What Matt Reeves has done with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and now War For the Planet of the Apes, has been remarkable. Look, even if the Apes films aren’t your favorite things (but, it seems, most people do like them), the fact that Matt Reeves got a major movie studio to go along with his distinct vision of what these movies should be is almost unheard of these days for a major franchise.
And his direct vision was always to make Andy Serkis’ Caesar the main character of these movies. And, to be honest, it’s kind of crazy that it works.
Before joining Dawn of the Planet of the Apes late in pre-production, Reeves had eschewed franchises. He’d had success with Cloverfield and Let Me In, but wanted to avoid tentpole movies for this very reason. He didn’t want to lose control. But with Apes, that never happened, even being allowed to rewrite major amounts of Dawn late in the process to give the apes a bigger role.
Now, Reeves is moving on to The Batman, starring Ben Affleck. For a director who say he’s avoiding franchises, he’s sure doing a lot of franchises now But will Reeves have the same kind of control with The Batman as he did on Apes? Ahead, he explains.
Also, when I met with Reeves at Fox’s News Corp headquarters in New York City, we were joined by Oscar-winning effects supervisors Dan Lemmon and Joe Letteri, who just may have don’t their finest work on War For the Planet of the Apes.
I cannot believe this movie exists.
Reeves: It doesn’t exist. But I’m glad you came here. How did you mean?
That it’s this summer blockbuster movie made in this way…
Reeves: Okay. Yeah, that’s very true…
That looks like it is very much a person’s vision of what this movie should be.
Reeves: I feel like that has been the gift of this particular franchise at this particular moment for me personally. And it’s actually the reason why up until doing Dawn I had resisted doing any franchise films, even though I’d been offered a few. Because I’d only made small movies. And even Cloverfield, which was a small movie, was really an independent movie, which we made that Paramount released.