Director Rupert Wyatt did the unthinkable with 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes by making a genuinely good remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the fourth sequel to the sci-fi classic Planet of the Apes, which spawned its own crappy remake, directed by Tim Burton in 2000. Considering the stigma against remakes, and their often sub-par quality, Wyatt pulled off a minor miracle with a compelling stand-alone film with amazing visual effects and a career-best performance from mo-cap legend Andy Serkis. So naturally, we're disappointed to learn that Wyatt will not be returning for the inevitable sequel, currently titled Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Deadline reports that Wyatt has turned down the director's chair due to concerns about meeting the film's intended release date of May 23, 2014. Whether this is based on the film's ample visual effects needs or concerns that the screenplay isn't ready yet is uncertain. But 20th Century Fox is wasting no time seeking a replacement for their unexpected new franchise. At the top of their short list is Cloverfield director Matt Reeves (currently available after dropping out of the new Twilight Zone movie), but he will be competing with J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed), Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter), Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (the upcoming Highlander remake) and Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible). 20th Century Fox also reportedly wants Rian Johnson (Looper) and Guillermo Del Toro (Pacific Rim) for the gig, but the odds of Del Toro being available or Johnson directing a script he didn't write himself – as he recently told CraveOnline – are slim to none.
We expect confirmation from 20th Century Fox soon if they expect to meet their self-imposed deadline of Summer 2014, since the motion-capture necessary to pull of a modern Apes movie is a time consuming process, and production will need to get underway soon.
CraveOnline will be back with more Dawn of the Planet of the Apes news after we take down a helicopter.