'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' screenwriters: 'We pictured a trilogy'


Image Credit: WETA

Rise of the Planet of the Apes tore up the box office last weekend, earning $54 million — a surprising showing for the seventh film in a series that’s over 40 years old. EW caught up with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, the married screenwriters who crafted the primate preboot, to talk about the exciting difficulty of writing a character who never speaks and their vague-but-intriguing ideas for a Rise sequel — or rather, sequels — including the slight implication that Taylor, the character Charlton Heston played in the original Apes, might be making a return journey.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s interesting that the character audiences are most responding to in the film is Caesar, the rebel chimpanzee played by Andy Serkis. Was it difficult to write a character who doesn’t have any dialogue?
: That was our challenge.
AMANDA SILVER: It put extra pressure on us, in a good way, to tell a story visually without dialogue. I think — thinking back on my film school days! — that’s what you look for. Yes, Paddy Chayefsky has great dialogue, and you aspire to do that as well. But film is a visual medium, and what can you show and not tell? Caesar was the genesis of the story. Rick came up with the idea for this when he was looking through his idea file. He’d cut out some articles about chimpanzees raised in homes, and he thought, “My god, this would make a great reboot for Planet of the Apes.” We kind of fell in love with Caesar. We didn’t think of him specifically as a chimpanzee. We thought of him as a full character. Because he didn’t have dialogue, it put extra pressure on us in a good way to tell a story visually without the dialogue.
We did a lot of research, and a lot of reading online, about some very specific primates who have become somewhat well-known. There’s that great documentary out right now, Project Nim; we read about him. There’s another one, Kanzi, who was…
AS: He was a gorilla, right?
RJ: No, I believe he was a….
Amanda and Rick in unison: …A bonobo!

The film bears a slight similarity to Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the fourth film in Apes series. Did you use that film as a signpost for Rise?
RJ: Not in the beginning! We laid out the story and pitched the idea to Fox, and had gotten hired, and okayed to write and produce this thing. It was at that point we went back and started studying the old movies. We already had the movie laid out. I think some of the connections to Conquest are on purpose, but others are coincidental. “Unlikely character becoming a leader and leading his people to freedom” — it’s also a Moses story.

If this is the Moses story — a leader taking his people to freedom — then do you see the potential sequel as a kind of Joshua story, with the Apes fighting wars and conquering the world?
AS: I’m touching wood, because I’m superstitious! We definitely have ideas for where the sequel — plural, where the sequels — would take us. And those were kind of built into –
RJ: — the construction of the narrative already. There hasn’t been an official discussion yet about a sequel, because I think everyone still doesn’t want to jinx where we are. But we definitely have ideas.
AS: When we started this, we knew that this movie would stand on its own, and we designed it that way. But if it didn’t stand on its own, we pictured a trilogy that would start with this movie.

I’m definitely intrigued to see what happens to the Icarus mission, the spaceship that hovers around the background of the plot of Rise.
RJ: We definitely have ideas about that! What better plant can you put in a script then, “Oh my god, Taylor’s going up again!”

One of my favorite parts of the Apes franchise is the pulpy grandiosity of the later titles: Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, and now Rise of the Planet of the Apes. What’s your dream-title for a Rise sequel?
RJ: We’re gonna have to figure that one out. That’s a great question. We do have a good sense of what will be in the sequel. Maybe in 20 years, the last one will be called Success of the Planet of the Apes.
AS: It’s that B-movie flair, that excitement. We haven’t found the cheesy-but-fun noun that would fit the action that we’re seeing.
RJ: Maybe Revenge.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Read more:
‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ recap: Gorilla warfare!
Summer Movie Body Count: ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’
Freida Pinto talks working with Andy Serkis on ‘Apes’

Comments (50 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2
  • ed

    Part III needs to end with the Icarus landing on Earth.

    • JPX

      They pictured a trilogy, and they got a mini-series on TBS for the late late show.

    • Simon

      The apes – RELOADED

  • Shannon Nutt

    Attack of the Planet of the Apes?
    Triumph of the Planet of the Apes?

