Many a story was written over the weekend, concerning how Rise of the Planet of the Apes has successfully washed away the memories of Tim Burton's panned 2001 Planet of the Apes movie and rejuvenated the decades-old science fiction franchise.
Hence why discussions about a sequel (or more) to the Apes prequel have already gotten underway, given the film's better-than-expected opening weekend at the box office.
Director Rupert Wyatt has spoken out about his plans for future installments in the series, as well as an adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm novel that employs the same motion-capture technology used to create Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his simian comrades in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2
“There’s so much we could do… The ideas I’ve had are all sorts of things, ranging from 'Full Metal Jacket' with apes… you could start this story again eight years from where we left off, the next generation of apes, those that have come from our protagonists, perhaps going in to a conflict with humans and showing real fear, in the same way as going into war for young soldiers in this day and age, telling their story. Or how apes are taking over cities, and being moved into human environments and having to interact with them and deal with things that are part of our culture and understand and evolve through them. Spies that are in the employ of the apes, working against humans and humans maybe existing underground, because that’s a way they can avoid the virus, coming up above ground wearing gas masks, and maybe that’s what dehumanises them.”
One quality that many people seem to admire about Rise of the Planet of the Apes is how it blends elements from a variety of genre films (sci-fi cautionary tale, classic melodrama, prison escape thriller, effects-heavy blockbuster) to create a final product that feels fresher than you might expect for a rebooting prequel in a film franchise that's been around since the late 1960s.
That's all to say: It sounds like Wyatt has plans to do likewise with future Planet of the Apes movies - should he be given the opportunity to make them - while also amping up the political and societal allegories that were overtly present in previous installments. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?
Word got out just a month ago that Wyatt and Serkis had been talking about the idea of using WETA's performance-capture technology to realize the animal characters of Orwell's famous allegorical novel, Animal Farm, in a new film adaptation. Well, as it turns out, that's what the project is right now: just talk.
To quote Wyatt directly, on the topic of Animal Farm:
"Nothing [has happened] as yet. [Andy and I] tallked about in on set, quite a lot… [performance capture] is such a great technology to do that story, to do it in such a way that it would be interesting. We haven’t really got to a stage where we tried to visualise it… though Andy did some early work and sent it to me. We thought we could set it in the modern day, in factory farms, and in a way that would reference our world of mass produce. But we haven’t started writing a script or anything. We haven’t got the rights."
Wyatt and Serkis are definitely a hot pair right now, following the positive reception for their Apes prequel, so it doesn't seem like that much of a stretch to say they could secure the rights to Orwell's story without too much hassle. An Animal Farm movie wouldn't be as marketable a project as other upcoming mo-cap pics (like The Adventures of Tintin), but it does have the sort of brand recognition value that Hollywood has become more obsessed with in recent years. So there's definitely hope for this still-theoretical project.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is currently playing in theaters.
"Animal Farm" artwork source: Michael Steadman