Vulture is reporting that 20th Century Fox has not given up on rebooting the “Planet of the Apes” franchise despite reports that the project was scrapped. The site says that Peter Chernin has come on board to produce the film, code-named “Caesar.”
Scott Frank (Minority Report) was previously attached to write and direct for producer Scott Rudin. The studio has now hired writer Jamie Moss (Street Kings) to rework Frank’s version, and the original writers, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, were recently brought back to polish the dialogue.
According to Vulture, Frank’s script “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 ‘Caesar’ code name also foreshadowed the script’s plot: Like the actual Julius Caesar, the ape begins a (wait for it … ) guerrilla war and emerges the emperor of the known world.”
The studio, however, wanted to pursue a different take than Frank, and the writer/director was unwilling to change direction. A new director is expected to be hired soon.
What’s interesting is that Chernin, after he became head of Fox Filmed Entertainment in 1992, tried to revive the “Planet of the Apes” franchise. He hired Oliver Stone to executive produce a Return of the Apes film that would center on a geneticist (Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered) who time-travels back to the Paleolithic Era, where he must help humans win a war against highly evolved apes and protect a young girl whose genes will ultimately save mankind from a plague.
The site adds that Frank is working on a new draft for the D.J. Caruso-directed I Am Number Four at DreamWorks. He’ll be working on the script written by Al Gough and Miles Millar.