With a second weekend on top of the box office, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is kindly reminding audiences that Caesar and pals aren't going away any time soon. Matt Reeves and his signature brand of storytelling have brought the Planet Of The Apes back into the blockbuster fold, and in a uniquely heartfelt way. Yet we almost didn't get the film that we saw in theaters. In fact, if one of the original screenplay drafts held over into production, we'd have seen apes smoking e-cigarettes and speaking perfect English. You read that correctly.
When Yahoo UK interviewed director Matt Reeves and star Andy Serkis, they talked a little about the interim period between Reeves' installment as director of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and the departure of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes director Rupert Wyatt. Apparently a draft was written during the changing of the guard that would have caught up with the Apes at a more evolved point in their history. Of course, once Mr. Reeves took over, a new story was in the offing, and Serkis himself described just what the director was going for in his approach.
"Matt wanted to linger in Caesar's journey a lot longer that perhaps it could have gone. He wanted to make it a Caesar-centric story and reach a point where it was still early enough to see the apes evolving. That was a crucial place that Matt dropped anchor and made the film that he wanted to make."
Matt Reeves has made no secret that he wants to take the low and slow path towards the original events of Planet Of The Apes, and looking at how and why he changed the ending to Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is further proof that he doesn't want to take things too fast with his simian horde. I would even venture a guess as to say that he may have jumped the gun a little bit in opening his sequel 10 years into the future. After all, the short films and novel that filled the gap between Rise and Dawn proved that there's still a wealth of storytelling left in the downfall of humanity. So long as he's consistently bringing in the dough and offsetting huge projects with enormous budgetary risk (*cough* Avatar 2-4 *cough*), 20th Century Fox should have no problem issuing greenlights for Reeves, or any other auteur that decides to take the reins of humanity's downfall.
Of course, the big question is whether the updated Planet Of The Apes franchise will lead to another, more faithful remake of the 1968 original, or if the plan is to just connect this re-imagined origin story with the film everyone knows and loves. So long as those involved with the success of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes are involved in the process, either outcome is favorable. Though all of this talk has to make you wonder, what did Rupert Wyatt have planned for the franchise's next step?
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is in theaters now.