    • Isaac

      I like Triumph of the Planet of the Apes.
      My trilogy:
      Rise of the Planet of the Apes
      Triumph of the Planet of the Apes
      Fall of the Planet of the Apes

  • Glenn

    Action title:
    Captive on the Planet of the Apes
    or, a bit lighter:
    Party on the Planet of the Apes
    or, the most logical title:
    Evolution of the Planet of the Apes

    • Salihcan

      probably not since theaters tmvshelees choose the trailer reel in other words the trailer reel YOU see at ocean’s 13 sill be slightly different than the one i see

  • chillydogs

    Wasn’t the first movie of this series the one a few years back with Mark Wahlberg ? I thought this one “Rise” was the second, not the first.

    • jim

      NO, The Mark Wahlberg Ape movie was a Not so good remake of the 1968 movie. which is way ,way better. If you have not seen it you should check it out, and its four sequls.

    • Julie

      I liked the Wahlberg movie. The ending was set up for sequels so I thought that’s what this was.

      • Dan Too

        The ending was nonsensical.

  • Jeff

    Damn Dirty Planet of Apes

    • Glenn

      we have a winner. that was quick.

    • Kiki

      LOL! And the follow-up to that: “Shampooing the Planet of the Apes.”

    • Liver

      This actually made me chuckle.

  • Christopher

    1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    2. Clash of the Planet of the Apes
    3. Fall of the Planet of the Apes

    • wisha niggkkawoodz

      Those sound like awsome sequel names… I just hope they really do come out with a trilogy it is very needed because i think the Rise was a great movie and a great start for the sequels…. Im positve there will be the way the Rise ended!!!

  • Dean

    How about spoiler warnings in your interviews? The movie just came out!!!

    • DB

      Seriously? If you need a spoiler warning for this type of article, knowing darn well what it is about, then shame on you.

    • Anne

      Really, what on earth was spoiled for you?

    • Liz

      People like you are seriously mental. This is an entertainment site EVERY ARTICLE WILL HAVE SOME KIND OF SPOILER. Oh wait should I have put “Spoiler Alert” prior to my comment?

  • Jason in MI

    We Really Watched the Movies Before Writing and Are Trying To Deny It of the Apes

  • Dan Too

    This movie is the exception that proves my rule–that no good movie has ‘rise’ in the title.

  • Sith Lord J

    Megan Fox as Nova and make her mute

    • Dave

      Megan focus only good mute. Agreed. And naked

  • Vince

    I’ve always been a fan of the films but I have to say I don’t care for one or two things here in the first series
    Casar was an chimp who parents were from the future.
    In the first series the apes evolved on their own there was no drug

    • tony

      I’m a big fan of the original series and I thought this was a great intelligent reboot. I don’t don’t know how the writers REALLY want us to believe the some of the similarities were coincidental, and they had already written a script before reviewing the originals.

    • Ann

      I’m a huge fan of the original movies and always believed that Escape and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes set up an alternative history that led to the apes taking over the world, since Zira and Cornelius went back in time and, therefore, changed the history of the planet. Now, in Escape from Planet of the Apes, Zira recalled their original history, with the domesticated ape rising up and saying, “NO!” to his master. Rise of the Planet of the Apes somewhat tells this same story…so for me, Rise of the Planet of the Apes actually tells the original history, somewhat…

    • Cole

      I agree with tony, Having the chimps evolve on their own is implausible if you want to put the movies timeline anywhere in the next ten millenia haha.

      Also, on the launched space shuttle.. There’s a theory I somewhat recall about traveling into the future which involves traveling a long distance away from earth and then traveling back. And somehow during that trip time has moved slower for you than it has on earth. Thus travel into the future. Idk though lol, it was just the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the ship take off.

  • Dumbledore Fluffernutter

    Reign of the Planet of the Apes and then Fall of the Planet of the Apes. Y’know- cause it’s like the rise and fall of the Roman Empire with Ape Emperor Caesar getting stabbed in the back by one of his allies and then the world is all blown to hell.

    • wisha niggkkawoodz

      Yeah which will be “Kobo” im pretty shur everyone will agree with me on that one!!!

  • Danny

    How about James Franco goes Apesh*t!

  • cultural ignoramous

    and I pictured a decent movie

  • redvector

    At this point I don’t think it’s a matter of if there will be a sequal but when.

    • wisha niggkkawoodz

      Thats exactly right…. When will this excellent sequel appear!!!

Page: 1 2
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos in Movies


From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP