We recently bemoaned the possible shelving of Minority Report writer Scott Frank's super dark Planet of the Apes reboot, to be called Caesar. But Fox may have changed its mind about this Ape origins story.
Vulture is reporting that Peter Chernin has stepped up as producer in the wake of the online news that Frank had left the project. The studio has now hired a new writer, Jamie Moss, writer of Street Kings.
The original pitch was to tell the story of the Ape uprising lead by the ape Caesar, who communicates via sign language. Vulture described it like this:
[It] showed how genetic experiments on apes led to their evolutionary eclipse of humans. 'Caesar' refers to the genetically altered leader of the simian rebellion, so dubbed because the ape was capable of grand strategic thinking on par with Julius Caesar. The 'Caesar' code name also foreshadowed the script's plot: Like the actual Julius Caesar, the ape begins a (wait for it ... ) guerrilla war and emerges the emperor of the known world.
But Fox called this seemingly-clever idea too dark, forced Frank out and now has new writers reworking his original piece. While we're exceptionally nervous about Chernin taking on this classic franchise, one thing he has going for him is a passionate love for talking apes. In fact, in 1992, while the head of Focus Film Entertainment, he hired Oliver Stone to executive produce a Return of the Apes...that would star Arnold Schwarzenegger. So yeah, at least he's passionate about the story, if not slightly misguided. But then again Arnold couldn't have been half as bad as Mark Wahlberg.
So the good news is more planet of the Apes, the bad news we really liked Frank's dark science premise. Let's hope they don't lighten it up too much.