Now that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has blown everybody's mind, what happens next? Director Matt Reeves, who is both writing and directing the untitled Apes sequel, has a few ideas. And he shared them with us, in our exclusive interview.
This is the second half of our two-parter interview with Reeves. Previously we discussed the naming of Caesar's son (Bright Eyes vs. Blue Eyes) and whether or not we'll ever see an Apes movie where the humans are the unintelligent sub-species. But here's all the spoilery stuff we talked about, regarding the ending of Dawn and what comes next. So be warned. Also find out why they chose to highlight Charles Burns' Black Hole.
The movie sets Caesar up as a God. Is this the beginning of the ape religion that we see in later films? How much will his godlike status effect the next movie?
Matt Reeves: That's definitely going to be an aspect of the story. He becomes a very mythic character. And he's the Caesar that shall begin other Caesars. Given that we know the ending of the story and we know that Caesar has these ties to humans and to apes, and that everything gets really turned upside down by the world of the '68 film…
The question is how do we get there? And this then becomes a generational story. A story of not only Caesar and his family, but his children and how this story continues down that path. How Caesar becomes the first, truly mythic god-like character for the apes. He's very seminal figure for the apes. The idea, the objective for the story was to being the beginning of that mythic status for him. He goes from being a kind of revolutionary to a kind of leader to a mythic god.
This is the movie that starts the Ape Vs. Human war. Caesar says that himself. It's their shot heard 'round the world, but a building blows up instead. So what's the next step for ape culture?
There's an important moment in the movie where Caesar admits that as much as he felt he was human, and as much as he felt that [James] Franco was his father and he had this connection to humans, in discovering what he was and returning to being an ape and freeing those apes from their bondage and beginning a civilization together — fulfilling that family in a way that he never really quite had when he was young — he really came to believe that apes were better than humans. And would not suffer a similar fate.
The big revelation for him in a very "through the looking glass" science fiction way was just how human the apes are. They came to realize what their limitations where their failing their ability to lose control. To sort of lose their ability to resist violence.. Caesar's constantly struggling against his violent impulses.
Now we start to go into this place where self preservation starts to be the order of the day. He knows there's no going back and explaining, "the apes didn't really mean to attack the humans, they were misled by a rogue ape." That's not something you can really explain to a society. And he realizes that now he has to grapple with the reality. He's got pulls in both worlds, this is going to be a very painful journey for him, and for the apes.
Why did you choose to highlight graphic novel Black Hole as a gift from the teenager to Maurice?
The story for Alexander is about the pain of his adolescence. And he has a very unique adolescence because he's living after the viral apocalypse and he's lost almost everyone that he knew, including his mother. And that was uniquely about the pain of his life. Black Hole is about the pain and messiness of that time in life.
It seemed like an appropriate book. It was actually suggested to me by James Chinlund, our Production Designer. When we explored it and I realized what it was about I though that was exactly what it should be. I think it's very connected to what I think is thematically going on with his character.