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"Rise" article (possible spoilers)

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  • Jeff K.
    The August 2011 issue of SCI- FI (the official magazine of the Sci-fi Channel) has the first print article I ve seen of Rise of the POTA . It doesn t seem
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 2011
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        The August 2011 issue of "SCI- FI" (the official magazine of the Sci-fi Channel) has the first print article I've seen of "Rise of the POTA". It doesn't seem to be on the internet so I guess this is my exclusive.  ; )
        There's nothing really spoilery about it for those who read my other posts, but for the squeamish about knowing anything (touchy, isn't he?), be warned.
         These interviews were done at the same time as the other on-set interviews about a year ago but here they seem to be implying that "Rise" IS a prequel to the original. The director says, "In this film, we see television footage of the Icarus taking off from Earth, so that's a clear reference to the 1968 film because that's the ship Charlton Heston and his crew were on. We've also incorporated elements from ("Conquest"), in terms of how the apes begin to revolt, but this is primarily a prequel to the 1968 film... Caesar is a revolutionary figure who will be talked about by his fellow apes for centuries... This is just the first step in the evolution of the apes, and there's a lot more stories to tell after this. I imagine the next film will be about the all-out war between the apes and humans".
        I still say it won't completely work as a prequel to the original because the original Taylor was a 21st Century astronaut. As well as all the knowing references like Landon, Dodge, etc. It just wouldn't work in a timeline I subscribe to. But it could leave an opening for a remake of the original down the road. The creators seem kind of wishy washy about the prequel thing. Maybe they just want fans to have their cake and eat it too for now.
        Anyway, director Rupert Wyatt certainly has taken the original to heart: "The 1968 film clearly represented the culture of it's time and I think our film does too. Our story takes place in a world of corporate pollution, economic unrest, the war on terrorism, and on and on. In this film we're planting the seeds for how our civilization came to an end and how a new civilization, a new world ape order, could rise to power".
        The writer, Rick Jaffa, talks about the evolution of "Rise": "The way I work is that I gather a lot of ideas and magazine articles and just spread them on the living room floor and try to find my inspiration, and that's what happened with "Rise of the POTA". I read a really moving, powerful article in GQ about a man who was attacked by his pet chimp, and it was such a great article that inspired me to want to do a story about the relationship between man and Mother Nature, and especially about people raising chimps. Eventually, I realized that the theme of the article, of nature fighting back, was similar to the theme of POTA and that the two might be compatible".
        I guess he thought of doing a new take on "Apes" because the franchise was in the toilet post- POTA2001. But he brought it to Fox (in 2006) and "we started talking about how we could arrange the dominoes to show what led to the events of the 1968 film, and we thought it would be interesting. Looking back, I think Amanda (Silver) and I could've made a non-"Apes" film, but I'm glad we did this because the last scene in the 1968 film represents exactly the kind of story I wanted to tell. The apes didn't put Charlton Heston on the beach, man did. And I wanted to explore that kind of hubris, and the idea of nature fighting back. It wasn't as if the Charlton Heston character was the most sympathetic in the world. In fact, he was a real ass".
        And then the story developed from there, with Caesar as the engine: "I look at Caesar as being the Che Guevara type of revolutionary figure. Other elements in the script evolved over time, such as the Alzheimer's element, which wasn't in the original story but was developed over 3 or 4 drafts of the script. The one constant idea throughout is that we're going to hell in a hand-basket and that Charlton Heston was right when he said that man had really gone and done it".
        Like the director, Jaffa also hints here it's a prequel (though he said it was it's own thing in other interviews): "There is a war in this film, a riot, and an epic climax on the Golden Gate Bridge, but it's not quite the nuclear type of war that's destined to follow. We definitely think this story is a great platform for future films and that's why we're only showing the early stages of the ape uprising because we think this is an interesting story".
       As for star James Franco's two cents on the originals, he says, "some of those were really campy. I definitely think the 1968 film is a classic. I also watched a great film called "Koko: The Talking Gorilla" from director Barbet Schroeder, which was really interesting.  I also did a lot of research in terms of genetic engineering and apes". Franco got right in tune with the production: "When I heard WETA was doing the effects, and that the cinematographer from "Lord of the Rings", Andrew Lesnie, was shooting the film, it made me very comfortable. Andy Serkis is great". As for the concept: "I see this film as very much a Frankenstein kind of story... Will's a tragic figure because his actions lead to the destruction of mankind, although his intentions were very good in terms of wanting to save his father".
        Director Wyatt concurs: "The film doesn't argue against science and technology and the great strides that have been made with genetic engineering. This story is about what happens when Man goes too far... The story is about a scientist, a good man, who's driven to become the next Dr. Frankenstein, and the real reasons he has for doing that, which are personal reasons combined with some hubris. I think the story also has elements of "The Elephant Man" and the John Merrick story in terms of how we deal with freaks in our society". He also says, "The lab was somewhat modeled after "All the President's Men" just in terms of the movement throughout it and the intense feeling you get in there, although we also studied many real labs".
       The original films were a source of inspiration for "Rise" but Burton's version was less so. A popular joke on the set was: "How many POTA2001s does it take to screw in a light bulb?" The answer: "Theoretically, a movie can't change a light bulb but it only takes one POTA2001 to screw over an audience". AH HA! HA! HA! HA! OK, I made that up, but producer Dylan Clark has his own sense of humor: "Was there a remake of POTA? No, seriously, I don't think anyone was very happy with the last film, even though it was a financial success. When the movie came out, you could feel the ill-will among the fan base, and I shared that feeling. With this film, I think we have a chance to create a smart tent-pole franchise, much like what happened with "The Dark Knight", which was a big inspiration for this project, just in terms of how smart that film was".
        Also, congrats to "Rise" producers Dylan Clark and Peter Chernin. They run Chernin Entertainment (the C E logo at the beginning of the trailers) and "Rise" is their first production out of the gate. They are mainly based at Fox but it was announced today that they are doing their (first?) project outside of Fox, the big Tom Cruise sci-fi movie "Oblivion" for Universal. Hopefully "Rise" rocks so we can look forward to that. 
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