|Planet of the Apes|
|Production Company||20th Century Fox|
|Writers|| William Broyles Jr., |
|Released||July 27th, 2001|
|Continuity|| Planet of the Apes |
(Chronicles of Ashlar)
In 2001, acclaimed director Tim Burton released a new version of Planet of the Apes. This version, which had been in stalled production for years before Burton signed onto the project, was an entirely new movie and not a remake and owed very little to either the original novel or the first movie, but was instead a mix of plots, themes and lines from both, along with new material.
- Mark Wahlberg as Captain Leo Davidson
- Tim Roth as General Thade
- Helena Bonham Carter as Ari
- Michael Clarke Duncan as Colonel Attar
- Kris Kristofferson as Karubi
- Estella Warren as Daena
- Paul Giamatti as Limbo
- Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Krull
- David Warner as Senator Sandar
- Erick Avari as Tival
- Luke Eberl as Birn
- Lisa Marie as Nova
- Evan Dexter Parke as Gunnar
- Glenn Shadix as Senator Nado
- Freda Foh Shen as Bon
- Chris Ellis as Commander Karl Vasich
- Anne Ramsay as Lt. Col. Grace Alexander
- Andrea Grano as Major Maria Cooper
- Michael Jace as Major Frank Santos
- Michael Wiseman as Specialist Hansen
- Eileen Weisinger as Leeta
- Deep Roy as Gorilla Kid/Thade's Niece
Onboard the Oberon space station, an astronaut named Leo Davidson worked closely with chimpanzees and orangutans who were trained to serve as 'guinea-pigs' for particularly dangerous exploration missions in space. His favourite chimpanzee was Pericles. Pericles learned from training simulators and was rewarded with treats when he achieved his objectives. Leo was summoned to the command deck of the space station where a new situation had emerged; a giant electromagnetic storm. The storm sent all of the radio and television broadcasts of Earth out toward the Oberon. The Oberon's commander decided to send out a chimp - Pericles - to see if conditions were safe to send out human pilots to explore the storm.
When the chimp was lost, the commander wrote-off the chimp and prepared to forget the storm. Astronaut Leo however had other ideas and snuck aboard another escape pod and traveled in pursuit of his chimp trainee into space. Leo lost contact with his space station and was pushed forward in time to a strange new world. Crashing in a jungle, his crew-mates onboard the Oberon searched for him in vain.
Shortly after crashing Leo looked around to see rustling among the brush. Humans emerged, fleeing in terror. After a short contemplation Leo took off with them and ran. Out of the distance, apes emerged. With gorillas on horseback and chimpanzees running on all fours, the apes chased after humanity - the inferior race they had mastered and now hunt. After the lot was rounded up they were tossed into cages and hauled back to the Ape City, where they were sold off as slaves.
In the city, Leo met Limbo, an orangutan who traded humans for money. He earned profit on volume selling, as his human specimens smelled like humans and weren't considered luxury items to apes. To apes, humans weren't good for much other than to be used as pets or simple house servants. In Limbo's building, a human rights advocate named Ari was off to her usual trouble-making mischief. Ari believed humans could be taught things and deserved to be treated more as equals to apes. To Limbo, a businessman whose trade was humans, such thinking was ludicrous. When Ari got close to Leo's cage, Leo pulled her close and threatened her life with a hot branding iron. Limbo worried that he may have to put down Leo. Leo then whispered to Ari that he needed help. Ari rewarded the human that held her captive by agreeing to buy him and a female he was attracted to. Leo and the female - Daena became house servants in the house of Ari's father.
During an event to entertain dinner guests General Thade, the leader of Ape military forces, opened up Leo's mouth and inquired mockingly if there was a soul in there. Ari left the dinner table and General Thade chased after her, then left, angry that she had no affection for him at all. Leo then picked the lock on his cage and escaped with a group of other humans. Ari spotted them escaping and accompanied them with her protector Krull. Ari found Leo different and was eager to help him because she found him fascinating.
General Thade convinced Ari's father that Ari was kidnapped by the humans. General Thade used this situation to gain absolute power as dictator of Ape City. Thade than marched ape armies to the Forbidden Zone where Leo, Ari, and many humans had gathered. In the Forbidden Zone, Leo discovered the Oberon, his crashed space station. According to the computer's logs and the aging of the ship, it had been there for thousands of years. Leo deduced that he was pushed forward in time, while the Oberon searching after him was not. Consequently it crashed on the planet thousands of years before Leo did. The Oberon's log revealed that the apes onboard organised a mutiny and took control of the vessel after it crashed. The survivors of the struggle left the ship and their descendants were the apes and humans on the planet that Leo witnessed. When ape forces charged humans encamped near the ancient station, Leo ignited the fuel inside the ship which knocked back the first wave of ape warriors. General Thade was not impressed and ordered everyone else to the front, and rode forward himself. As the apes appeared beyond doubt to have won, a vessel descended from the sky. It was Pericles, the original chimp astronaut that Leo went out into space searching for. Apparently Pericles got pushed forward in time just like Leo and only now found his way to the planet that Leo had crashed on. When Pericles landed, the apes interpreted his arrival as the return of Semos, the first chimpanzee, who was their god. They bowed, and hostilities between humans and apes ceased. General Thade chased Pericles into the Oberon and Leo followed. Thade got trapped in the control room, unable to escape.
Leo then went to Pericles' space pod, which was undamaged, and used it to travel back through time. Leo crashed on what appeared to be Earth, in Washington DC. He looked up to see the Lincoln Memorial was now a monument in honour of General Thade. A swarm of ape police officers and reporters descended on Leo, who wondered just what had happened to his world.
