OF THINGS TO COME
Burton creates a weird blend of apo and human behaviour
8 THE LIST 8" '1: Aug
Already an unstoppable hit in the USA, PLANET OF THE APES has caught the popular imagination just as it first did in 1968. We spoke to director and stars. Words: Mark Salisbury
n the annals of science ﬁction cinema. the original Planer (I/"l'lie Apes remains one ol‘ the most ingenious and beloyed moyics‘ eyer. \Vatched today. some 33 years after it was released. Franklin .I. Sehal'l‘nefs ﬁlm. based on the allegorical noyel by Pierre Boulle and starring cosmic cowboy (‘harlton Heston. Plane! ()f The Apes is still better than tnost contemporary studio moyies. lts thought-proyoking and deeply philosophical script (co-written by 'Iiri/ig/n Zone creator Rod
Serling) which hooked around the social and political issues of
the day — namely the racism. the (‘old War and the nuclear threat — is almost as resonant today as it was back then; the only really dated moment being the sight ol’ Heston pulling away on a cigar inside his spaceship.
So successful was l’lunel ()f The Apes. both commercially and critically. that a sequel. Beneath The Planet ()f 7716 Apex. was almost immediately greenlit by Twentieth Century Fox. Another three Apes moyies (l-jseupe l’mm . . .. (pm/nest ()f. . .
and Battle l'in‘. . .) lollowed. along with a couple ol'lV show s. And while certainly not the lirst cinematic franchise. Planet ()f‘ The Apes has endured in large part due to lleston‘s jaw— clenching performance and the originals landmark climax: the Statue Of Liberty hall-buried in the sand.
The idea ol‘ returning to the Plane! ()f The Apes was one that had been long mooted by Fox bigwigs and lilmmaker lans ol the original alike. Alter close to a decade in deyelopment and a pile of discarded scripts. it took S/eepy HU/lmt' director Tim Burton to bring the project to life. Admired for his unique yisual sensibility and ability to create magical cinematic worlds. Burton seemed the perfect choice to take the helm (it a new version of Apes. particularly since he‘d already breathed life into the Batman franchise which. much like Apes. came with a huge in-built latibase and massiye expectations.
To begin with Burton. wasn't interested in redoing l’lmte/ ()f'T/ze Apes. ‘lt‘s a time capsule. it‘s a thing unto itsell‘. there‘s absolutely no way to remake it.‘ was his reaction. it you‘re going to remake something. make it something that‘s bad. so you can make it better.~
So. as with Batman. Burton went back to the source material. looking into the Apes mythology in order to put his singular stamp on it. 'lt‘s weirdly surreal. 'cos I treat everything like it‘s new] he says. 'ln fact. il‘l thought it wasn‘t.