Apes Remake News Archive 6/95-7/99
Here's our original commentary for the Remake News Page:
The following are some of the latest press notices and bits of information
about the new Planet of the Apes film that has been in the works for a
while. Early reports were disappointing, with two drafts of the script (see
5/25/97 for one storyline) that bore little resemblance to the original film or
the novel. Why even call it Planet of the Apes? Then James Cameron took
over the project (hooray!), and things were looking much better. Now,
unfortunately, Cameron is off the project, but Fox still seems committed to make
this film at some point in the future. The big questions now are: when and by
For the record, we're excited about the possibility of a new Apes
film, but firmly believe that doing a remake of the original is the wrong way to
go (for more on our opinion of a remake, read our Sacred Scrolls column, "Remake Planet of the Apes? What Can Be Fixed?").
There's plenty of room in the Apes mythos to make another series of films based
in another time frame, after the events of Battle. Not only is this a
better approach from a creative standpoint, it makes more financial sense, too.
If Fox remakes the first one, do they then remake the sequels, too?
July 12, 1999 (From Dark Horizons)
Planet of the Apes: Screenwriter William Broyles ("Apollo 13",
"Cast Away") is currently writing the latest script for the 'Apes'
remake, but his appointment came after numerous attempts from other writers were
knocked back. The most recent writer to receive the kickback before Broyles was
onboard was Sam Hamm ("Batman", "Monkey Bone")
who wrote an entirely different take on the story. 'MuvieMan7' read Hamm's draft
and gives his review of it, the 'Apes' project which might have been but
"Planet of the Apes - A Review by 'MuvieMan7'
(Mixed - Major Spoilers)
A few weeks ago I was able to get my hands on Sam Hamm's first
draft of the Planet of the Apes remake. I am a fan of the Apes series and have
enjoyed his other scripts (though I haven't read his Batman 2 or Fantastic Four
scripts). The basic premises is that a virus is sent to us from another planet.
The virus in question makes babies die of old age when born. A team of NASA
scientists are sent to the distant planet to find a cure. Sure enough, the
planet they land on is the planet of the apes.
(spoilers begin) The first thirty pages or so are very formulaic
but fun. It opens with a spaceship crashing in New York harbor on the fourth of
July. The next day the millitary opens the vessel to discover an ape. One of the
young soliders shoots at the ape and kills it, it's blood contaminating the
water. Nine months later babies are being born dying from old age, and Dr. Susan
Landis from the center of disease control is going to find out why. She is then
recruited, because of her work, for the top seceret mission of going to the
planet where the virus came from. The head of this expedition is Alexander Troy,
a part that seems to be written whith someone like Arnold in mind. Once they
reach the planet, the script begins to deteriorate. Their ship crashes into a
lake, and Troy has to save Susan from the icy deapths. Their suits fill with
water so they are forced to get rid of them (which saves their lives later on).
They meet a group of primative humans and are worshiped as gods. Unfortunatly
the an army of gorilla apes comes along to hunt and capture some humans. Several
of the team members are killed and Troy and Susan are taken to Ape City.
In my opinion, the script begins to take a turn for the worst at
this point. Ape City is just like one of our cities except people swing from
monkey bars overhead instead of walking on the sidewalk. Almost everything else
in ape culture is just like ours. Movies, TV, music. It's all because it's been
ripped off by the Orangutans. They have developed satillite technology which
they use to pick up earth signals. The Orangs simply repackage everything we
have accomplished and claim it as there own. This makes them the un-questioned
leaders of ape society. I see the point Hamm is trying to make here (I think)
but it doesn't seem to work. The script then turns into a combination of the ape
filmsin a way. Each movie seems to be noted throughout the script. Troy talks
and becomes a cutltural sensation, Susan is captured by 'Lord' Zuis and is
forced to work for him because he threatens her unborn child (this is a major
plot point). Susan comes up with a virus that effects the orangutans and they
are forced to help the humans escape. Once Zauis gets a cure he double crosses
Troy, Susan and the rest of the good guys by having an army or flying gorillas
attack them! This is obvioulsy the worst part of the script. It's an army of
gorillas with jet packs! Couldn's Hamm think of anything better for the final
battle? Well, anyway, Troy, Susan, Zira and some perimative humans make it back
to earth only to discover that it too, has become the planet of the apes. I like
the final plot twist but have a major problem with it, Troy and Susan leave
earth in the year 2000. They get back in 2073. Despite the fact that the human
species was killed off, how did (on earth) evolve so fast?
The characters aren't exactly strong either. Troy and Susan are
flat action heros with no real deapth. Corneliuns and Zira are a little more
complex and intresting but turn to mush by the end. And finally Doctor Zauis (or
"Lord" Zauis as he's refered to in this script) is not trying to do
what's best for his people like in the original, instead, he's just plain evil.
The dialouge is no winner too with lines like High Preist: Where are we going?
Cornelius: Straight to hell... your holiness.
I really wanted this to work and that's why I bought it despite
the bad buzz. If any of you reading this have also read Hamm's draft or another
draft, let me know at MuvieMan7@aol.com. I'd be intrested to hear what you
June 25, 1999 (From Cinescape
Bay Going To 'Tennessee'
Those of you speculating that Michael Bay might have dropped out
of the Phone Booth production in order to lobby for the gig helming
Sony's Spider-Man movie might want to take notice of this development. It
turns out that the Armageddon helmer is joining together with familiar
collaborator Jerry Bruckheimer and Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace on a
picture for Disney called Tennessee.
Although no script has been developed as yet for the World War
II drama, Variety reports that a production agreement has been made guaranteeing
that the parties attached will make the film when the script is ready. No
timetable was offered as to when production will roll, but one must wonder
whether Tennessee will have any ill effect on Fox's oft-delayed Planet
of the Apes remake currently planned for a Summer 2001 release, which Bay
has been widely associated with as director. Set against the backdrop of the
Pearl Harbor bombings, Tennessee will tell the story of two brothers, one
enlisted with the British Royal Air Force and the other with the U.S. Air Force,
who fall in love with the same woman.
March 25, 1999 (From Cinescape
‘Planet of the Apes’ Details
During ShoWest, Fox’s Bill Mechanic officially confirmed that their Planet
of the Apes movie project is finally moving forward with a script currently
being written by Bill Broyles anticipating a summer 2001 release. As previously
reported in the Insider, Michael Bay (Armageddon, The Rock) is
said to be very interested in directing the new Apes film though he may
make some changes to appeal to contemporary audiences, this according to the
The budget for the film is now believed to be in the $100-140M range, though
Fox is said to be keeping mum on this point. Word has it that Bay will shift
over to the Apes project after working on the relatively easy Rear
Window-esque Phone Booth, also for Fox. The trade also reports that Bay
intends to "youthify" Apes by using a "teen-friendly cast." Webmaster
Note: Please say it ain't so! Not a "She's All That On the Planet of the
Furthermore, Stan Winston, who was a part of this project when James Cameron
was still interested, is expected to stay attached to the Apes project. It has
been rumored that Winston has already done a number of tests that look great and
allow a performer to "act" even though buried in rubber.
