Exclusive: Rise Of The Apes crew talk about their story

Rupert Wyatt, Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa discuss the ideas behind the Planet Of The Apes prequel.

Rise Of The Apes will be a socially relevant, cautionary tale about modern science and attitudes, the film’s director and writers say.

Speaking excusively to SciFiNow, director Rupert Wyatt, while refusing to divulge too much about the plot of the Planet Of The Apes prequel, will confirm reports that the story is rooted within a scientific experiment to cure Alzheimer’s disease. “As is the case with a lot of genetic research, there is the use of chimpanzees and live specimens to do that,” he says. “In the process they not only inadvertently alter the brain stem growth and regrowth of these chimps, they create an accelerated intelligence. As a result, these chimps go through an evolution that would normally take a millennia.

“Caesar,” he continues, “is the offspring of one of these laboratory chimps, who we see in the beginning of the movie being poached from a jungle in West Africa and brought to America. She is killed as a result of a breakout in the laboratory, where all of the chimps are exterminated. Then they discover that one of the reasons she was trying to break out was, in fact, that she was trying to protect her newborn baby, and that baby is then fostered and rescued, secretly, by the scientist and taken home. He does so because he realizes that this baby contains the proof that his drug worked. So he does it, therefore, for ulterior motives to begin with, but then he does become a surrogate father to this chimp… and I won’t tell you anymore.”

Co-writer Rick Jaffa points out that there are obviously tremendous differences between this film and the original Apes movies. “But,” he says, “it’s socially relevant the way I think those were and I think that ultimately the theme is the same. That theme, for us, is if man plays God, it’s going to eventually come back and get you. Apes didn’t put Colonel Taylor on that beach at the end of the original film [where he finds the remnants of the Statue of Liberty], man did it to themselves. Even though we don’t have a nuclear holocaust in this film, we do have that theme, which is very important to us.”

For his part, Wyatt offers, “This is about opening Pandora’s Box, and the results of that. I’m by no means a conservative; I do believe in the great things we’ve achieved as a civilization and the great strides made by way of taking risks and pushing the envelope. But this story is a cautionary tale, I would say, and it’s striking that balance where we see a scientist, a man who is driven to becoming this Dr. Frankenstein, and the reasons behind why he does that. The personal reasons as well as the hubris. It’s also the story of his relationship with his creation. As such, I think it makes it a much more personal story than what’s come before.”

“The really exciting thing,” adds Jaffa’s co-writer, Amanda Silver, “is this is a film with a lot of heart. In many ways, that’s a motor for the story, but it becomes a very exciting story about revolution and it grows very big.”

Rise Of The Apes is due for release next year. Directed by Rupert Wyatt from a script by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa, the film stars Andy Serkis as the central ape, Caesar. For our full world exclusive feature on the film, pick up a copy of SciFiNow issue 48, on sale 24 November 2010 in all good newsagents.