't have seen Harry and the Hendersons recently enough to have worked that scenario out for yourself.
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After a five film series, a remake, a television show and a cartoon series, finally, a Planet of the Apes film that abandons all the cool advanced ape-based society parts, instead seemingly constructing a film out of 70% laboratory squabbling with James Franco, 20% CGI chimp glaring, and one big apes-on-a-bridge setpiece that will leave you screaming, "Jesus, why don't we just call in the marines and shoot these 150-odd apes before they multiply, put on little robes, and form a civilization over the ruins of the Statue of Liberty (spoiler)?" Why have we done this again?
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You made the apes too smart, James Franco! Now they're getting off on sneaking into residences and silently observing the blissful sleep of a loving couple--LIKE WE DO.
Watch our greatest modern Renaissance man create the hyper-intelligent ape species that will eventually hold Charlton Heston and/or Mark Wahlberg captive--and, bonus: see what someone figured out to do with all the cool metal science chambers leftover from every superhero movie--in this first look at Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
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Fox has already teased the impressive Francoscience in their franchise prequel, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (née Rise of the Apes), but if shots of James Franco wearing enormous Bluetooth headsets isn't your thing, WETA today posted a brief clip of some of their effects work on the project to show us what those apes are going to look like. The answer: shifty! Wait until you see this jerk give a sideways glance:
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