Rise of the Planet of the Apes was quite the success for Twentieth Century Fox, and its ending set the foundation for a new Apes franchise. At Saturday’s San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H panel, Fox unveiled the first look at the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
On the panel were director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), who takes the helm for this sequel from Rupert Wyatt, stars Jason Clarke and Keri Russell, who joined Andy Serkis reprising the role of Caesar. Entertainment Weekly’s Geoff Boucher moderated.
Reeves said when he was growing up, he always wanted to be an ape after seeing the original series of Apes films, and wearing rubber masks weren’t enough for him. It wasn’t until Rise of the Planet of the Apes that he realized it could be possible to be an ape through the magic of digital acting. With that in mind, he wanted to take forward what Andy Serkis had done in Rise and create a Caesar-centric story for the sequel.
Serkis said his greatest challenge for the sequel was to portray Caesar as a leader guiding the apes into a peaceful egalitarian society. The sequel takes place at least ten years on as Caesar has a family and leads an ape council to decide how to treat the human astronauts who return to earth. Russell was fascinated by the thought of two communities of species fighting to survive. Clarke was amazed to see the digital ape actors wearing the acting suits and pretending to be apes on stage. For Reeves what is so great about the Apes franchise is that it’s really an allegory on humans as the apes and how we attempt to be more human.
Then Reeves showed a 3D clip for which he apologized wouldn’t be too ape heavy as Weta Digital is still working on many of the effects for. In the clip we see Gary Oldman calling out to into a forest for the attention of Caesar in an appeal to make peace between apes and humans after years of fighting. We then see a tight close-up on Caesar’s angry face as we pull out to see him wielding a deadly spear, standing in the forest amongst other ape soldiers in the trees.
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