Cast And Crew
- Jonah & Jacob ... Pericles
- Chad Bannon ... Red Ape Soldier/Man Hunt Ape
- Kevin Grevioux ... Limbo's 1st Handler/Ape Commander/ 2nd Ape Soldier
- Isaac C. Singleton, Jr. ... Limbo's 2nd Handler/ 1st Ape Soldier
- Quincy Taylor ... Ape Soldier
- John Alexander ... Ape Dinner Guest/Old Man Servant/Old Ape #1
- Jay Caputo ... 1st Ape Teenager/2nd Ape Soldier (Marduk)
- Philip Tan ... 2nd Ape Teenager/Gossiping Male Ape
- Tiffany Smith ... Thade’s sister
- Callie Croughwell ... Little Human Girl
- Allie Habberstad ... Girl Pet
- Brett Smrz ... Human Kid #1
- Howard Berger ... Gorilla
- Rick Baker ... Old Ape #2
- Cameron Croughwell ... Ape Soccer Kid
- Joshua Croughwell ... Ape Soccer Kid
- Hanna Peitzman ... Ape Soccer Kid
- Molly Peitzman ... Ape Soccer Kid
- Jesse Tipton ... Ape Soccer Kid
- Shane Habberstad ... Ape Soccer Kid
- Chet Zar ... Fruit Vendor
- Linda Harrison ... Woman in Cart
- Eddie Adams ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Todd Babcock ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Lorenzo Callender ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Shonda Farr ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Kam Heskin ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Jim Holmes ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Todd Kimsey ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Candace Kroslak ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Joanna Krupa ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Elizabeth Lackey ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Mark Christopher Lawrence ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Melody Perkins ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Tate Taylor ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Jonna Thompson ... Friend at Leo's Party
- Charlton Heston .... Senator Zaius, Thade's father (uncredited cameo)
- Nils Allen Stewart ... Scar
- unknown ... Tuug
- Tony Brubaker ... Stunts (had also worked on 'Conquest of the Planet of the Apes')
- David E. Brown ... Stunts/Michael Clarke Duncan's stunt double (uncredited)
- Sean Graham ... Stunts/Mark Wahlberg's stunt double (uncredited)
- Terry Notary ... Stunts/Tim Roth's stunt double (uncredited)
- Producer ... Richard D. Zanuck
- Executive Producer ... Ralph Winter
- Associate Producer ... Ross Fanger, Katterli Frauenfelder
- Unit Production Manager ... Ross Fanger
- Script ... William Broyles Jr., Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal
- Director ... Tim Burton
- Assistant Director ... Katterli Frauenfelder
- Director of Photography ... Philippe Rousselot
- Editor ... Chris Lebenzon, Joel Negron
- Music ... Danny Elfman
- Sound ... John A. Larsen
- Make Up ... John Blake, Mike Smithson, Donald J. Mowat
- Hair ... Sylvia Nava, Patty Miller, Terry Baliel, Randy Sayer, Mitch Stone
- Special Effects Makeup ... Rick Baker, Toni G., Alex Proctor, Kazuhiro Tsuji, Barney Burman (ape makeup artist)
- Art Directors ... John Dexter, Sean Haworth, Philip Toolin
- Set Decorators ... Rosemary Brandenburg
- Stunt Coordinator ... Charles Croughwell, Terry Notary
Behind the Scenes
Adam Rifkin & Peter Jackson
In 1988, Twentieth Century Fox executive Craig Baumgarten, impressed with Adam Rifkin's 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."
In late 1992, director Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh pitched their own three- or four-page treatment, with “a storyline that continued the ape’s saga from where it left off in the fifth movie. We imagined their world being in the midst of an artistic renaissance, which made the ape government very nervous. It was a time of amazing art and we wanted Roddy McDowall to play an elderly chimpanzee that we based a little on Leonardo da Vinci. The plot involved the humans rising in revolt and a half human, half ape central character that was sheltered by the liberal apes, but hunted down by the gorillas.” McDowall was enthusiastic about the proposal and agreed to play the role they had written for him. Jackson also spoke to Rick Baker, who offered his support. However, while initial discussions had been with Fox Chairman Joe Roth, he left the studio in November 1992, and Head of Production Tom Jacobson, who Jackson subsequently spoke to, was not a fan of the film proposal and was seemingly unaware of McDowall's involvement in the original series, so Jackson turned his attention to other projects.
By late 1993, Jane Hamsher and Don Murphy's production company - JD Prods - had pitched a Planet of the Apes revival to 20th Century Fox; while Joe Roth had been largely unsympathetic to the franchise before his departure to Disney, his replacement Peter Chernin proved more receptive. There were two conditions included in the deal: that Oliver Stone would serve as executive producer/co-writer of the movie (Stone was then directing Natural Born Killers, which Hamsher and Murphy were producing); and that there should be no link to the original Apes movies. Murphy's idea was to use the brand name to make an up-to-date action movie: "I always thought the concept of 'Planet of the Apes' would rock, but I did not want anything to do with the old series. That has already been done. The concept of apes and humans together is simply a cool pretext for a good action film." Likewise, Stone told Murphy and Hamsher that, having re-watched the original movie cycle, he thought they were "awful", but he nevertheless signed on to the new project. Stone's own preference was for a story based on apes from an ancient civilization, with biblical connections. He explained in December 1993, "It has the discovery of cryogenically frozen Vedic Apes who hold the secret numeric codes to the Bible that foretold the end of civilizations. It deals with past versus the future. My concept is that there's a code inscribed in the Bible that predicts all historical events. The apes were there at the beginning and figured it all out." Sam Raimi was reportedly considered as director, and Australian Terry Hayes was recruited to write the screenplay, having previously had hits with Dead Calm, Mad Max 2 - The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (the latter two quite possibly influenced by Battle for the Planet of the Apes' army of dilapidated vehicles).
