With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes enjoying great critical and commercial success in theaters, having already amassed over $135 million in its first week, director Matt Reeves can now turn his attention towards the sequel, as he recently revealed n extensive interview with the Playlist.
Playlist: So where do you go from here? You’re still directing the next one, yes?
Reeves: "I am. We are going to have to take a moment and talk about all the things, Mark Bomback and I are going to be writing the next one and we have a lot of ideas but you know we're going to take a moment to breathe. We just finished this one so we'll see where it goes but we have a lot of ideas we just have to sit down and start it all up again. But it's really important to me that whatever we do next is something that can be better than ‘Dawn,’ so hopefully we can achieve that aim."
Playlist: Do you foresee a big time leap? Like the 10 years between the first two films?
Reeves: "I don't necessarily think that there will be as big a leap between films. I see Casear as a seminal figure in ape history and he's a mythic character. He's essentially like their Moses and I think Caesar having to grapple with what it means to engage in this conflict that he doesn’t really want to be a part of and how that cuts at his core is going to be one of the great challenges for the character. I also think it's a generational story. He has children and I think it's going to be… to me there are many chapters of this mythic ape journey towards the original '68 movie."
Playlist: I was going to ask, when does the history finally cross over with the ’68 movie?
Reeves: "I think there are a number of films and stories to be told here, absolutely. That's what's exciting about it. The question is: are the audiences interested in going on that journey with us? The disparity between the way the world looks in ‘Dawn’ and the way it looked in the '68 film is huge so how do we get from here to there? Then when we do get there, if we do get there, how is that world different by virtue of the new point of view that we've taken?"
Playlist: Interesting. Does the presumed success of ‘Dawn’ make something like that easier to make in our current movie climate?
Reeves: "I certainly hope so. It's a small movie and something that I would undoubtedly make quite quickly but I tried to get it together a number of times. The first time Naomi Watts was going to be in the film and it just fell apart and I ended up doing “Cloverfield.” Then I tried to get it going again right after “Cloverfield” and the independent film market fell apart and went out of business. So I ended up doing the most personal story I could do at the time which ended up being a remake of “Let the Right One In.” It’s a small film that could be made in a short time and I think that hopefully the success of this will make "Invisible Woman" possible."
Playlist: Rian Johnson’s doing “Star Wars,” Gareth Edwards made “Godzilla,” you got to make an uncompromised and dark “Planet Of The Apes” film. Do you feel a return to filmmaker-based big-budget movies rather than studio-driven ones?
Reeves: "Maybe to some degree, yeah. I turned down a lot of studio tentpole offers including ones from Fox. But I loved what they did with ‘Rise,’ so I was really open to it because and they specifically reached out in the spirit of looking for a filmmaker. It's actually what they said they wanted and actually meant it too."
"Despite a couple key collaborations Fox had with say, James Cameron, they weren't necessarily known of wanting to work with filmmakers on these kinds of big movies and that seemed to be a big part of their approach on this film. I kept waiting for the moment when they would say no and they didn't. We certainly had our debates about things—that happens no matter where or what you do. But they let me make this movie which is incredible."
Playlist: Do you see the business changing at all?
Reeves: "Well, certainly Chris Nolan did that with the Batman films, they were hugely successful. But at the end of the day success is the driver and if they make a number of these filmmaker-based films and they fail miserably then it probably won't be the order of the day. It always comes down to the same thing. The studios… it's a business and always has been, and it has to work. In my experience they loved the idea of doing something that both fulfills the summer tentpole spectacle, but also has some ambition and if that works then they’re going to go that route. And if it doesn’t work then of course they won't."
"Change will come first and foremost from audiences. If they connect to it, great. If they don't connect to it, then wherever audiences go, that’s where the studios are going to chase."