Adam Rifkin (born 1966) is an American director, writer, producer and actor. He directed his first film Never on Tuesday in 1988. The same year, Twentieth Century Fox president Craig Baumgarten, impressed with Never on Tuesday, brought Rifkin in to the studio to pitch ideas for films. Being a fan of the original Planet of the Apes, Fox commissioned Rifkin to write a sequel... "but not a sequel to the fifth film - an alternate sequel to the first film."
The concept was that "the ape empire had reached its Roman era. A descendant of Charlton Heston's character would eventually lead a human slave revolt against the oppressive Roman-esque apes. A real sword-and-sandal spectacular, monkey style. 'Gladiator' did the same movie without the ape costumes. Having independent film experience, I promised I could write and direct a huge-looking film for a reasonable price and budget, like 'Aliens'."
The project was put on fast track and the vastly experienced Rick Baker was hired to design the prosthetic makeup, with Danny Elfman composing a film score. Tom Cruise and Charlie Sheen were considered for the lead role. Days before the film was to commence pre-production however, new studio executives arrived at Fox, which led to creative differences between Rifkin and the studio. Rifkin was asked to rewrite his 'Return to the Planet of the Apes' script through various drafts (the first revision dated December 1988) until the project was abandoned. "I can't accurately describe in words the utter euphoria I felt knowing that I, Adam Rifkin, was going to be resurrecting the 'Planet of the Apes'. It all seemed too good to be true. I soon found out it was." Rifkin would go on to be involved in many more productions, including writing The Dark Backward (1991) and The Chase (1994), and directing Detroit Rock City (1999).