There’s just one possible wrench in the works. Word has it that Bay is
contractually obligated to do his next two films for Disney. Hmmm, I wonder if
Disney might jump in to Apes in a co-producing deal that would share the
cost of that estimated big budget. (Webmaster Note: Disney co-producing Apes?
That sounds almost as frightening as the "teen-friendly cast.")
March 12, 1999 (From Cinescape
Broyles On 'Apes'
Fox confirmed today for the Insider that [screenwriter] William Broyles, of Apollo
13, Entrapment and Cast Away, is developing a brand-new
version of the Planet of the Apes remake for Fox. As reportedly
previously in the Insider, the much-delayed movie is slated for a summer 2001
March 11, 1999 (From Cinescape
'Apes' Set For 2001
Although Fox's presentation at ShoWest was dominated by Star Wars: Episode
One -- The Phantom Menace, studio honcho Bill Mechanic found time to talk
about some of Fox's other hot properties. Much to the Insider's pleasure,
Cinescape reporter Frank Kurtz told me that the exec announced that the Planet
of the Apes remake will finally make it into theaters for Summer 2001. The
audience's response to the announcement was very positive. Meanwhile, The X-Men
seems to be set as one of Fox's major event films for Summer 2000. At the Fox
party, a big banner sporting the X-Men logo hung from the wall.
February 23, 1999 (From Cinescape Online)
Bay Talks Future Projects
Michael Bay, director of Armageddon and The Rock, was recently
interviewed by DVD Review and gave some insight into what his future holds,
which doesn’t appear to be much at this time. Bay confirmed previous
information the Insider acquired from his representatives regarding the
director’s involvement with Fox’s Planet of the Apes project saying,
"20th Century Fox called me up some time ago. They want me to do a new
version of Planet Of The Apes. That’s a project I would really like to
do. It’s a big challenge. I also plan to work on an epic African movie about
paleontologist Dr. Richard Leaky, the great elephant savior and director of
National Parks and Wildlife, but that’s still some time out." (Thanks to
‘Bob Dobbs’ for the info.)
February 8, 1999 (From Cinescape
'Apes' Remake Scripts Reviewed
What's going on with the remake of Planet of the Apes? Your guess is
as good at mine at this point. Last week, the Insider established that neither
Graham Yost nor Andrew Kevin Walker are likely to be cooking up the script for
the movie at this time, as had been rumored. In the absence of any hard news or
even plausible rumor on one of his favorite upcoming movie topics, Insider
operative 'Vick Halen' has passed along a lengthy, combined review of two
rejected drafts of the Planet remake: Terry Hayes' version and Sam Hamm's
take on Apes. The review contains many plot details, stuff that would be
considered spoilers if these scripts were actually going to be translated into
film. But they're not, so the spoiler warning hardly applies. Towards the end,
Vick does some theorizing on what may appear in the eventual film based on
similarities between the "separately commissioned screenplays." Here's
the low-down on some adventures of the apes that might have been, courtesy of
"Some people crave it, some people could care less if it ever gets made.
As an avid Charlton Heston fan, I tend to bounce somewhere between those two
extremes when it comes to the remake of Planet of the Apes. Part of me
really wants to see it happen so that I can revisit the world of Apes in
a new way, and part of me feels that there's no way it can top Heston's sci-fi
classic, so they may as well not try. As far as I'd heard, Fox was pursuing a
story line that was pretty much alien to the original movie series so I'd begun
to lean towards the latter. However, I recently got to put those feelings to the
test when I had the chance to peruse both Terry Hayes' and Sam Hamm's scripts
for the Planet of the Apes remake.
"Both screenplays barely resemble the original film. In that, they are
proof that reinventing the Planet of the Apes story can be both a good thing and
a bad thing. Hamm is the good thing, Hayes is the bad thing. Let's look at Hayes
first and save the best for last, shall we?
"Terry Hayes' Return of the Apes script comes in around 128 pages
in length, which roughly translates into a two-hour long movie. In this case, it
would have been a very long two hour movie. Hayes' story begins with babies
being born dead of old age. Basically, a virus that's been lying dormant in
human DNA for millennia has now surfaced, and its effects advance the aging
process of body systems so rapidly that children are being born dead, and with
the wrinkled, leathery faced of oldsters to boot (which would be a pretty
horrific image on the big screen, IMO).
"The beautiful Harvard University scientist Billie Rae Diamond (what a
name!), who happens to be weeks pregnant herself, is on the case to find a cure.
But the story's hero, Will Robinson (no relation), a reclusive former scientist
who now works as a janitor at Harvard, may be the only one who can save
humanity. Years ago, when Will still went by his real name, Dr. Robert Plant (no
relation), he was ridiculed into early retirement for a theory of his that
suggested time travel could be accomplished by manipulating a person's
mitochondrial DNA. In order to solve the riddle behind the virus, Will uses his
own DNA to travel back to a time before the mutation entered our collective
physiology. This not only transports him into the past, but also from
Massachusetts to Kenya! (I'm no science major, and I suspend disbelief pretty
easily, but THAT I couldn't buy.)
"Once Will Robinson a.k.a. Robert Plant gets to the land where apes rule
and men are beasts, the story improves a bit. Like Charlton Heston before him,
Will's first discovery is a band of primitive humans. However, these ancient men
don't take kindly to our hero. But before they can do any damage to Will, a
cavalry of apes invade, led by the brutal gorilla Drak (think General Ursus).
The stronger, better armed simians charge in on horseback and quickly defeat
Will and our species' ancestors. The monkeys round the sub-humans and lead them
back to Ape City for celebration and slaughter. Because of his odd looks, Will
is separated from the rest and taken to chimpanzee Dr. Zora (note the 'o'
instead of 'i') for study.
"In the confines of Zora's laboratory, Will Robinson meets Aragorn, the
lost king of the seven tribes of humans. (Does that sound familiar Tolkien fans?
Actually, it turns out the ancient humans call their land Middle-Earth. In
giving the some of the important characters who reside there names straight out
of The Lord of the Rings, Hayes seems to be suggesting that his story
show some of the 'actual events' behind the myth created by J.R.R. Tolkien.)
Will and Aragorn bust out of Ape City with a little help from a good-hearted
gorilla convict name Strider. Soon our hero discovers that Billie Rae has
followed him into the past. The two quickly fall in love.
"Meanwhile, Will and Aragorn try to unite the humans into a force
capable of fighting off the coming army of apes, who plan to unleash a
biological menace upon mankind. Of course, this is the same plague that mutates
our DNA, planting the dormant virus that will come to life millennia later and
cause the rapid aging of babies inside the mother's womb. While Will plays at
being McGuyver, using science to make explosives from the natural elements,
Billie Rae focuses on the search for a special child among the sub-humans. This
young girl is the next step in the genetic chain, the link between the
sub-humans and humans of our kind. Billie Rae theorizes that, if they can keep
this girl from being exposed to the ape-manufactured virus, then the plague that
devastates humankind millennia later will have been prevented. And wouldn't you
know it: when Billie Rae finds the girl it turns out she's named Eve.
