Can Fox's 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Survive Under a New Director?
Reports have been circulating around the Web claiming that Rupert Wyatt, director of the surprise hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes, has walked away from the chance to direct the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
The reason given in a Deadline story is that Wyatt – much like Hunger Games director Gary Ross – did not want to rush to meet a studio-mandated release date. 20th Century Fox wants Dawn in theaters on May 23, 2014.
Fox has not confirmed Wyatt’s decision yet. But Internet scribes took to the Web to comment on his possible exit.
“It may be a tight turnaround to make the release date of May 23, 2014, but that's still possible,” said HitFix’s Drew McWeeny. “Certainly, release-date filmmaking is a bit of a nightmare. But even so, I've heard that the script is good and the premise is strong this time, and Andy Serkis is returning for the sequel, so he'll have his Caesar to rely on again. … If I were Wyatt's reps, I'd be pushing him very hard right now to reconsider, and if he does end up leaving, I'd pick that next project very, very carefully.”
Devin Faraci of BadassDigest adds, “I'm not going to get too worked up about it; the first film did well enough that a post-Rothman Fox could very well find a new director who will do a bang-up job.”
And it’s hard not to agree. While I’d agree that Wyatt did a fine job on the surprisingly captivating Rise, most left praising the digital-effects work of WETA and the mo-cap performance of Serkis (who some believed deserved Oscar consideration). And the Apes series has a long history of replacing directors from film to film over the years. Another substitution likely will not slow Dawn of the Planet of the Apes down so long as names like Serkis and WETA remain attached.
It’s possible Wyatt returns, and Dawn stays on its fast track to the 2014 release date. The amount of silence following the first round of rumors has me believing that negotiations are taking place behind the scenes as we speak.
But for now, tell us: Does it matter to you who directs Dawn of the Planet of the Apes so long as Serkis is back and WETA is handling the special effects? Share your thoughts below.
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Sean O'ConnellFandango Bloggers
Sean is a film reviewer for The Washington Post and daily contributor to Fandango.