Rupert Wyatt‘s Rise of the Planet of the Apes breathed fresh life into the franchise by making the reboot easily accessible to newcomers, placing an emphasis on characters, and even though the story scaled back the social commentaries featured in the original saga, the film was still engrossing and fun. Wyatt didn’t return for the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but director Matt Reeves took the foundation of Rise and built it into one of the best movies of 2014.
Wyatt wanted to do Dawn, but he felt Fox’s summer 2014 release date didn’t give him enough time, so he stepped down, and decided to do the drama The Gambler instead. At that film’s press day, Steve asked Wyatt for his thoughts on Reeves’ movie and what he would have done differently. Hit the jump for more.
RUPERT WYATT: I thought it was beautifully directed; an incredibly well-made film. It’s hard, you know, because I very much wanted to do the sequel. I was very passionate about doing the sequel and other films. I love that franchise and I’m thrilled in a way for Matt and what he achieved with that because he achieved something I probably couldn’t have because he did something different. He’s his own filmmaker, I’m a different filmmaker, so it’s great he’s had success with that film and the fact that the franchise lives, that’s what we’re all hoping for. So for that, I was thrilled when I was watching it. I just had a very different take, and very different idea of what the movie was going to be, so it’s always going to be colored by that.
WYATT: To be honest, it’s not that different, I guess. For me, the majority of revolutions, probably the American Revolution aside, 9 times out of 10 result in civil war. A revolution happens and then it fragments, and you have a civil war. So we always set out on that path with Caesar and Koba becoming in a way the Martin Luther King Jr. and the Malcolm X of the revolution and the clash as the result of that.
I think the fundamental thing I wanted to do, which I think the franchise will probably do—and I haven’t talked specifically to Matt or Mark Bomback, the writer, of where they’re going with this—but I would imagine the thing that they’re going to go to was the thing I was hoping to do with the sequel, which is go into the cities. Evolve technically, sort of figure out the combustion engine, so in a way interact with our society. And for me, I found that fascinating, and I guess what Matt wanted to do—and obviously it was his first Apes film—was play out more the interim aspect of it. Keep them in the forest for longer and stuff, so that was the fundamental difference between our takes on it.
While Wyatt didn’t go into deeper specifics regarding his take, based on what he said, I have to side with Reeves’ version. If the apes go straight into city-living, then we miss out on the “Loss of Innocence” where we see the apes torn from the sanctity of nature. Reeves’ Dawn provides that arc as we see them move towards technology by using guns and the climactic battle taking place in a city. I’m glad Reeves didn’t rush past all that just to see the apes have a better handle on combustion engines.
Here’s the video of Wyatt talking about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and look for the full interview soon.