20th Century Fox’s reboot/prequel (requel? preboot?) Rise of the Planet of the Apes looks to by and large impress moviegoers with its use of cutting-edge motion-capture technology to bring the titular simians to life.
Apes star Andy Serkis and director Rupert Wyatt have announced their intentions to utilize that same mo-cap tech in order to realize another story ripe with non-human characters on the big screen: George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Wyatt mentioned the idea to Empire, saying he and Serkis have already discussed the possibility of realizing Orwell’s classic tale on the big screen. The project is only in the planning stage at this point, but could conceivably begin pre-production as soon as within a year’s time.
Orwell’s 1945 Animal Farm novel takes place on an English countryside farm, where the local critters stage a revolution against their human masters. The farm’s pigs take advantage of the situation and install a new but corrupt social structure that allows them to rule over their fellow animals – a setup that serves as a thinly-veiled allegory for Joseph Stalin’s eventual rise to power in the Soviet Union, in the aftermath of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.
Unlike Robert Zemeckis’ mo-cap literary adaptations (The Polar Express, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol), Animal Farm is the kind of story that requires some sort of technical wizardry in order to bring the majority of its characters to life on the big screen in non-animated form. The Jim Henson company previously designed animatronics for the 1999 TV movie adaptation of Orwell’s novel – and depending on your feelings about practical vs. digital effects work, you might prefer any future live-action adaptation(s) to follow suit and pass on using CGI in order to realize talking animals on the big screen.
However, a lot of people have become increasingly receptive about the idea of using mo-cap to create non-human characters, based on the excellent results in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong remake – not to mention, the Na’vi in James Cameron’s Avatar.
Serkis is also very much pushing for the art form to continue. Following his turn as Caesar in this summer’s new Planet of the Apes movie, he’ll be delivering another mo-cap performance in Steven Spielberg’s Adventures of Tintin this winter – and, of course, in Jackson’s currently-filming two-part adaptation of The Hobbit.
The success or failure of Rise of the Planet of the Apes will certainly affect the possibility of Wyatt and Serkis joining forces again on an Animal Farm movie in the future. So far, the former has been praised for featuring what appears to be the most realistic and expressive digitally-rendered characters ever put to film.
If the box office receipts for Apes are good, don’t be surprised to hear about increased studio interest in an Animal Farm adaptation that utilizes the talents of both Wyatt and Serkis.
Source: Empire (via The Playlist)