Rupert Wyatt Discusses ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’

Published 4 years ago by

rise of the planet of the apes caesar andy serkis Rupert Wyatt Discusses Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Just a couple of weeks ago, there was little to no discussion going on about Fox’s Planet of the Apes prequel. Now the film – which recently gained a new title, Rise of the Planet of the Apes – has begun generating a good deal of positive buzz, thanks in no small part to yesterday’s release of the Apes teaser trailer.

Director Rupert Wyatt spoke out recently about the sci-fi prequel, and offered some tidbits of information about its computer-generated primates, contemporary cautionary-tale storyline, and how Rise of the Planet of the Apes resembles (and differs) from previous franchise installments.

Wyatt sat down for an interview with First Showing about the Apes prequel and had the following to say about how it compares to its predecessors:

“The original ['Planet of the Apes'] was made in 1968, that’s over 40 years ago. We’re telling a story that has never been told before in many ways, which is a real-world contemporary narrative set in 2011 about how the apes started the revolution. Now I know there has been a different take on how that happens with the earlier films, but this is actually setting up perhaps a more scientific approach to why that happened.”

The director also cited Conquest of the Planet of the Apes as being “closest” in design to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, likening his approach with the prequel to that of Christopher Nolan’s with Batman Begins:

“… If you are able to offer something that has a fresh perspective and actually takes the subject matter seriously, if it takes the mythology seriously, then that’s giving it proper respect it deserves. I think it means nothing to replicate.”

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Rupert Wyatt Discusses Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the first in the franchise to create super-intelligent primates via the use of CGI and motion-capture technology – as opposed to makeup and prosthetics. So why exactly did Wyatt and his technical crew on the film choose to go that route?

“It was a narrative issue, frankly. Our story is an origin story. It takes place in the modern day. For the most part in the film it deals with real apes – real orangutans, real gorillas, real chimpanzees. The other films in the franchise don’t do that. They deal with humanoid apes, so therefore you can have a human play a chimpanzee in an ape suit. But that was just never the case. There was no way that we could ever physically achieve that because we’re talking about chimpanzees as we know them.”

The ape Caesar (as portrayed by mo-cap veteran Andy Serkis) leads the revolution against his human captors; as Wyatt describes it, the evolution of that character is one of the most intriguing parts of the new Apes movie:

“There were pivotal moments within our story where we had certain things happen to Caesar along the way as he’s growing up that change him fundamentally. I always looked to the story of John Merrick and ‘The Elephant Man’ for this in that he’s different from us and he has an innocence and an optimistic look upon the world. We deviate slightly from ‘The Elephant Man’ in that Caesar makes a transition to a darker personality, to a darker character, because he realizes that there is no way that he can rely upon human kindness and humanity itself to save him or to help him. He will always be the same as the rest of the other apes in this film, which is very much exploited. That’s what brings about the revolution; that is the seed.”

James Franco Rise of the Planet of the Apes Rupert Wyatt Discusses Rise of the Planet of the Apes

James Franco in 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'.

Wyatt is keeping mum about specific details concerning how things will go down in Rise of the Plant of the Apes, but he did mention the following – with respect to how he would describe the film in general:

“Is it an action movie? Is it not an action movie? Is it a drama? I mean, it’s everything. In many ways it’s a fairy tale. It’s a Bible story. If you’re talking about how many set pieces there are in this film, that doesn’t really interest me. The story is the payoff. But what I will say is that by the time the revolution starts, we are talking about a huge catalyst and a huge action set piece.”

Finally, if Wyatt and 20th Century Fox get their way, the Apes prequel will be the first of several new installments in the franchise. Here’s what Wyatt says about how his film lays the foundation for at least one more sequel:

“['Rise of the Planet of the Apes'] is about leveling the playing field in terms of if a revolution were to start in our day and age with a species that was looking to take on humanity, I think we could all safely say that it wouldn’t have a chance in hell. We are the alpha of our world. But if you were to take certain things away from us, whether it be numbers or technology or whatever you want to call it, of course there’s that chance.”

Rise of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters this summer on August 5th. How’s it looking to you so far?

For more with Wyatt, be sure to check out his full interview with First Showing.

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  1. How would some genetically modified Apes take on the almost 7 billion population of humans on Earth? The humans have all the technology and guns, and know how to use it. I just don’t see how the Apes can make Earth into the Planet of the Apes.

    They don’t have the advantage that the Apes had in the original (Man nuking himself before Apes evolved, gained higher intelligence, and created a society).