"The scenes that take place after Drak leads the army of apes against
the ragtag band of humans are the highlight of this otherwise lame script. At
first, Will's army is able to hold off the apes thanks to his invention of
rudimentary bombs, but eventually the monkeys push through and break the
sub-human militia (though at large cost to their own fighting force). The human
forces are temporarily shattered, but in the end everything works out okay: Will
bests Drak in the script's climactic battle, and Billie Rae, her son, Will and
Eve all live happily ever as the first human family.
(Webmaster Note: Excuse me while I take a break to heave.)
"Unlike Hayes' work, the Sam Hamm-penned script, simply titled Planet
of the Apes, is pretty much contrivance-free. Actually, Hamm's work seems to
have as much, if not more, in common with Pierre Boulle's novel Monkey Planet,
which was the basis for the original film, than it does with the genre classic.
"The story begins in New York City on the fourth of July, when an odd
spaceship crashes into New York harbor. The government quickly quarantines the
area, and when they open the alien vessel, a shape-shifting pink blob slithers
into the body of water and escapes. Months later babies are born with the
wrinkled, leathery faces of oldsters, not yet dead, but dying of old age. Like
the mysterious DNA flaw of Hayes' script, Hamm's alien virus is rendering
mankind unable to reproduce itself.
"One day, Dr. Susan Landis, who is searching for a cure to the disease,
comes home from work to find secret service men in her apartment. Susan is
whisked away to NASA, where she learns that she has been chosen to accompany the
famous scientist Alexander Troy on a top secret mission for the government. Troy
has assembled a team of experts who are readying themselves for a risky voyage
into the unknown. A voyage which may be the last hope of survival for the human
"NASA has been able to trace where the alien ship was launched in space,
and they plan to send Troy, his team and Landis there to investigate the origin
of the virus in hopes of finding a cure. They soon blast off our planet,
slipping into a cryogenic sleep as in the original movie. When the five
scientists arrive on the foreign world, their first discovery, much to their
surprise, is that the alien planet is very similar to Earth. After Susan takes
the (successful) risk of removing the helmet from her spacesuit and exposing her
lungs to the planet's air, the astronauts rejoice, remove their breathing
apparatus and one even plants a tiny American flag in the soil of the world just
like in the original film.
"Soon after, the scientists discover a tribe of primitive humans and wow
them with the "magic" workings of a cigarette lighter. The party ends
quickly though, when a modern military force storms in. A force, of course, of
apes. Led by General Ursus, the ape troops quickly round up the humans,
including some of the scientists.
"However, when one scientist is caught, he tries to talk the young ape
warrior on his tail out of killing him. It doesn't work. The ape warrior then
hurriedly reports to General Ursus, telling only him of what he's seen -- a
talking man! (Incidentally, it's not explained at this point why these space
monkeys speak English, but if you forgive the script that for a while, you get
an explanation in due time.) Ursus commends the soldier for keeping this
knowledge secret, and seeks the counsel of the revered Doctor Zaius. The Zaius
character in Hamm's script is a bit different from the character so memorably
brought to life by Maurice Evans in the original film: he's more of a true
villain rather than someone who thinks his actions will lead to the ultimate
good, and he's got a voracious sexual appetite to boot. Upon hearing the
warrior's tale, Zaius shoots the young ape in the back of the head, and then, in
a surprising move, proceeds to murder Ursus as well. He then orders that all
humans be rounded up for study.
"On the way to the research facility, our heroes get a glimpse at ape
culture ... which is a bizarre reflection of our own. There's a rip off of just
about everything, from the movie Home Alone starring an ape Macaulay Culkin to
ape-ish take-offs on various popular restaurants and much more. At first glance
this comes off as a contrived, bad joke to the reader of the script, but later
it's revealed that the orangutans have secretly developed satellite technology
in the Forbidden Zone and have been intercepting transmissions from Earth.
They've repackaged and resold our culture to the unwitting chimps, gorillas and
"exotics", raking in hordes of money that helps keep them in positions
of power over their fellow monkeys all the while.
"Once at the research compound, which is run by none other than Dr. Zira,
Troy quickly establishes himself as the leader of the human tribe when the
current alpha male tries to force himself upon Susan. There he also scores big
points with his female counterpart, something that makes Zira a very happy chimp
since she plans to have them mate. The Zira character in Hamm's script comes
across very much the same as the character played by Kim Hunter in the original.
She's still betrothed to Cornelius, who, in this draft, is an animal rights
activist who stalks the outside of Zira's compound with sign waving, like-minded
monkeys. It's learned that Zira and Cornelius have conspired to pluck the most
promising human specimens from the compound and smuggle them to a secret colony
in the Forbidden Zone.
"When Zira and Cornelius plan to bring Susan and Alexander to their
colony, things go awry. Government officials storm the building, and while Susan
flees with Zira and Cornelius, Alexander is separated. He is pursued through Ape
City, which is a bustling metropolis in this version of the story. Troy has the
good fortune to discover a circus while he's running from ape authorities, and
he quickly catches the eye of an ambitious circus owner, who claims that
Alexander is one of the humans who performs in his acts. Luckily, the ape cops
"It turns out that the circus Alexander has been recruited into is
scheduled to appear on national television soon. It quickly becomes obvious to
the circus owner that Troy is more clever than your average human, and, as a
result, he is given the most important circus act: he plays the father in a
popular mock sit-com gag where a "family" of humans dress up and act
just like an ape family. When the act airs on TV, Troy uses the opportunity to
reveal that he's a talking human from another world. Like Cornelius and Zira in Escape
From the Planet of the Apes, he quickly becomes a cultural sensation, and a
movement to help him get back to his homeworld begins.
"Doctor Zaius doesn't like any of this one bit. He cracks down on
Cornelius and Zira's human colony, where he takes the now-pregnant Susan captive
and forces her to work as a scientist for him (at the threat of killing her
unborn baby). During this time, Susan discovers a cure to the plague that struck
Earth, and creates a vicious virus that targets orangutans at the same time.
After the ape virus is unleashed, things culminate in a battle between Zaius'
forces and the animal rights activists helping Alexander and Susan try to escape
the world. Our heroes do manage to launch off the monkey planet, but when they
return to Earth they discover that, in the time that has passed, it too has
become a planet of the apes.
"Hamm's script is clearly superior to Hayes', and could probably be made
into a good movie. Or at least a passable action film that would do decent
box-office. As a fan of the original series, I'm particularly fond of this
script because it tips its hat to the old movies in small ways, but at the same
time tells a completely different story that doesn't try overwrite the original
film's place in cinematic history. Surely, James Cameron could have done much
better than the Sam Hamm draft if Fox let him have his way with the Apes
franchise, but that is not to be.
"What the studio wants do with the Apes franchise remains a mystery
since they nixed both drafts reviewed above as well as James Cameron's concept
for the movie. However, although both scripts have been jettisoned by Fox at
this point, one could make that argument that, by looking at what's similar
between these two separately commissioned screenplays, light may be shed on what
direction the studio wants to take the Apes remake in. If that logic is
accurate, then the Planet of the Apes remake will probably involve
scientists making a dangerous journey into the unknown to trace the origin of a
mysterious biological menace which causes babies to be born dead or dying of old
age. It turns out that the biological threat was developed by a race of
intelligent apes bent on destroying humankind. In a plot twist that raises the
story's stakes, the beautiful female scientist coupled with the lead is learned
to be pregnant.