By June 1994, though still without a director or final script, the movie was scheduled to begin shooting that Fall for a release in Summer 1995. The script would incorporate some of the spiritual and cultural suggestions of Stone's that had interested Fox initially, as Jane Hamsher confirmed: "Science fiction has always been the best place to deal with the present on an allegorical level, and many of the ideas Oliver has for 'Apes' couldn't be done, at least not by him, in some more traditional format or genre. This film isn't just a marketing strategy or vehicle, but a real analysis of today." Don Murphy emphasized the fresh start for the Apes franchise: "The first films were set in a future in which mankind has destroyed himself, but ours is actually set in 'Quest For Fire' times, the dawn of man. It has very Biblical, mythic overtones. It isn't the sixth movie in the series - or a remake of the first one - but a reinvention of the concept of the 'Planet of the Apes' using nineties technology and a completely new story... It's going to be 'Gorillas In The Mist' meets 'The Terminator' - a humongous rethinking of the entire concept. I know there are lots of fans of the original film series out there, and that they will be offended - but if you watch most of those films, they're dated. We are not making the reinvented 'Planet of the Apes' to appeal to the hundred or thousand people who cannot get enough of the 'Apes' marathons [on TV], we're going to make it so it appeals to the forty million people who want to see what could easily be the next 'Jurassic Park'. This movie is going to be an epic - a major summer blockbuster, and you get very few of those. Kenner has already signed up to do the toys. We do not even have a script, and they are already designing toys - go figure. It's going to be a humongous flick." Fox also announced plans for an animated Apes project based on Stone's film "much like 'Batman: The Animated Series' depended on Tim Burton's vision".
Titled Return of the Apes, Terry Hayes' screenplay was set in the near future where a plague is making humans extinct. Geneticist Will Robinson discovers the plague is a genetic time bomb embedded in the Stone Age. He time travels with a pregnant colleague named Billie Rae Diamond to a time when Palaeolithic humans were at war for the future of the planet with highly-evolved apes. Robinson and Diamond discover a young human girl named Aiv (pronounced Eve) to be the next step in evolution. They protect her from the virus, thus ensuring the survival of the human race 102,000 years later. Billie Rae gives birth to a baby boy named Adam. In 1994, Oliver Stone secured the interest of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed on as Will Robinson with the condition that he had approval of director. Schwarzenegger anticipated a violent, gory interpretation of Hayes' and Stone's conspiracy-theory concept. A later, uncorroborated, rumor claimed that Ben Kingsley was in line for the role of the scientist who travels back in time, with Schwarzenegger cast as the leader of the Stone Age men in the distant past - a role perhaps more suited to the muscular action hero. Stone first approached Rick Baker, who had worked on Adam Rifkin's failed remake, to design the prosthetic makeup, and Baker's Cinovation Studios produced an orangutan test makeup, but Stone eventually opted for Stan Winston. Chuck Russell was considered as director before Phillip Noyce (Dead Calm, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger) was selected in January 1995, and pre-production was planned with a $100 million budget.
While Peter Chernin said Hayes' time-travel action screenplay was "one of the best scripts I ever read" and hoped it would create sequels, spin-off television shows and merchandise, other Fox executives became frustrated by the distance between it and their family-friendly expectations. Dylan Sellers, Fox's head of production, felt the script could be improved by including comedy elements. Jane Hamsher quoted Sellers as asking, ""What if Robinson finds himself in Ape land and the Apes are trying to play baseball? But they're missing one element, like the pitcher or something. Robinson knows what they're missing and he shows them, and they all start playing." Sellers refused to give up his baseball idea, and when Hayes turned in his final draft in spring 1995, sans baseball scene, Sellers fired him. As Don Murphy put it, "Terry wrote 'The Terminator' and Fox wanted 'The Flintstones'". Dissatisfied with Sellers' decision to fire Hayes, Phillip Noyce left Return of the Apes in February 1995 to work on The Saint. Don Murphy and Jane Hamsher were bought off the project by Fox, while Oliver Stone switched his attention to other film projects. A drunken Dylan Sellers crashed his car in October 1995, killing a much-loved colleague and earning jail time, and his responsibilities were passed on to new head of production Tom Rothman.
Director Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs Doubtfire) took over the helm next, hiring scriptwriter Sam Hamm (Tim Burton's Batman, an unproduced treatment for a Watchmen movie, and Columbus' co-writer on an unproduced Fantastic Four script). "After they got rid of us, they brought on Chris Columbus," Don Murphy stated. "Then I heard they did tests of apes skiing, which didn't make much sense." Stan Winston Studios was still working on the makeup designs and spent a large amount of time on research and development work. "The makeup that was designed for the tests was really pretty impressive. Stan and his son made a demo reel of improvisational stuff in the makeup under the direction of Chris Columbus. It was great." Hamm's final Planet of the Apes draft kept some aspects of Terry Hayes' script but owed much to Pierre Boulle's source novel. An ape astronaut from another planet crash-lands in New York harbor, launching a virus that will make human beings extinct. Dr. Susan Landis, who works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alexander Troy, an Area 51 scientist, and a team of pilots and scientists use the ape's spacecraft to return to the virus' planet of origin, hoping to find an antidote. They find an urban ape civilization, led by 'Lord Zaius', where apes armed with heavy weapons hunt speechless humans. Dodge, a Jamaican astronaut, suffers the same fate as the original's Landon, while male astronaut Stewart didn't survive the trip. Landis and Troy discover the antidote and return to Earth, only to find in their 74-year absence that apes have taken over the planet. 'The Statue of Liberty's once proud porcelain features have been crudely chiseled into the grotesque likeness of a great grinning ape'. "We tried to do a story that was simultaneously a homage to the elements we liked from the five films, and would also incorporate a lot of material [from Boulle's novel] that had been jettisoned from the earlier production," Hamm said. "The first half of the script bore little resemblance to the book, but a lot of the stuff in the second half comes directly from it, or directly inspired by it." Arnold Schwarzenegger remained attached over the course of the summer of 1995, but after Hamm's script failed to meet Fox's approval, Columbus dropped out in late 1995 to work on Jingle All the Way.
