The Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel is moving forward. Fox have secured their MVP (most valuable primate) Andy Serkis to portray Caesar in multiple more entries to the saga, a lucrative deal that will see Serkis earn well over seven figures. This is his biggest pay deal to date and is well deserved for the world’s greatest mo-cap performer, as would be some Oscar recognition for his work.
Deadline broke the news of Serkis’ deal today and also say Fox are seriously considering spending wads of cash on getting Serkis some Oscar momentum. As far as I’m concerned, Serkis performed the emotional reality of Caesar and all the character and resonance comes from him and not the technology and he should be a serious contender for a Best Leading Actor Oscar this year. And really it’s not the first time. He should have been nominated as Best Supporting for The Lord of the Rings franchise too, but the Academy routinely ignores the incredible work of Serkis and others who have done similar feats of brilliance in the past.
Also locked for the sequel is director Rupert Wyatt and writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, the pair who turned in the last draft of the movie that got made. It’s a shame that Minority Report writer Scott Frank who initially came up with the Caesar concept for an Ape reboot hasn’t been asked back but that was inevitable ever since he left the project years ago.
In terms of the human faces, James Franco and Freida Pinto haven’t yet signed on for sequels but I can’t see why they wouldn’t be back. Though of course at one point Franco’s character was due to die in the movie but was only saved by a last minute re-write.
Having grossed over $450 million worldwide and embarrassing the CGI naysayers with an intelligent and entertaining prequel/reboot that was one of the best the 2011 summer blockbuster season had to offer, we are delighted to see this franchise continue. Rise of the Planet of the Apes achieved two astonishing things that really can’t be talked up enough…
1) It stripped away the ‘man in suit’ Apes which had been the signature of the series and the extraordinary make-up that it was best known for but incredibly introduced motion-capture apes that was unlike anything that had ever donned the screen. As stunning as Gollum was in the Lord of the Rings franchise ten years ago, this was a CGI creature who led the whole movie and made you forget he wasn’t actually real.
2) It rejuvenated a creatively decades dead franchise and suddenly re-introduced a concept and played on ideas we probably hadn’t thought about, opening up such large scope for future sequels.
Presumably the Rise of the Apes sequel (which should be titled ‘War For The Planet of the Apes’ given what was hinted at from the conclusion of the last movie and Battle For The Planet of the Apes is already taken) could even shoot next summer for a release in 2013. Though Deadline do tell us no firm dates have been set yet for when the sequel will begin rolling and it’ll only be discussed once the idea ‘crystallizes’ with the writers.