    • Indeed.

    • I’m not saying I think it’s possible; i’m just answering your question…

      Various simians are much stronger and much faster than humans. Add to that the stealthy qualities such creatures naturally possess and the chaos caused by the sudden intellectual explosion of all of these apes and monkies, the evolved simians would, in fact, be able to get quite far. Now of course, there things like decoys and access codes and jets and satellite tracking that humans use in the modern world that would cause problems for even the sneakiest attackers and subversives, BUT the movie should (ideally) explain such problematic concerns…

        • I’m sorry, which is most feasible?

          • The original plot from the book (which I synopsized) and the Heston movie version where man blew it up and the apes evolved from the ashes. I just don’t buy the apes bring able to wipe out 7 BILLION people.

            • Read the article before you start making assumptions, look at Wyatt’s last comment about leveling the playing field in our time.

              • The original ‘nuke’ story may still stand, the film does state itself as a prequel, not a reboot, or even a ‘re-imagining’, so we can only assume that what we learn in the previous films still stand, until we watch the film to see for ourselves of course.

                • But can I just say, if they do go against previous films it wouldn’t be the first Ape instalment to do this. The live action TV series, set more or less around the original film’s setup, had humans that TALK walking around everywhere!

              • You talk to me about supposedly making assumptions and direct me to reading HIS gross speculation? I was speaking from a purely feasible and logical standpoint about which plots I feel work better. Hardly an assumption about anything, just my opinion.

                Sure if the writers decide that suddenly all people become idiots, that all tech stops working, that 99% of the human population drops dead of some horrible and mysterious monkey plague or other outrageous scenarios, yes the playing field will be leveled but they are all pretty unbelievable to try to make the plot work.

                The most feasible however is the plague idea but the catch to that one is what usually affects Humans will also infect primates.

                • They will come up with something better than that, a large part of the orignial Planet of the Apes movies dealt with alternate futures, past and universes so they could play on that if they wanted to change a part of the original plot. Yes you are making assumptions, where do you gather that the apes are going to wipe out the human race, wait for some more information or this will turn into a Superman thread.

    • I have a feeling the movie will take care of that factor in some form or another, Wyatt kind of hints at it in his last comment about laying the foundation for sequels.

  2. ‘we are the alpha of the world’ hahah that’s why we’re running out of natural resources (oil etc), killing each other for said resources and for power, have corrupt governments that only think of themselves (power/money), and only a small portion of the worlds population are smart/willing to try new things to advance technology/help needy countries out etc.

    imo the animals are smarter, they’ve learnt to adapt and evolve to suit certain environments and challenges, we humans are pathetic and greedy, WE should be called apes.

    just my 2 cents worth… not that anyone cares or will take it seriously ;)

    • Well, even if we had no technology and still lived in caves, we would still be the Alphas, but I know what you’re saying.

  3. I just hope it has some surprises to reveal. As it looks, it is all kind of familiar. I, Robot has a similar story, as does the Terminator franchise, and even Battlestar Galactica: Man creates intelligent beings that ultimately attempt to control or destroy him.

    Still, I look forward to seeing the cgi apes, as the technology fascinates me.

  4. Is no one else blown away by the trailer. I found it freaky as hell. I’m really looking forward to this. It has the potential to be a modern classic.

    • Agent Smith,

      It looked really, really good to me as well – other than James Franco. Nothing against the guy personally… maybe it’s because I just saw him in Your Highness or something. There’s just a very shallow quality about him on screen. Of course I haven’t seen 127 Hours yet.


  5. I agree vic, I saw 127 hours and personally didn’t fall in love with it. I like james franco for sure but I don’t think hes a ridiculously amazing actor. I’ll always think of pineapple express… But I have to agree with agent smith in the fact that I was blown away by the trailer. It totally exceeded my expectations. It reminded me of the impending doom and sense of dread you got from I am Legend. And of course its always a joy to watch andy serkis do his thing. I just got excited for this one.

  6. As a stand alone I thought this was a good flick. Having a hard time accepting it as a prequel though. I agree with early posts by mongoose. And even if humans are mostly wiped out by the inferred virus, the times are very different. How do we go from being so technologically advanced, to using primitive weapons and tools as in the original? I have a hard time seeing it being (even an imagined) reality. There’s talk of a trilogy, so I look forward to seeing what they do next. They will have to remake and modernize the originals too to make this believable for me.