20th Century Fox has always wanted Andy Serkis to reprise his acclaimed motion-capture performance as the ape Caesar in the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes (obviously). However, Serkis’ original deal for the hit Planet of the Apes franchise reboot/prequel (or, rather, “requel”) did not come with a sequel option – so, technically, he wasn’t a lock for the followup.
Studio heads have now closed a deal with the mo-cap aficionado, who will be paid a tidy seven-figure sum for his role in the Apes sequel – one which is (currently) still in the very early stages of development.
Deadline says that Rise of the Planet of the Apes screenwriting duo Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are set to return for the sequel, along with Serkis and director Rupert Wyatt. The latter previously revealed some of the possible setups he was considering for the next installment in the refurnished Planet of the Apes series, but has yet to (officially) settle on any one of them.
[Warning, Rise of the Planet of the Apes SPOILERS below]
One plot point the Apes “requel” distinctly set up for was the spread of a human-engineered virus around the globe, which could mean the followup will (to some degree) resemble a pandemic drama/thriller like Contagion – albeit, one where non-human sapiens also take advantage of the ensuing chaos and social meltdown to establish a new world order.
It’s partially for that reason that neither of the two main human protagonists who were still alive by the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes – ie. Will Rodman (James Franco) and Caroline Aranha (Freida Pinto) – are guaranteed to return in the sequel. Serkis as Caesar, on the other hand, will definitely play an important role in the film, regardless of the narrative setup Jaffa, Silver, and Wyatt ultimately select to move ahead with.
On a somewhat different note: Deadline is also reporting that Fox will in fact campaign for Serkis to receive an Oscar-nomination for his technologically-aided performance as Caesar. Many a moviegoer would surely agree that he deserves it, if only for his (impressive) collective mo-cap work – including his turns as the shriveled Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the upcoming Hobbit adaptation, the namesake of Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake, and the burly Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin.
Whether or not Serkis will actually get the recognition he arguably deserves is, of course, another matter altogether…
We will continue to keep you posted on the Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel as the story develops.