Fox offered the director's position to Roland Emmerich in January 1996, but he turned it down. Next, James Cameron was in talks to executive produce and write, but said no to directing as he was busy filming his massive hit Titanic. After learning about his previous Apes treatment, Chernin and Rothman then met with Peter Jackson, who “re-pitched exactly the same idea to these two high-powered Fox executives who’d never heard it before. Once again it was met with a lot of enthusiasm." Jackson turned down making his film with Schwarzenegger as star and Cameron as producer, recognizing that they would possibly conflict over the film's direction, and lost his enthusiasm for his Apes concept following Roddy McDowall's 1998 death. Due to his work on Titanic, James Cameron's commitment was delayed, but he still intended to produce and write the movie. Despite all these setbacks, Fox still maintained that the film would be made. Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford & Patrick Swayze were all rumoured for the starring role, but in January 1997 it was reported that Arnold Schwarzenegger was still attached and had been in talks with Cameron's development company, Lightstorm Entertainment, regarding the Apes film.
In December 1997 it was reported that Lightstorm and 20th Century Fox wished to get the project on the fastrack in the new year. The following Summer, Cameron's version was reportedly planned to fit in with the existing continuity of the original Apes movie arc, drawing elements particularly from the first film and its sequel. An anonymous leak in July 1998 suggested an outline of Cameron's version: "'Battle for the Planet of the Apes' set the stage for astronaut Taylor to return to a much altered 'planet of the apes.' That's exactly what the new script deals with. It is intended for the new film to open the same way as the first, with the exact same footage of Taylor aboard his spacecraft. The ship still crash-lands in a lake but the lake is no longer in the middle of a desert - it is now sitting alongside a research facility. The story soon shifts to thirty years later, when five time-traveling astronauts from the 1990's arrive at the research facility. The facility, mostly burned out, has been abandoned. The astronauts hike across the Forbidden Zone. A spooky hooded sniper stalks the astronauts and manages to kill one. Caesar's role in the development of this new ape society has given the chimpanzees more dominance. Science has been allowed to flourish, which makes the planet more technologically advanced than it was in the first film. But the balance of power is more uneasy and tensions are dangerously high among the different ape factions. The gorillas, whose aggression hasn't been stifled by chimps and orangutans, long ago slaughtered the small population of mutants living in the underground ruins of Manhattan. Air travel has allowed other types of apes to come to Ape City. Gibbons care little for science, religion or war - they are the artists and playboys. A descendant of Caesar, a bizarre mix of chimpanzee and gibbon, has been voted prime minister of Ape City although he doesn't see himself so much as an elected official as a royal heir. He is a perverted, insane egomaniac, pretty much a simian Caligua. The survivors of the astronaut crew befriend an eccentric old orangutan, who tells them he had met astronauts before. He tells them that one of these earlier astronauts - 'a real gun nut' - took the best looking human babe and dragged her off with him into the wilderness. The 'gun nut' hidden out in the woods turns out to be an old Taylor (appropriately played by NRA head Charlton Heston). Taylor has kept busy with the local women and has sired a large brood of intelligent humans. Landon is the religious leader of a savage community. Dodge has managed to become lobotomized but there's a little twist to how this has happened."
There is no proof that this outline was genuine however, and in fact in October 1998, Lightstorm Entertainment President, Rae Sanchini stated that there was still no script, but that Cameron intended to produce and write the project. Roddy McDowall - perhaps expected to be included in such a movie - said in an interview published in TV Guide Online in September 1998 (a month before his death) that he supported the idea that any new movie should pick up from the originals rather than try to reinvent the franchise. "I don't see any reason to remake them. Why? They're there, and they're as potent as ever. On the other hand, I've always thought it would be very sensible to continue the canon and I can't imagine why nobody's done so." Interviewed around this time, Linda Harrison agreed: "I think you have a perfect place to start with the way they took off together. It's saying they're going to go find their life, and develop their colony, and their own culture. Taylor and Nova mating are going to produce an unusual offspring. So, that's where they need to start. It would be good to see them thirty years later and actually see their children grown, and Taylor is really in charge of this development." Cameron was rumored to have completed a screenplay by November 1998, with Schwarzenegger still earmarked for the lead. Michael Bay was suggested as director, but Peter Hyams (Capricorn One, 2010) was ultimately chosen. However in December, Fox rejected Hyams as director and Cameron, disillusioned, quit the project. Schwarzenegger also ended his association with the movie around this time.
20th Century Fox went back to the drawing-board to figure out a new direction and began meeting with several top directors and writers. Rumours of Graham Yost (Speed, Broken Arrow) and Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en) writing scripts proved unfounded. In March 1999, William Broyles Jr. (China Beach, Apollo 13) initially turned down the chance to write a script, but changed his mind "when I found out I could have an extensive amount of creative control". Fox projected a release date of July 2001, and Stan Winston continued to develop animatronic makeup masks. Michael Bay was reported as director, but soon turned down the director's position to helm Pearl Harbor. In mid-1999, the Hughes brothers were also mentioned as directors. William Broyles provided the studio with an outline in January 2000, set on the fictional planet "Aschlar". It was entitled 'The Visitor' and billed as "episode one in the Chronicles of Aschlar".