"I have no idea who is developing the project now for Fox, but if I get
my paws on a future Apes script, I'll be sure to tell you all about it.
"Until Next Time ...
(Webmaster Note: We agree that the Hamm script is definitely the better of
the two, but it still isn't Planet of the Apes. Why not just make a sixth film
and expand the franchise instead of trying to remake the original, or rather,
NOT remake the original? Hopefully, one day we'll hear what Cameron had up his
February 2, 1999 (From Cinescape
Walker, Yost on 'Apes'?
Since James Cameron left the beleaguered Planet of the Apes remake
project at Fox, two writers have become associated with it in the rumor mill:
Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en) and Graham Yost (Broken Arrow). Ever hopeful that Apes
will FINALLY get moving through the production process, yours truly decided to
check up on those rumors and see what the scribes' reps had to say about their
clients alleged involvement with the remake. While Graham Yost's reps gave me a
response that can't quite be considered a no (something along the lines of I
don't know, but I can't give out that information), Walker's people obliged
yours truly with a firm "not true".
*Sigh*. If it were up to me, they'd just greenlight the script Sam Hamm did a
few years back (more on that in the future). (Webmaster Note: To that, we
have to ask, "What, are you on crack?")
January 30, 1999 (From Ain't It Cool News)
Inside info on PLANET OF THE APES rises to the surface
ADDED HARRY NOTES!
HARRY HERE in Rotterdam, and I just want to say... I
don't believe this news. I haven't seen the original email or any of Father
Geek's follow ups on it, but I can tell you from my own knowledge that as of the
Writer's fest, AKW (Webmaster Note: AKW = "Andrew Kevin Walker") was
not working on this script, Cameron was. Cameron dropped off the project as a
mutual thing with FOX. What has happened to the project since then is (allegedly
until now) unknown. I spoke with some of Michael Bay's people just last week and
while we did talk about a number of projects, this one never came up.... of
course they could have been.... "HIDING THE TRUTH"... but I don't
think so. I'm pretty familiar with this source, and I think he would have told
me, about this. BUT HEY... It's been a week. When I get back in the U.S. on
Friday, I'll let you folks know what I find out. Ok? Cool. Besides... this
plotline... it ummm... doesn't sound too good.... (suppressing my barfing
instinct) (Webmaster Note: We second that barf) It wouldn't be too bad a
loss if it weren't true. Alright, it's back to the festival I go.... I'll talk
atcha tomorrow, alrighty?
Ma-Gog has filed this story with FATHER GEEK. When
Walker was in Austin this past Fall he talked a little about this project, I'm
glad to see that it may be getting a go-ahead soon. An action packed Apes flick
could be Cool, I don't know it could also be very bad, but enough of me and on
to the report.
Kevin Andrew Walker recently submitted his story treatment for the Planet of
the Apes remake. Walker has taken the saga in a dramatic new direction,
something different from than anything we've seen before. This is the world of
Planet of the Apes, but as seen through the eyes of the man who wrote Se7en. Fox
is VERY excited about Walker's work, and I suspect that the project will finally
awaken from its torpor.
Michael Bay will probably direct the movie, with Jerry Bruckheimer executive
producing. They are looking for a Kevin Costner/Michael Keaton-type
"average joe" actor for the lead character, Ulysses (sp?) Monroe. For
his fellow scientist and love interest they are thinking along the lines of
someone like Catherine Zeta-Jones.
The plot revolves around the two scientists journeying into the center of the
Earth, only to discover a civilization run by apes. The reason why they
scientists embark on the quest to the center of the Earth is that they've traced
the origins of an airborne virus to a volcano in the Pacific Ocean. The plague
has wracked humanity, causing severe brain errosion in normal humans and, at the
same time, it has increased the brain power of apes (there are some hilarious
scenes with mischievious, intelligent spider-monkeys). It turns out that the
virus is actually the brainchild of Ma-Gog, the spiritual and secular leader of
a race of intelligent, sub-terranian apes. The Apes live in a lava kingdom
beneath the ocean floor, where Ma-Gog rules like a cross between Satan, Neptune
and Hugh Hefner. Ma-Gog only recently discovered the world above, where upon he
ordered his scientists concoct a disease to wipe mankind from the face of the
planet, so the apes can arise from their hellish existence and rule the surface.
I'm not going to spoil the plot for you entirely, so let's just leave it at
this: the scientists must foil Ma-Gog's plan before they fall victim to the
virus themselves and they must also discover an antidote before it's too late.
Needless to say, this is going to be one kick ass movie. Imagine the
fast-paced action associated with Bruckheimer and Bay, mixed in with the dark
sensabilities of Walker. There are some truly horrofic scenes in this puppy.
Sorry I can't tell you more now. Perhaps later.
January 7, 1999 (from Coming Attractions)
According to this anonymous scooper, "Graham Yost is NOT the writer on
this project. There is no writer yet. The studio is beginning a process of
looking at new writers and trying to figure out a new direction now that Cameron
is no longer writing." Since Fox doesn't comment on their projects in
development we couldn't confirm Yost's involvement or non-involvement.
December 17, 1998 (From Cinescape Online)
Michael Bay Interested in 'Apes'
Now that James Cameron has left Fox's Planet of the Apes project (note
the word "left", he was NOT fired as some have erreneously inferred
from our earlier report), who will pick up the reigns once held by Chris
Columbus, Oliver Stone and Phillip Noyce? Perhaps Fox will ask Armageddon
director Michael Bay to attempt to breathe life into the star-crossed project,
some have suggested.
Yours truly put in a call to Michael Bay's representatives in an attempt to
get to the truth behind that rumor. "The studio is not hiring any director
until they have a completed script," a spokesperson for Bay told me, adding
that the director has expressed an interest in doing an Apes film, if the script
Who is drafting the new Apes script? Fox hasn't hired a new writer
yet, according to Bay's spokespeople. Rumor has it that Kevin Andrew Walker (Seven)
and Graham Yost (Broken Arrow) are under consideration for the gig, but
yours truly did not hear back from studio reps or Yost's people by press time.
December 15, 1998 (from Coming
Responding to the question we asked yesterday, this scooper responds:
"Cameron left the project after reading the Graham Yost draft of the
screenplay. Fox is currently meeting with several top directors and
writers." Ah, interesting. So Yost took a crack at the project as well, eh?
We haven't heard any details about Yost's draft, but now we're curious to know
exactly what Cameron didn't approve of in the latest script. [An anonymous
chimpanzee from Ape City told us so.]
December 14, 1998 (from Coming
Now that our November scoop has been confirmed and reported by others, we've
been told some more by a new scooper. According to their sources, Fox fired
(what!?) Cameron as producer-writer and stated all inquiries as to the reason
why Cameron left should be directed to Lightstorm Entertainment. When the
scooper asked Lightstorm they coldly replied with a "No comment."
Jeepers...what went down??? [MikeG wants to know where he can find a girl
like Nova these days.]
