Fox is close to nailing down its new entry in the Planet of the Apes franchise: Called Caesar, it's a flick about the super-intelligent monkey who is an ancestor of the new rulers of Earth. Scott Frank will be directing and writing, which is a good sign: He wrote the amazing reincarnation thriller Dead Again, as well as smart suspense flicks The Interpreter and The Lookout. He's also divulged some details about how Caesar will deviate from Apes canon.

As Apes afficionados know, Caesar is the name of the first super-smart ape to lead the slave apes to revolution in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (followed by my favorite flick in the series, Battle for the Planet of the Apes). In Conquest, however, Caesar is the son of time-traveling apes Cornelius and Zira - he's far more evolved than his enslaved brethren on near-future Earth. So he's able to lead the revolution partly because he's from a far-future version of the intelligent apes.


But in Frank's movie, set in 2009, Caesar will be the result of the first genetic experiments with uplifting ape intelligence. He'll be mute, able to communicate only through sign language. Frank's said he wants to be as true as possible to contemporary science and just tweak it a little bit. So far, so good: We already have apes who can communicate via sign language.

Apparently one of the big concerns Frank has right now, as he goes into a rewrite on the script, is how to represent Caesar. He's totally opposed to ape suits, which were the preferred mode in other movies (including Tim Burton's execrable remake). So he's trying to figure out how to make the ape a photorealistic CGI creation with a face that's expressive enough to make him sympathetic despite the fact that he doesn't talk.

One thing we know for sure: Caesar will be leading a revolution. Or at least that's what Production Weekly said. Here's their synopsis:

The origins of how the Apes took over Earth. A hyper-intelligent chimp raised by humans incites a worldwide ape revolution and causes the downfall of mankind.


Scott Frank Tells CHUD He's Not Remaking Conquest of the Planet of the Apes [via CHUD]

Planet of the Apes Gets a Director [via CinemaBlend]