Fox spoke to Tim Burton and Frank Darabont (The Green Mile) about directing the movie, before Burton was chosen in February 2000, saying "I wasn't interested in doing a remake or a sequel of the original 'Planet of the Apes' film, but I was intrigued by the idea of revisiting that world. Like a lot of people, I was affected by the original film. I wanted to do a 're-imagining'." Fox then invited Richard D. Zanuck - former head of production at 20th Century Fox at the time of the original 1968 movie - to join as producer in March. Zanuck mused "This is a very emotional film for me. I greenlighted the original 'Apes' when I was the head of Fox in 1967." "I feel like I've been in my own time warp, my own science fiction world. Having 34 years ago initiated this, I find myself producing a picture that is not a remake but a whole new picture using the same concept."
Burton began some 'tweaking' of Broyles' script, while Stan Winston - who had previously worked with Burton on Edward Scissorhands and Batman Returns - was replaced by makeup wizard Rick Baker in May. Burton commented, "I have a relationship with both of them, so that decision was hard. Stan worked on 'Edward Scissorhands' and Baker did Martin Landau's makeup [as Béla Lugosi in 'Ed Wood']". Fox considered using computer-generated imagery to create the apes, but Burton insisted on using Baker's prosthetic makeup. Baker explained "I felt part of the charm of the first film was that the makeup was actor-motivated, not a machine driven by puppeteers. I felt the apes should be realistic and individual, and I was hoping Tim was thinking along those lines." "I did the Dino De Laurentiis version of 'King Kong' in 1976 and was always disappointed because I wasn't able to do it as realistically as I wanted. I thought 'Apes' would be a good way to make up for that." In addition to King Kong, Baker had previously worked with designing ape makeup on Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey and Mighty Joe Young. He was able to enlighten Burton on primate behavior - a subject on which he was well-informed after years of creating these primate characters. "I told Tim that it's the chimps that are the crazy ones, not the gorillas. I've been this close to mountain gorillas in the wilds of Africa, impressive creatures that could literally tear you apart, and felt no fear whatsoever. But chimpanzees are crazy, hyper. I've heard stories about people raising chimps from birth who have lost limbs because this thing they raised suddenly flipped out. That kind of stuck with Tim."
As production finally got underway, cast revelations began to trickle out through the media. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio were mentioned as possible leads, but Mark Wahlberg was signed as the astronaut who organises human resistance against simian tyranny in June 2000, for a two-movie deal - presumably a sequel was already being planned by Fox. Gary Oldman was in talks to play the leader of the anti-human apes, but he was reportedly unhappy with the pay on offer and the part of Thade passed to fellow-Brit actor Tim Roth in July. Also joining the cast in July were Estella Warren, as the love interest, wrestler/actor Nils Allen Stewart, as "one of the five lead apes" (IMDb lists him as having played a character named 'Scar'), Paul Giamatti, as Limbo, and Michael Clarke Duncan.
Further rumors suggested Burton planned a "Cornelius-like" role for his friend Paul Reubens - a part later attributed (falsely) to regular collaborator Johnny Depp, who supposedly did several make-up tests in August. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa joined the production in August, as did Charlton Heston, for a brief cameo role. Helena Bonham Carter also signed in August, playing an "ape princess". Mirroring the uproar concerning an ape/human Hybrid Child appearing in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Fox executives were opposed to the idea that Carter's character would be the love interest of Wahlberg's character, thinking it 'weird and unnatural'. Burton had a love scene planned, but even an implied love scene was rejected. Rick Baker had his own difficulties with the character: "From the beginning, I knew Helena's makeup was going to be the hardest. When they said they wanted to make her sexually attractive - well, I knew that was going to be tough. So we started on her first. Before we even took a lifecast of Helena, we began with tests on Tiffany Smith, who works for me. But the first test makeup was too humanized - she looked more like a freak human than an ape." The final design included smoother skin, soft facial hair and the addition of eyebrows - a feature real chimps do not possess. Makeup Department head Toni G. applied the 'Ari' makeup throughout the production: "I didn't think the eyebrows would work. But Rick was right - it did make her more attractive as a female chimpanzee." The whole process would require a three-hour application that included a full-face appliance and chin piece, lace-piece eyebrows and other facial hair, and beauty makeup to emphasize Bonham-Carter’s soulful eyes.
Under Burton's direction, Broyles wrote another draft script. Notable among Broyles additions to the Apes canon were the use of mythical names from various cultures for both his characters and place names, as opposed to the Roman names used in the original cycle. 'Thade' is a Germanic name, 'Attar' is Arabic, 'Daena' is a Persian goddess, 'Karubi' is Japanese, 'Krull' is also Germanic, not-withstanding it's use in other sci-fi sagas, 'Birn' is Scandinavian, 'Derkein' is Greek, meaning both "seeing clearly" and 'dragon', and 'Kalimah' (sic) is one of the central tenets of the Muslim faith. In addition, Rick Baker suggested ethnic actors should be actively sought for the ape roles. Also of note, the apes were no longer segregated into a caste system as in both the original novel and the original movies, and the chimps were portrayed as the most vicious species, reflecting both zoological fact and Burton's personal mistrust of the real apes on-set. Indeed, Jonas - the chimp playing Pericles - attacked Helena Bonham Carter in one incident. However, Broyles treatment was projected at a $200 million budget, while Fox wanted to cut it to $100 million. Burton was rumoured to have been contractually obliged to cover any over-spend personally, and in August 2000, two months before principal photography, Broyles quit the project over further script changes.