December 11, 1998 (From Cinescape Online)
Cameron Off Planet Of The Apes!
It's a dark day for sci-fi fans.
Yours truly was in touch with a well-placed source in the movie industry this
evening, and it was revealed to me that James Cameron and Fox have parted ways
on The Planet of the Apes project. Why would Fox take a proven genre ace
like Cameron off a high-potential franchise such as Apes? Yours truly
received the age-old answer to that question: Creative differences.
Apparently Cameron had planned to take the Apes in one direction,
while the studio had other ideas for the franchise. The project is NOT dead,
however, according to my reliable source -- the studio is expected to move
forward with the Apes, placing a new creative team on the project in the
relatively near future.
This episode marks yet another disappointing chapter in Fox's saga to breathe
life back into the Apes franchise. No word on who may be the next
producer attached to the Apes -- Oliver Stone, Chris Columbus, and
Phillip Noyce have, at one time or another, been connected to the remake in the
Perhaps it's all for the best ... could a remake actually top the classic
Charlton Heston-starrer anyway?
November 25, 1998 (from Coming
We've been sent an anonymous email that James Cameron is no longer involved
with this project. We haven't confirmed that this news is true. [Anonymous.]
November 16, 1998 (From Ain't It Cool News)
Info on James Cameron's PLANET OF THE APES
script... how it's coming along...
Harry here, and wow this stuff sounds pretty damn
cool, I'm working on getting it confirmed. I'll tell ya what I learn. Ok Dyson,
speak up! And you too Mr Connor. And Sarah C. let's hear from you.
Contrary to rumor, Jim Cameron has not yet completed his Planet of the
Apes script. He's only recently begun work on it.
The "George Taylor" part has been written with Arnold in mind for
the lead, but, in an interesting deviation from the 1968 version of the film,
the main character will not be a misantrope who is digusted with his fellow man.
Arnold's character is more optomistic than George Taylor, which I for one think
is a good thing. There's a female scientist/astronaut/love interest part for a
pretty hispanic actress as well as character who's something of a teenage
prodigy. Also, never let it be said that Jim isn't one to keep up with current
events. His early draft is toying with the idea of having a John Glenn-type
figure ... possibly to be played by original Apes astronaut Charlton Heston. It
doesn't _have_ to be Heston, but that's who Jim's writing the part for and I
think its appropriate.
I don't really feel like spoiling Jim's movie at this early stage, but I will
say that what I've read of this early (note that last word) draft of the Planet
of the Apes remake is pretty good. Jim seems to be headed in the right
direction. He's not there yet, but it's Jim so you know he will be. Fox is
pretty anxious to get this movie in theaters by summer 2000 or 2001, so
hopefully development will come along nicely.
I haven't heard anything worthy of repetition about directors. And not that
this is anymore solid than your belly, Harry (*wink*), I've heard talk about
James Woods playing the Zaius part, perhaps Jennifer Lopez/Salma Hayek in the
love interest role and maybe Barry Watson of 7th Heaven for the
"prodigy." And of course, Heston for the space-geaser. These names may
just be devices to help Jim visualize his movie as he writes it, but with him on
as director you know there's a pretty good chance he'll get the cast he wants.
You may hear more from me in the future, assuming I'm not strung up for
sending this much.
And in addition... well I have this news about
Stan Winston's work thus far....
i got a grand tour of stans lair saw the t-rex and some alligator type
creature for a movie called lake placid? saw terminator, predator, relic, ed
scissorhands, gnome named norm, everything including the old prototypes of
planet of the apes masks (Cameron version). Awesome. One was even designed based
on stan and another on his son i think. they had more metalbronze armor/plating
then the leather clothes integrated into their design. Very roman armor.
October 30, 1998 (From Cinescape
Heston Won't Go Ape
While being questioned about his latest movie -- a comedy called Town and
Country -- genre icon Charlton Heston reaffirmed that he isn't gearing up
for more monkey business in James Cameron's Planet of the Apes remake.
"I'm not going to put on one of those ape suits, I'll tell you that,"
the actor quipped to an AP reporter.
Previously it had been suggested that Heston might fill the role of Doctor Zaius,
but he dismissed the idea, citing his disdain of the idea of suiting up as an
orangutan. Perhaps the filmmakers should look into utilizing the actor's
resonant vocal chords in some kind of voice over a la Armageddon and Hercules
October 1, 1998 (From Cinescape
Jim Cameron Rumors Set Straight
Rumors about what James Cameron is up to and what his next project might be
fly fast and furious through the Internet ether and are rarely ever based in
reality. As the result of several Cameron stories that popped up this week, I
felt it was time to call the folks at Lightstorm hoping they might set the
record straight. I was fortunate enough to talk to Lightstorm President Rae
Sanchini who took the time to answer a few questions about some of alleged
projects Cameron is rumored to be attached to. In particular, we spoke about: Terminator
3, Spider-Man and Planet of the Apes. Here’s what she had to
say on the following:
Cameron Doing T3 Without Arnold?
The Montreal Gazette is reporting that James Cameron will direct Terminator
3. Furthermore, the paper is suggesting that Arnold Schwarzenegger had
been dropped from the production because his acting fee of $20M (plus a
percentage of the profit) was too high, thus leaving Cameron alone. Meanwhile,
BBC Online is reporting that Arnold chose to skip T3 in favor of Planet
of the Apes, saying that the latter production "will not start
shooting until next year."
Officially, Lightstorm isn’t quite sure who exactly owns the rights to
the Terminator franchise, and at this time James Cameron is not
involved or interested. Sanchini told the Insider that "neither
Lightstorm or Jim Cameron have [any] knowledge of this production or a
sequel." Furthermore, Cameron would not do T3 without Arnold
Schwarzenegger. The two are great friends, and the idea of one doing a Terminator
film without the other is "patently absurd."
Is Jim Cameron Doing Planet of the Apes Instead?
Previous rumors have had Lightstorm edging towards Planet of the Apes
(and dropping Spider-Man as the result). Another rumor suggests that
Cameron has already written a script for the film.
The official word from Sanchini is that there is no script. In fact, she
says that Jim Cameron "would like to be involved" in the Apes
project. Sanchini adds, "Planet of the Apes is something that Jim
[Cameron] wants to produce and write." Sanchini also revealed that Fox
would really like to get this project rolling as soon as possible.
Contrary to rumors reported earlier this week by columnist Marilyn Beck,
Lightstorm is not backing away from the Spider-Man project. It is still
something Cameron wants to do, but until the legal web can be ripped away,
Cameron and Lightstorm with be "sitting on the sidelines."
Sanchini reveals, "Jim is taking a year off from directing and is
involved in a number of projects. He just doesn’t want to be behind a camera
for a year." One project may well end up being a Planet of the Apes
script, but nothing, as yet, has been worked out.
(A very big thank you to Rae Sanchini for taking the time from her busy day
to set the James Cameron record straight.)
September 29, 1998 (From Cinescape
Cameron's Next? 'Apes'... Again?
