The long rumored Planet of the Apes prequel, which remains tentatively titled Caesar: Rise of the Apes, continues to look like more of a certainty with every passing day.  First, special effects expert Aaron Sims was attached to the project and now Production Weekly is reporting that 20th Century Fox has scheduled shooting for the film to commence this upcoming July.

For concerned readers that have not kept up with some of our past articles on this new Planet of the Apes flick, rest assured that this new film will not be connected to the atrocious 2001 Tim Burton re-imagining of Planet of the Apes.  Rather, Caesar: Rise of the Apes will be a prequel to the original 1968 film starring Charlton Heston and will supposedly focus on the exploits of the not-so-subtly named Caesar, a chimpanzee who leads a revolt against humanity that results in the futuristic ape-dominated society seen in Planet of the Apes.  That would be the same Caesar that led a similar rebellion against his human captors in the 1972 sequel Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

The screenplay for the film has been retooled by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver following the departure of original writer/director Scott Frank back in January.  British filmmaker Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) was reportedly hired to take over directorial responsibilities on Caesar: Rise of the Apes after the fallout between Frank and Fox Studio officials over the direction of the film left the project looking temporarily dead at the beginning of this year.

Early word was that studio officials found Scott Frank’s take on the project too dark and convoluted for their tastes.  Hopefully, the script re-writes will not exercise too much in the way of intelligence and complexity from Frank’s original draft in the hopes of making Caesar: Rise of the Apes more of a popcorn flick with mass appeal.

It will be interesting to see where the filmmakers go with the project, both in terms of story and visual style.  Will it be more of a thinking man’s sci-fi film like the original Planet of the Apes film?  Will it favor big-budget action sequences and set pieces over clever dialogue like (ugh) Burton’s remake did?  Will the apes themselves take on a more realistic design (again, like in Burton’s show) or will their look be more in the dated but classic vein of the original Planet of the Apes?

No word yet on whether any well-known stars will appear in Caesar: Rise of the Apes but that will most certainly change soon.  Fox studio officials are definitely hoping for this flick to be the first in a newly rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise so don’t be surprised to hear about some big name celebrities signing up for this prequel over the upcoming weeks.

No word yet on a possible release date for Caesar: Rise of the Apes but you can expect an official announcement on that in the near future.

Source: Production Weekly