In further cast revelations, director (and sometimes actor) Spike Jonze was reported to be playing the part of an "ape outsider" who winds up befriending Wahlberg's astronaut character and helps him escape from his ape captors. It was Mark Wahlberg who suggested his pal for the part, and in October he was also said to have requested a cameo role for his other Three Kings co-star George Clooney in ape make-up as some sort of joke between them. In November, Linda Harrison announced she would have a small cameo role and Glenn Shadix revealed "Tim called me earlier this week to tell me I'll soon be enrolled in 'Ape School' along with Lisa Marie, Helena Bonham Carter and David Warner". The 'Ape School' was movement training classes for the actors who would portray apes, organized by Charlie Croughwell on Stage 5 at Los Angeles Center Studios. There, principals endured a month-and-a-half-long program, and one hundred extras attended intensive three-day workshops. Ape School instructors were ex-Cirque du Soleil acrobat Terry Notary, and John Alexander, who had played the title role in Mighty Joe Young and 'Digit' in Gorillas in the Mist. Once the cameras rolled, Notary carried a new Ape School from soundstage to locations at Trona Pinnacles for both newcomers and past graduates, whilst he also doubled for Thade's more spectacular stunts.
The production was a difficult experience for Burton, largely due to Fox's adamant release date (July 2001), which meant that everything from pre-production to editing and visual effects work was rushed. By October, Fox had hired Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal to simplify the script. Despite the nature of his departure, Broyles "had a lot of respect with the work they did. And I think that given what I'd done and given what Tim wanted, they navigated the right course." Konner and Rosenthal were rewriting the script even as sets were being constructed. The title of the production changed from The Visitor back to its original title, Planet of the Apes. Various alternative endings were considered before the filmmakers decided on the final one. One of the considered endings had Leo Davidson crash-landing at Yankee Stadium, witnessing apes playing baseball; a pullback would reveal the final twist - a simian Statue of Liberty. It was an ambitious idea: ultimately, too ambitious, posing too many technical and logistical hurdles at such a late production date. Ari, originally a princess, was changed to "a Senator's daughter with a liberal mentality". One of the drafts had General Thade as an albino gorilla, but Burton felt chimpanzees were more frightening. Limbo "was supposed to turn into a good guy. There was supposed to be this touching personal growth thing at the end," Paul Giamatti reflected. "But Tim and I both thought that was kind of lame so we decided to just leave him as a jerk into the end." The new movie didn't have the political edge of the original, simply because the world had moved on since then. What it did have was a distinguished cast and incredible make-up. "The basic upside-down world - that's very much the same", said producer Richard D. Zanuck. "The story is entirely different, the characters are entirely different. In terms of the logistics, this is much bigger".
Chile, Iceland and the Middle East were all considered as potential ape-planet locales before production settled on more cost-effective locations closer to Hollywood. Camera tests got under way in Sun Valley, California in October, but the production was postponed briefly after scenery painter Paul Trachtenberg fell to his death. Filming for Planet of the Apes began at Independence Bay, a remote area of Lake Powell, near the small desert town of Page, Arizona, where parts of the original film were shot, on November 6, 2000. Here, for shots of rebel humans charging through an ape army encampment on horseback and making a river crossing to freedom, the production made a fantastic request of the Special Effects Department's Ken Pepiot: "We were filming at Lake Powell at night in December and January, and the water temperature was 42 degrees. To avoid actors and horses getting hypothermia, production asked me to heat the lake to 75 degrees. It was a backwater area, about six hundred feet long and five feet deep, with a million to two million gallons of water in it." Working with an outside contractor, the effects crew used a steam boiler that ran heat twenty-four hours a day for a three-day period, circulating the backwater and heating it to 80 degrees. Federal park agencies expressed concerns that sudden heat in the dead of winter might awaken dormant water life, which could begin breeding prematurely: "We only held that high temperature for twelve hours, so there wasn't an ecological impact." Hampered by the logistics of having to cross the bay by boat, production ran out of time before capturing the reverse shot of the riders making it to the other side of the river. Later in the schedule, a small crew set up the shot at Vasquez Rocks, about forty miles northeast of Los Angeles: "We made a little lake in the desert, about thirty feet wide and ninety feet long." The location work moved to the Trona Pinnacles at Ridgecrest in the California desert near Death Valley, where the dramatic rock formations would provide the climactic setting for apes and humans clashing in a final battle. The location itself had been an ancient lake which, when it began drying up eons ago, sent underground streams bubbling to the surface, forcing up calcium deposits that resulted in the area's distinctive 80-to-120-foot-tall spires. One of the challenges at Trona was rainfall, an unexpected phenomenon at a place that normally receives only a half-inch of rain all year. The crew moved to an abandoned rock quarry in Sun Valley, California to film corollary work on tighter battle shots - but the rains still chased the production, finally forcing completion of the sequence on Stage 6 at Los Angeles Center Studios. The film was mostly shot at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, while other filming locations included black lava plains below Mount Kilauea on the big island of Hawaii in March, and filming wrapped in April 2001. Industrial Light & Magic, Rhythm and Hues Studios and Animal Logic were commissioned for the visual effects sequences. Rick Heinrichs served as the production designer and Colleen Atwood did costume design. The makeup took 4.5 hours to apply and 1.5 hours to remove. Fox's merchandising campaign began in February 2001, five months prior to the movie's Summer release.
- Planet of the Apes (2001) Concept Art & Costume Tests
- Behind-The-Scenes Photos by Derek Frey (assistant to Tim Burton)
- Mount Kilauea, Hawaii
- Los Angeles, California
- Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah
- Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- Trona Pinnicles, California
- Sun Valley, California
- The story of the Oberon's crash and the origins of the ape planet were explored further in a series of HarperCollins novels. The company also published a novelization of the movie.
- The more recent adventures from Attar, Ari and Daena's youth were detailed in a book series from HarperEntertainment. The same series also added a 'Young Adult' novelization of the movie.
- Dark Horse Comics adapted the movie as a graphic novel, whilst also depicting the events in the years after Leo's departure in a series of original comics.
- Tim Burton wanted the spaceship to resemble a cross in space. The final design was the 'Oberon' - a vertical space station scaled at thousands of feet and topped with a cross bent like two arms held out in embrace; truly a mother ship. A miniature of nearly fourteen feet tall and six feet wide was built in four major sections - tower, tail, hub and separately mounted arms.