Yeah, I know we’ve all heard these Apes stories before, but
Columnist Marilyn Beck is reporting that James Cameron and his Lightstorm
production company is moving towards his Planet of the Apes project
rather than Spider-Man. Beck reports that while nothing is confirmed for
actor Arnold Schwarzenegger beyond End of Days (and I would add Total
Recall 2), Lightstorm is, in fact, planning on Arnold for the lead. Lending
credence to Beck's story are previous quotes by Fox personnel revealing that
Cameron was working on the script. Furthermore, she suggests that the ongoing
legal quagmire surrounding Spider-Man might prompt Cameron and company to
just give up on that project.
September 3, 1998 (From Cinescape Online)
Roddy Ponders 'Apes' Remake
Roddy McDowall questions the reasoning of a new Planet of the Apes movie
(Insider-to-Roddy: It’s the greenbacks) in an interview with TV Guide Online.
"I don’t see any reason to remake them," he said. "Why?
They’re there, and they’re as potent as ever. On the other hand, I’ve
always thought it would be very sensible to continue the canon and I can’t
imagine why nobody’s done so." Would McDowall ever consider a return to
Apeland? "Well, it depends on what it is. I wouldn’t do it just for the
sake of doing it."
August 11, 1998 (From Cinescape
Cameron Pens Expensive 'Apes'
Bill Mechanic, CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, concedes that Planet of
the Apes will boast a big budget - nothing new for a movie with James
Cameron's name attached. Cameron is now writing the script and will produce
according to the L.A. Times interview with Mechanic. Although Arnold has
long been attached to the project it has not definitively been decided that he
(or any other big-name star) would be part of the project. Only after the
screenplay is budgeted will Mechanic make a decision regarding whether or not a
"major star" will be brought on board. Frankly, the Insider doesn't
see much of a possibility that a $100 million Planet of the Apes movie
would boast a bunch of second-tier talent or unknowns.
August 4, 1998 (From Cinescape
'Planet of the Apes' Prequel/Sequel?
While perusing Variety, the Insider noticed an intriguing new entry in the
trade's movie listing: Planet of the Apes. Slated to begin production on
September 7th, this Apes project is in the works at Gum Drop Lou Films according
to Variety's list. Since the prospect of a new Apes picture seized my interest,
I put in a call for more details. Here's a recap of the info that executive
producer/director Gum Drop Lou (yep, that's his name) and scripter David Eli
Bullington revealed to yours truly:
- There's no assocation with Fox or the James Cameron-led remake of Apes.
Gum Drop's Apes is not a rehash of the Charlton Heston-starring
feature but will instead "continue the legacy" of the five picture
series spawned by that film, falling between Battle for the Planet of the
Apes and the original in the series' continuity.
- The film will have a futuristic feel and it will "give you the feel
of Ape-land." Part of the story will be set in space, and the other
part will focus on the ape-controlled Earth. Bullington describes his story
as "Willy Wonka meets Star Wars." I love those two
movies, but that's the craziest high concept pitch I've ever heard.
- No casting decisions can be revealed at this time, and the budget is not
- According to the scripter, the movie will be "in your face" and
"something Hollywood has attempted to touch, but never have. There's
like nothing it now."
The Insider loves the idea of brand new Planet of the Apes flicks,
whether we're talking about the Fox remake or a continuation of the original
series. I even like a few of the concepts Gum Drop Lou and company are
developing, but sadly there's only one piece of advice I can offer the upstart
Apes production: Get yourselves a good trademark lawyer.
July 22, 1998 (From Cinescape
Heston As Zaius? That's what TV Guide online suggests was a possibility.
Charlton Heston revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger had considered taking the
part of George Taylor in a modern remake of the classic Planet of the Apes.
Heston also tells, "There were even one or two tentative remarks about me
playing Dr. Zaius. I said no, thank you very much. Not in that makeup."
July 15, 1998 (From Cinescape
Charlton Heston has heard that James Cameron is working on an update of his
classic monkey movie, and he's all for it. "I think the film is highly
remarkable," the Chicago Tribune quotes Heston as saying to a group
attending the Television Critics Association. "Good movies are
remade," the actor elaborated. In related news, the Insider hears that
pre-production on the Apes remake could begin late this year or early next with
designs on a late summer '99 or early summer 2000 release. Expect the movie,
which Cameron will write and possibly produce, to enjoy a healthy marketing
July 9, 1998 (from Coming Attractions)
"It makes perfect sense for Cameron to remake Planet of the Apes as a
continuation of the original series." That's how our latest scooper began
their email... and if the scooper isn't yanking our chain, they spilled the
beans about the new storyline Cameron penned for Fox's monkey franchise.
Here's the remainder of the scooper's message:
"The last series installment, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, set the
stage for astronaut Taylor to return to a much altered 'planet of the apes.'
That's exactly what the new script deals with. It is intended for the new film
to open the same way as the first, with the exact same footage of Taylor aboard
his spacecraft. The ship still crash-lands in a lake but the lake is no longer
in the middle of a desert - it is now sitting alongside a research facility. The
story soon shifts to thirty years later, when five time-traveling astronauts
from the 1990's arrive at the research facility. The facility, mostly burned
out, has been abandoned. The astronauts hike across the Forbidden Zone. A spooky
hooded sniper stalks the astronauts and manages to kill one.
"Caesar's leadership role in the development of this new ape society has
given the chimpanzees more dominance. Science has been allowed to flourish,
which makes the planet more technologically advanced than it was in the first
film. But the balance of power is more uneasy and tensions are dangerously high
among the different ape factions. The gorillas, whose aggression hadn't been
stifled by chimps and orangutans, long ago slaughtered the small population of
mutants living in the underground ruins of Manhattan. Air travel has allowed
other types of apes to come to Ape City. Gibbons care little for science,
religion or war -- they are the artists and playboys. A descendant of Caesar, a
bizarre mix of chimpanzee and gibbon, has been voted prime minister of Ape City
although he doesn't see himself so much as an elected official as a royal heir.
He is a perverted, insane egomaniac, pretty much a simian Caligua.
"The survivors of the astronaut crew befriend an eccentric old
orangutan, who tells them he had met astronauts before. He tells them that one
of these earlier astronauts - 'a real gun nut' -- took the best looking human
babe and dragged her off with him into the wilderness. The 'gun nut' hidden out
in the woods turns out to be an old Taylor, appropriately played by NRA head
Charlton Heston. Taylor has kept busy with the local women and has sired a large
brood of intelligent humans. Landon is the religious leader of a savage
community. Dodge has again managed to become lobotomized but there's a little
twist to how this has happened."
So if this is the Cameron Apes storyline it'll pay homage to the original
60s/70s series of films as well as reinventing the concept of intelligent apes.
We don't have a shred of evidence to prove what the scooper is telling us is for
real, but dammit, it sounds like it'd be a fun ride, especially if Heston does a
July 6, 1998 (From Cinescape
The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly reveals that Armageddon director
Michael Bay is talking with James Cameron about directing the Planet of the Apes
remake for Fox. This would appear to confirm that Cameron is gearing up to start
work on the new Apes movie (he told Newsweek that he would produce and write the
movie at the end of last year) which may be closer to an official announcement
than anyone may have thought. If he's ultimately chosen (which the Insider
doubts will happen once Cameron sees the meteor movie) one can only hope that
Fox caps Bay's bullet budget under 100 million.
