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Planet of the Apes to Return as "Caesar"

Planet of the Apes looks to be reborn yet again in the form of the currently-titled Caesar, which is being viewed as a reboot of the classic sci-fi film series.
But unlike Tim Burton’s 2001 effort, which went back to the beginning and stands as a remake of the 1968 original which starred the late Charlton Heston, Caesar is more likely to launch as a variation of the fourth film in the series, 1972’s CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

The project’s origin, as reported by C.H.U.D., started with a screenplay by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. At that time, it was called GENESIS: APES, and, says the site, “In this version, Caesar is the result of a genetic scientist fooling around with the nature of things. When the baby monkey exhibits intelligence and the ability to talk, he takes the cuddly thing home to his wife, who is unable to bear children. Things go surprisingly well for a number of years until Caesar grows up and sees mommy getting attacked. The dutiful son steps in and accidentally kills the attacker. Here's where it takes off. In a scene paralleling Charlton Heston in the cage in the original PLANET OF THE APES, Caesar ends up in custody at an Ape Conservatory where he and the other apes are abused mercilessly. Caesar finds himself a primate without a world - he's as smart as humans but will never be one of them (and is in fact tortured by them) and he's initially rejected by his monkey brethren. You're on Caesar's side, understanding where this poor outcast is coming from… The regime that Caesar overthrew in CONQUEST was made up of bad guys. The Caesar of GENESIS: APES is coming after you.”

On December 1, 2008, the site followed up the report by another that said writer/director Scott Frank had been brought in to rewrite the script, and that its title had changed from GENESIS: APES to CAESAR. After speaking to the writer, C.H.U.D. noted, “CAESAR is not a remake of CONQUEST OF PLANET OF THE APES. This is a fact that Frank can’t stress to you enough – his film will not feature talking monkeys, and it will not end with chimpanzees running wild in the streets, taking over the world. But it isn’t divorced from the world of PLANET OF THE APES either. In fact, Frank sees his movie as the opening chapter in a saga that could span the thousand years between today and a world where apes rule.

“What’s most exciting about Caesar is that Frank is committed to telling a hard science fiction story,” the site continued. The science that creates the hyper-intelligent chimpanzee is based on current real-world research – this film would just take that science one step further. He’s also committed to telling a story based on character, not antic ape action. His plan for Caesar is one where you come to really feel for this ape, even as the final act sees him taking actions that may be hard for us to agree with.”

Shortly thereafter, it seemed that the project had been shelved – not really surprising in the development period, and especially considering the fit-and-start periods surrounding the original as well as the Tim Burton film prior to them going into production. But then, on January 22nd of this year,’s Vulture reported that the project was back on in a big way, though more in the vein of a reboot than Scott’s intention of doing something pretty much separate from PLANET OF THE APES as a concept.

Of the film, now to be produced by former Fox-head Peter Chernin, and rewritten by Jamie Moss with original writers Jaffa and Silver brought in for a polish, Vulture said, “CAESAR 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 studio, however, wanted to pursue a different tack than Frank, and the writer-director was unwilling to change direction, according to a production source. As [Scott] Rudin was only on board because Frank had asked him to serve as producer (the two had enjoyed working together on Jodie Foster’s LITTLE MAN TATE twenty years ago), he left as well. But now that it's been handed to Chernin, the presumed-dead project is red hot again.. The studio wants to make the CAESAR project, post haste. A director is expected to be hired imminently.”
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