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Matt Reeves on Scope & Ape Talk in 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

by
July 16, 2013
Source: Thompson on Hollywood

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Fans might have to wait a little bit longer to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes since Fox moved the sequel back from a May 2014 release to later in the summer on July 18th, 2014. But that's good news so Weta and the rest of the crew aren't rushed to finish the all-important special effects to complete the motion capture performance from Andy Serkis and his crew of revolutionary apes. Director Matt Reeves is bringing a small bit of footage to Comic-Con (though there won't be any completed apes effects shots), and he just talked with Thompson on Hollywood about the film's scope and ape speech development. Read on!

First of all, Reeves talked about the film's scope. In the film, there's a lot more prominent apes including the return of Terry Notary as Rocket and Toby Kebbell as one of the younger apes in Caesar's ranks. One of the lingering questions from fans has been with regards to the speech development after Caesar spoke a few words in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Reeves talks a bit about that concept and also the ape civilization, and how they've been shooting much of their habitat on location:

"Caesar talks at the end of the movie, he has some level of speech. I wanted to make sure we’re continuing to go along the path of evolution without missing it, it was so delicious to watch in the first movie. It’s not like now they are talking in verse. Hopefully the movie is emotional and thrilling as you watch the apes come into being ... The ape civilization is in the woods, between Vancouver and New Orleans, the world after what happens with the simian virus flu. The two main locales are San Francisco and the Muir Woods where the ape civilization is born. We’ll be doing a little shooting in San Francisco as well. A lot of the Louisiana shooting was to build huge wood sets outside in the woods to add realism, enormous exterior streets. We’re shooting in the rain, in the wind, all on location out in the open in the elements."

Speaking of shooting out in the elements, that has proven to make the scope of this film bigger literally, but it's not just about the size of the story, but the emotional core, and the production and post-production work from Weta is a big part of that to help compliment the performances done by Serkis, Notary, Kebbell and more on set with the human actors like Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Keri Russell. These two opposing sides make for a bigger scale conflict, this making the scale of this film much larger on a number of levels. Reeves says:

"The crazy thing is the giant scale of this film, which is enormous for any movie, so much bigger. The only way it works is from an emotional intimate point-of-view. It has all the things that drive me to do something, an emotional core, as Andy, Rupert and Weta did on Rise: How do you become an ape? How emotional it is, the emotional intimacy.  It’s a huge adjustment. It’s not only on a scale for me that is obviously larger than anything I’ve done, but huge for any film in this particular way: this is the first movie at this level to do native 3-D on an enormous canvas and mo-cap that is 95 % shot on location. The mo-cap shooting on the first movie was done really on the stage. It’s enormous do this in a naturalistic space. And it’s an exciting learning curve."

We've got just over a year before Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters, but we'll be sure to give our impression of the footage shown at Comic-Con this week. This writer will have plenty more to say about the sequel next year as the release date looms closer after a special trip to New Orleans earlier this year. In the meantime, stay tuned for updates on the Apes franchise and stick around for more Comic-Con coverage.

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  • DAVIDPD
    Oh Yeah! Awesome!!!
  • Payne by name
    I thought the first film was fantastic so I really hope that they don't drop the ball on this one.
  • Howell Selburn
    The first film to do native 3D at this level of scope? Bigger than Avatar?
  • OfficialJab
    This interview has allowed me to raise my expectations a bit more, and they were already very high. The emphasis on emotional and thrilling in the first quote had me feeling like I was reading a DVD-back synopsis.
  • JBrotsis
    Apes in Louisiana, huh....lets see them wrestle some gators!
  • Miles Dooner
    Worked this film - the scope is impressive, but Matt is painting a lovely picture of it all. The movie was utter hell for the crew, the elements destroyed us.

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