July 2, 1998
AICN reports, just a hunch, that James Cameron may have tapped Peter Hyams to
direct Planet of the Apes. A scooper wrote in saying that he/she had attended a
seminar with Peter Hyams at Universal Studios. "First off, he told us that
Cameron had him working on a movie story and script for over a year. The movie
turned out to be a asteriod movie. Their idea had been kept secret. When the
script was almost done, Dreamworks and Buena Vista announced that they were
making asteroid movies. So the Hyams and Cameron project was cancelled or
shelfed, whatever you want to call it. So now Cameron feels that he owed Hyams
something. Hyams told us that thanks to the Titanic film Cameron could get
almost virtually any project done he wants, but he wants to have a producer role
for a while. So he told Hyams that he wants him to be the director for his next
project. He said that the project was going to be big and was definetly news
worthy. He said that the project was going to be kept very secret so he couldn't
talk about it at all. Though, probably a big tidbit, he told us that things were
going to start going down in the next few weeks."
AICN's Harry Knowles commented, "Well, this is either one of two
projects... BROTHER TERMITE or the PLANET OF THE APES film. Personally I believe
Cameron is tapping Hyams for the PLANET OF THE APES movie... I don't know why,
it's just my gut instinct. I generally like Hyams, and hope him and Cameron the
best of luck."
June 12, 1998 (From Cinescape
Titanic director James Cameron revealed at a news conference in Toronto
yesterday that he will likely wait about a year before starting his next feature
film, but will continue development of a television project in the interim.
"I haven't really made a decision. I'm developing a few things. I'm sort of
not eager to jump back into it," Cameron told the assembled reporters.
Cameron also revealed that his next project may not be Planet of the Apes, True
Lies 2, Spider-Man or any of the other projects that have often been attached to
the Oscar-winning director. It may not even be a big-budget action flick like so
many fans are expecting but instead may be what published reports call "a
June 6, 1998 (From Cinescape
An article in the LA Times about James Cameron's general dislike of one of
the newspaper's critics just happened to briefly mention what the "King of
the world" is up to right now. Very simply, it says "Cameron is
currently working on a remake of the science fiction classic The Planet of the
Apes." We've heard it before, but you never know...
May 29, 1998 (From Cinescape
A report by Jeffrey Flannigan of the Kansas City Star reveals that Kansas
City Chiefs second-year Tight End Tony Gonzalez may have to skip a charity event
in order to film a small part for Oliver Stone's Planet of the Apes production!
The story goes on to say that the movie WILL star Arnold Schwarzenegger! Is
something going down with Planet of the Apes and could it be that it's filming
THIS weekend? The Insider doubts that the cameras will be rolling, but Gonzalez,
who was a rookie sensation with the Chiefs' football team last season, could be
doing a screen test for the Oliver Stone production. The Insider will dig deep
with my contacts at the Chiefs to see what I can dig up...
April 14, 1998 (from Coming Attractions)
The Cameron rumor (which we first heard about from our scooper 'shape' back
in December '96) gets a new twist from our new source. We have it on good
authority that Cameron's next project will be Planet of the Apes. On top of
that, our source specifically tells us that Cameron will write, produce and
direct the new Apes! The old Terry Hayes script has been rejected and Cameron
will start from scratch...but get this. Cameron's new script will fit in with
the existing movie arc!
We're told an official announcement should be soon. It also means that the
red tape surrounding Spider-Man hasn't been resolved.
March 31, 1998 (From Cinescape
While genre fans await word on what movie James Cameron will select as his
next project, Spider-Man, Planet of the Apes, True Lies 2, Terminator 3 or
something else, one has to assume that no project is too formidable in the wake
of Titanic's success. He is now discussing some movies that he had pushed aside
and vowed publicly not to pursue (such as Avatar and Terminator 3).
"Planet of the Apes is definitely somewhere in my future," he
recently told the Calgary Sun, referring to the upcoming project he is expected
to write and produce. "I have a better idea for a second True Lies than I
do for a third Terminator, but there are also other projects I have been
nurturing for a while now."
Why the talk about a third Terminator if we're to believe earlier comments
that there's no way the movie will be shown in theaters with his name attached?
Why all the new rumors surfacing about additional progress being made on the
almost-mythical CGI-extravaganza Avatar? The man who proclaimed that he's
"King of the World" as he capped the Oscars with Best Director and
Best Picture awards has apparently realized that his newfound royalty gives him
options that other directors don't enjoy.
March 24, 1998 (From Cinescape
In Australia's Sun Herald, Matrix (or is it The Matrix?) effects supervisor
Peter Doyle revealed that he was in Los Angeles last week meeting with Fox
executives regarding FX work on the James Cameron-scripted Planet of the Apes
remake. According to the report, Sydney will play host to the mega-budgeted
action movie when it goes before cameras sometime next year. Arnold
Schwarzenegger is still rumored for the lead role.
March 19, 1998 (From Cinescape
Contrary to reports on other websites, Kevin Costner is NOT in contention for
a role in the upcoming Planet of the Apes sequel. The actor is presently
prepping Message In A Bottle with Paul Newman and Robin Wright Penn. Rumors that
Costner and Harrison Ford (who set the record straight with a firm "Not
true" through his agent when contacted by Cinescape Online several weeks
ago) are being considered for the Apes role appear to be rooted more in the
dreams of movie fans than reality.
March 19, 1998 (From Cinescape
While James Cameron has publicly commented that he would be penning the
upcoming Planet of the Apes remake (to Newsweek, among others), it was believed
that Oliver Stone would oversee production. At a recent luncheon, however, the
two told reporters that they are not collaborating on any projects. Hmm...
March 4, 1998 (From Cinescape
Cinescape Online has been in contact with Harrison Ford's camp regarding the
rumor that placed the actor in the lead of James Cameron's Planet of the Apes
remake. Ford's publicist responded to the rumor with a terse: "Not
February 18, 1998 (From Cinescape
James Cameron is currently working on the script to Fox's upcoming Planet of
the Apes remake and will handle producing duties on the film but, according to a
report in this week's Newsweek, will NOT direct the film. Cameron has recently
stated that he will not be involved in either Terminator 3 or Avatar and that he
wants to direct Spider-Man if the legal issues surrounding theatrical rights can
be sorted out.
February 11, 1998 (From Cinescape
While Jim Cameron soaks in the limelight from Titanic's record 14 Oscar
nominations and watches as the movie becomes the highest-grossing film of all
time, his fans continue to mull over what his next project will be. Although
trades indicate that he will script and oversee production on a new Planet of
the Apes movie, he has also been attached to a True Lies sequel, the
photo-realistic CGI adventure Avatar and the long-overdue Spider-Man.
"I haven't come down off this one yet," Cameron recently told trade
paper Variety. "It'll be at least six months before I even begin
January 26, 1998 (From Cinescape
Now that the receipts of Titanic are quickly elevating it up the top 10 list
of highest-grossing movies of all time, 20th Century Fox has told vindicated
director James Cameron that he can move ahead with his twice-delayed remake of
Planet of the Apes, according to the Calgary Sun. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the
long-time choice of Cameron to lead the Ape revival, but according to the paper,
Ah-nuld is currently in negotiations with director Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow
Never Dies) to lead the feature film version of the '70s cop drama S.W.A.T. In a
related story, the paper speculates that Cameron will soon have the royalties he
forfeited to finish Titanic on his own terms returned due to the strength of the
January 10, 1998 (from Coming Attractions)
Now the Los Angeles Times picks up the Cameron rumor. An article by Claudia
Eller in the Times mentions that this project is but one of the many the
director has with Fox.
December 17, 1997 (from Coming Attractions)
December 16th's The Hollywood Reporter lists a rumor that James Cameron
wishes to get this project on the fastrack come the new year. He'll produce the
film for Lightstorm/20th Century Fox.
November, 1997 (from Coming Attractions)
Coming Attractions reports that "James Cameron agrees to lend a hand
helping out this project in an unspecified capacity."
May 25, 1997 (From Ain't It Cool News)
Here's a review sent to us of the Hamm script:
"Sam Hamm appears to have retained only the most basic premise from
Terry Hayes' awful version: babies are being born very old, and scientists must
figure out why, or the human race faces extinction.
"In Hamm's version, a spacecraft splashes down in NYC's harbor. Inside
are an orangutan which is shot dead, and a pink blob which turns out to be the
virus affecting the babies. A team of pilots and scientists are assembled and
they take the ship back to its preprogrammed origin.
"The lead character is Alexander Troy, cleraly the Taylor figure, but
renamed to serve a weak plot point later in the script. A female scientist
accompanies him and falls in love with him (of course). Dodge is the Jamaican
astronaut who suffers the same fate as the original's Landon, and Stewart still
doesn't survive the trip, his (yes his) corpse discovered in one of the cooler
written segments of the script.
"Arriving at the polar cap of a distant planet, the crew finds the
speechless humans, get captured and separated until it's just Troy and the
female scientist. They find an ape civilization, where the orangs, led by LORD
Zaius, keep the others under their control through religion and politics. Zaius
is a swaggering, virile 'alpha male of alpha males,' desribed as an 'ape Hugh
Hefner' and an 'ape Bob Packwood' at various points in the story.
"Ultimately, we learn that this planet was once ruled by humans.
Receiving radio signals from earth, the orangs have swiped inventions, ideas,
music and culture from earth. The orangs take credit for all of it, and have
sent the virus to earth as a 'vaccine'. The female eventually finds a cure, they
return to the ship, have a final battle with the apes, escape in Troy's ship,
where they find Zaius sabotaging the air supply. Troy and Zaius battle, flying
out an airlock where Troy kills Zaius. He is rescued by the female, and they
head back to earth. Upon landing, they are horrified to discover that too much
time has passed, and earth is now a planet of apes.
Infinitely superior to Terry Hayes version, this one is still mired in utter
silliness. A billboard is shown for Macaque Culkin in Home Alone. [Ed. note - on
the Ape planet, and is Culkin's name spelled differently? It's unclear from the
scooper's message.] "The Simians, a cartoon family, is a popular show. The
Statue of Liberty, at the fade out, has been recarved into the face of an ape.
At one point Troy escapes and is recaptured by a circus who use him in their
human act. The script has definite possibilities, but there is a fine line
between social satire and parody, which the script trips over again and again.
Hopefully they'll fix up the script some more..." [Review sent in by
From Entertainment Weekly, 2/9/96:
New 'Planet' Conquers Earth
The original 'Planet of the Apes' hit U.S. movie theaters 28 years ago
By Benjamin Svetkey
"Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!" No, those
aren't Tom and Roseanne's parting words to each other -- it's Charlton Heston in
Planet of the Apes, the film that taught Hollywood how to succeed in monkey
Apes opened on Feb. 8, 1968, and promptly bred one of the most successful
sci-fi franchises in movie history. With a string of ever-cheesier sequels --
1970's Beneath the Planet of the Apes, 1971's Escape From the Planet of the
Apes, 1972's Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and 1973's Battle for the
Planet of the Apes -- the series has taken in $82 million in the U.S. and
spawned a short-lived TV show on CBS, a Saturday morning cartoon on NBC, comic
books, dolls, lunch boxes, even a record album.
Yet Twentieth Century Fox execs at first balked at going Ape, worrying that
actors in monkey suits wouldn't project enough human personality to satisfy
audiences. Apes lore has it that the producers asked Edward G. Robinson to sit
in for a makeup test. The simian-ized character actor was so convincing as a
talking ape that Fox gave the go-ahead.
But it was Heston who starred, as Taylor, an American astronaut who lands on
Earth 2,000 years in the future, when apes rule and humans are herded like
cattle. Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter endured daily two-and-a-half-hour makeup
sessions to play Cornelius and Zira, egghead chimps who violate "ape
law" by helping Taylor. The late Maurice Evans spent serious time in the
makeup chair as well, becoming the evil orangutan Doctor Zaius. By all accounts,
the Apes flicks weren't easy to make.
"Now I know why monkeys hate people," McDowall cracked while
working on one of the sequels. "When I get dressed up that way, everybody
stares and points and yells, and you have no identity. You feel helpless."
By the end, the talking-monkey concept had devolved into kitschy, cult camp,
but there are now signs the chimps may rule again. Oliver Stone is considering
producing a Planet of the Apes remake, with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Heston
role. Somehow "Getch yaw stinkink pahws uff me, you dahm duhty ape"
doesn't have the same ring.
From Reuters, 07-20-95:
Arnold And The Apes
There may be a rebirth of the film "Planet of the Apes" this time
featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role made famous by Charlton Heston.
Variety reports "Nine Months" director Chris Columbus is close to
signing on to direct the Fox project. Columbus would earn $5 million and
Schwarzenegger, believed to be at the $17 million level, would likely come close
to $20 million.
From Entertainment Weekly, 95-06-05
Off The Radar
What happened to these big blips on the Hollywood map?
By Chris Nashawaty
Not so long ago, the glitzy projects below seemed to have everything: A-list
stars, colossal budgets, and mega expectations. Then...Poof! They vanished into
the entertainment equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle. Where are they now?
Entertainment Weekly takes a look:
(I deleted some stuff here...)
Project: A Return to the Planet of the Apes, an Oliver Stone--produced
remake of 1968's The Planet of the Apes.
Status: How do you top Charlton Heston's kitsch classic that spawned
four sequels? One word: Schwarzenegger. "We've met with Arnold, and he
definitely wants to do it," says coproducer Jane Hamsher, who confirms that
the actor wants Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger) to direct.
Schwarzenegger's agent wouldn't comment, saying the film is too far off. The
movie focuses on a geneticist who travels back in time to save the human race
from warmongering apes--a role that would give Ah-nuld the opportunity to kick
some simian butt. Hamsher says the movie will also have "Oliver's stamp and
political take on it." Lips are sealed over at the Twentieth Century Fox
lot, though. "It's going to be an expensive movie and everybody's playing
it close to the vest because of Waterworld," says Hamsher, who doesn't deny
Apes' rumored $60 million to $70 million budget.
Prognosis: Slowly evolving.