- For Leo Davidson's crash, a two-inch-thick steel pole was fitted with a stand-in space-pod measuring twenty inches in diameter and mounted on a hydraulically-actuated rig. The stand-in pod was pulled by the rig at 55 miles per hour through a trench on a quarter-scale jungle set, and was ultimately replaced digitally with a scorched version of the CG pod seen in earlier sequences.
- The Ape City was a combination of full-scale sets erected on a Sony soundstage, an ILM miniature and digital matte paintings. The mandate was to create an environment that would convey a primordial, still-gestating and wholly convincing look, while allowing for Burton's visual aesthetic. The metropolis, evoking an intertwining of so-called civilization and nature's primordial force, was imagined as carved out of a mountain. That concept began as an art department mock-up, then a foot-tall, thirty-by-forty-inch tabletop model. It took the construction crew nearly four months to build the city full-size, which spanned wall-to-wall and up fifty feet to the permanents of Sony's Stage 50. The massive space was maximized by building down into the stage's ten-foot-deep water tank - allowing for a sixty-foot-tall section at its highest end that emphasized the steep mountain walls. The Ape City set presented unique challenges, particularly in regards to lighting. To get around that problem, Burton opted to not even try to create a sunlit, exterior effect, instead keeping the city in constant overcast; in dawn, in fog, or at evening. Establishing shots were composites of live-action filmed on the solidified lava fields below Mount Kilauea in Hawaii, digital set extensions produced at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and both miniature and matte-painted versions of Ape City. Among the forty-some shots contributed by Asylum Visual Effects was a composite of a dusky sky matte painting and distant Ape City as seen through the jungle.
- Ground rules for avoiding audience confusion included keeping the typically dark-colored chimps in flesh tones in order to distinguish them from gorillas.
- Tim Roth admitted he was "not comfortable" appearing opposite Charlton Heston, then president of the National Rifle Association. "I come from the exact opposite end of the political spectrum. Burton had to persuade me to do it. Finally, I decided that it was okay because it's fiction." Mark Wahlberg had similar reservations about Heston's casting, but didn't film any scenes with him.
- Charlton Heston had no problem with his brief scene even though it highlighted the perceived violent nature of firearms, said producer Richard D. Zanuck. "I was apprehensive when we wrote the scene and sent it to him. We didn't hear back from him for a while. Finally, I called him up and asked him what he thought of the lines. He said, 'Oh yeah, I think they're wonderful.' I thought, 'Oh, thank God, we got away with the gun'."
- Production Designer Rick Heinrichs had an idea regarding the new film's equivalent to the original's 'Statue of Liberty' shot: the mystical 'Temple of Semos' would in fact be the ancient wreckage of the Oberon. Not only would the revelation of the space station as the temple echo the 'surprise' ending of the first movie, the spiky effect of the engine spires would tie in visually with Lady Liberty's crown. "In the script it was originally written that this temple was in a lost city, but it wasn't necessary to Tim that it be that. Tim's story mind is less literal and more open to visual solutions: so when I presented this idea to him, it just felt right."
- ILM modelmakers created a five-foot fiberglass model of the 'Ape Lincoln' statue, along with a twelve-by-fifteen-foot miniature of the memorial for an over-the-statue shot..
- Sylvia Nava's hair department and twenty-five-person crew produced hair for 300 to 400 apes over the course of five months. A veteran wig maker, Nava had been with Rick Baker's Cinovation since Mighty Joe Young, but her first foray into the effects industry, coincidentally, was when she applied to do hair for the original Planet of the Apes - a job she failed to get because she was not yet expert in such arts as double-knotting hair through spandex. For years, Nava hoped she would get another crack at a Planet of the Apes production. "I was obsessed by it. When Rick told me we would be doing Planet of the Apes, I couldn't believe it!"
- To help market Planet of the Apes, Fox commissioned an internet marketing campaign that also involved 'geocaching'.
- Hasbro released a toy line, while Dark Horse Comics published a comic book adaptation and spin-off comic series.
- Fox Interactive worked on a video game adaptation, but it was never finished and released.
- The original release date for the film was July 4, 2001.
- Planet of the Apes was released on July 27, 2001 in 3,500 theatres across North America, earning $68,532,960 in its opening weekend. This was the second-highest opening weekend of 2001, behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
- The film went on to gross $180,011,740 in North America and $182,200,000 in foreign countries, accumulating a worldwide total of $362,211,740.
- Planet of the Apes was considered a financial success since the film out-grossed its $100 million budget.
- Planet of the Apes was the tenth-highest grossing film in North America, and ninth-highest worldwide for 2001 totals.The film is the third-highest grossing science fiction remake, behind War of the Worlds and I Am Legend.
Based on 153 reviews collected by 'Rotten Tomatoes', 45% of the critics enjoyed Planet of the Apes. The film was more balanced in Rotten Tomatoes' "Top Critics" poll, holding a 32% approval rating, based on 31 reviews. By comparison, 'Metacritic' collected an average score 50, receiving 34 reviews. Roger Ebert praised the ending, but felt the film did not have a balanced story structure. "The movie is great-looking. Rick Baker's makeup is convincing even in the extreme closeups, and his apes sparkle with personality and presence. The sets and locations give us a proper sense of alien awe," Ebert continued. "Tim Burton made a film that's respectful to the original, and respectable in itself, but that's not enough. Ten years from now, it will be the 1968 version that people are still renting." Peter Travers of 'Rolling Stone' also gave a mixed review. "Call it a letdown, worsened by the forces of shoddy screenwriting. To quote Heston in both films, 'Damn them, damn them all'."
