Back in November 2008, we told you about a plan at 20th Century Fox to reboot their Planet Of The Apes franchise that sounded very intriguing. Titled Caesar, writer /director Scott Frank was working on the project for Fox, which would have relaunched the series starting from the original series’ fourth film, Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes. The idea was originally brought to the studio by writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver under the title Genesis: Apes.
Unfortunately, CHUD is now reporting that Frank is now off the film and it looks like the project is dead.
Back when we first reported on the project, I felt that the concept was a bit edgy for Fox executives’ tastes. In this proposed story, a scientist meddling with chimpanzee DNA accidentally creates a chimpanzee with human livels of intelligence. Once he discovers that the chimp can talk, he takes him home to be raised by his wife, who is unable to bare children of her own. Several years later, his adoptive mother is attacked and in the act of protecting her, accidentally kills her assailant. He is then taken to labs where, although he is as sentient as a human, he is tortured and experimented on. Although initially rejected by the other apes at the laboratory, he eventually inspires them to revolt and overthrow human society. Where the original Conquest had a two decade gap separating its 1971 audience from the film’s fascist government of the future year 1991, this version was set in the present and it may have presented some themes that might be a little hard to take without the fictional setting.
It’s not surprising that the film is dead at Fox. Even though risk aversion seems to be the watchword for all the studios, Fox practices it as a religion. While relaunching a classic series is typically seen as a safe move, such a radical reinterpretation of the Planet Of The Apes concept probably outweighed the easy sell of a new Apes film in the minds of the studio brass at Fox.
Will the studio continue to look for a way to bring a new Planet Of The Apes film to the big screen. My guess is very probably. Unfortunately, it will probably not be as interesting as this version promised to be.