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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 who?

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 isn't:

"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 thought.


June 25, 1999 (From Cinescape Online)

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 Online)

‘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 Hollywood Reporter.

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 Apes"!)

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 Online)

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 release.


March 11, 1999 (From Cinescape Online)

'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 Online)

'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 "Vick Halen":

"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 race.

"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 buy it.

"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 ...
"Vick Halen"

(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 sleeve.)


February 2, 1999 (From Cinescape Online)

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.

Ma-Gog


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. [Anonymous.]


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 is right.

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 Attractions)

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 Attractions)

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 past decade.

Perhaps it's all for the best ... could a remake actually top the classic Charlton Heston-starrer anyway?


November 25, 1998 (from Coming Attractions)

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.

Meestir Wompratt


October 30, 1998 (From Cinescape Online)

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 Online)

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.

Spider-Man?
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."

Cameron’s Next?
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 Online)

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 Online)

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 Online)

'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 set.
  • 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 Online)

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 Online)

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 licensing build-up.


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 cameo!


July 6, 1998 (From Cinescape Online)

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 Online)

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 smaller drama."


June 6, 1998 (From Cinescape Online)

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 Online)

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 Online)

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 Online)

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 Online)

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 Online)

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 Online)

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 true."


February 18, 1998 (From Cinescape Online)

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 Online)

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 anything."


January 26, 1998 (From Cinescape Online)

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 pic.


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 'webmaster.']


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 business.

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.