Kenneth Turan of the 'Los Angeles Times' believed "the actors in the nonhuman roles are mostly too buried by makeup to make strong impressions. Unfortunately, none of the good work counts as much as you'd think it would," Turan said. "'Planet of the Apes' shows that taking material too seriously can be as much of a handicap as not taking it seriously at all." James Berardinelli gave positive feedback towards the acting performances. However, Berardinelli felt "this version could have bettered its predecessor. As it is, however, Burton's film is one more disappointment in a summer of lackluster blockbusters." Elvis Mitchell gave a positive reviews, feeling the script was balanced and the film served its right as "pure entertainment". Susan Wloszczyna of 'USA Today' enjoyed Planet of the Apes, feeling most of the credit should go to prosthetic makeup designer Rick Baker.
Much criticism drew against the confusing ending. Tim Roth, who portrayed General Thade, said "I cannot explain that ending. I have seen it twice and I don't understand anything." Helena Bonham Carter, who played Ari, said "I thought it made sense, kind of. I don't understand why everyone went, 'Huh?' It's all a time warp thing. He's gone back and he realizes Thade's beat him there." Tim Burton claimed the ending was not supposed to make any sense, but it was more of a cliffhanger to be explained in a possible sequel. "It was a reasonable cliffhanger that could be used in case Fox or another filmmaker wanted to do another movie," he explained. Roth (Supporting Actor), Bonham Carter (Supporting Actress), Colleen Atwood (Costume) and Rick Baker (Make-up) received nominations at the Saturn Awards. Atwood and Baker were nominated at the 55th British Academy Film Awards, while music composer Danny Elfman was nominated for his work at the 43rd Grammy Awards. Planet of the Apes won Worst Remake at the 22nd Golden Raspberry Awards, while Heston (Worst Supporting Actor) and Estella Warren (Worst Supporting Actress) also won awards.
Even though the film was a financial success, it failed to impress the fans of the original movies. Absent themes and dramatic changes to the story alienated it from the other films in large ways, and likely contributed to there never being a sequel.
Several elements of the original films survived, despite the significant script changes. Apart from some similar lines (previously spoken by humans, now by apes), you can see:
- the hero grabbing the lead female chimp through his cage to persuade her to save him
- an older ape (named Zaius) who knows of man's history on their planet, but conceals it
- a forbidden zone containing evidence of advanced human culture, protected by scarecrow-like figures
- humans kept as pets and slaves, a reversal of themes from Conquest, as well as the original film, where humans were enslaved for research and military uses
- the hero discussing his dislike for how humans mistreat each other in his time
- a mysterious astronaut revealing itself (to the surprise of onlookers) to be an ape
- the hero approaching ruins, first indistinct, then made familiar
- the word 'monkey' is being considered a derogatory or racial term
- a human hunt taking place early on, near a cliff, with nets being used
- humans identified as carrying disease, as well as being stupid and soulless animals
- an ape religion worshipping a god who created ape in his image, with some who disagree with it and instead pursue scientific knowledge of their history
- gorillas are shown as soldiers in the military and work handling humans as well
Colonel Attar: Take your stinking hands off me, you damn dirty human!!
General Thade: The humans infest the provinces. They breed too quickly while we grow soft in our affluence. Even now, they outnumber us four to one.
Senator Nado: The cost would be prohibitive...although our scientists do tell me these humans carry terrible diseases.
General Thade: Extremism in defense of apes is no vice, Senator. Your ideas threaten our prosperity. The human problem cannot be solved by simply throwing money at it.
General Thade: Everything in the human culture takes place below the waist.
Senator Nado: Next you'll be telling us these beasts have a soul.
Colonel Attar: The Senator's daughter flirts with blasphemy.
General Thade: Is there a soul in there?
Krull: Apes! Monkeys are further down the evolutionary ladder...just above humans.
Colonel Attar: These humans are different. They travel with apes.
- Planet of the Apes (2001) article at Wikipedia
- Planet of the Apes (2001) entry at the Internet Movie Database (IMDB)
- Ape Crusaders (behind the scenes at Trona Pinnacles), by Benjamin Svetkey - Entertainment Weekly (April 27, 2001)
- Planet of the Apes (2001), at Horror World
- ↑ Review and Plot Summary at Movieprop.com
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Tales From Development Hell, by David Hughes
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Peter Jackson: A Film-maker's Journey, by Brian Sibley
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Oliver's Apes, by David E. Williams - 'Sci-Fi Universe' (July 1994)
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 The Planet of the Apes Chronicles, by Paul A. Woods
- ↑ 'Monkey Business' (Entertainment Weekly), by Cindy Pearlman
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 'The Apes of Wrath' (Entertainment Weekly), by Anne Thompson
- ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 Planet of the Apes Fanclub news page
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 Inside the Planet of the Apes, by Mark Cotta Vaz - Cinefex #87 (October 2001)
- ↑ 'Monkey Business' (Entertainment Weekly), by Jeffrey Wells
- ↑ Killer Instinct, by Jane Hamsher
- ↑ Linda Harrison Interview - The Forbidden Zone (about 1998)
- ↑ 'Zanucks urge Polanski to return to U.S.' (Variety), by Army Archerd
- ↑ 'Ape Crusaders' (Entertainment Weekly), by Benjamin Svetkey
- ↑ 'About Face' (Entertainment Weekly), by Josh Wolk
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 Burton on Burton, by Mark Salisbury & Tim Burton
- ↑ Ape Couture, Helena Bonham Carter, Colleen Atwood
- ↑ DVD audio commentary, Tim Burton
- ↑ Steven Horn interview with Paul Giamatti
- ↑ The Legend of the Planet of the Apes by Brian Pendreigh (reprinted in 'Night & Day' (2001))
- ↑ Going 'Ape', by Amy Barrett
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 'Simian Says' (Entertainment Weekly), 2001