Feb 27, 2013

Jason Clarke and Kodi Smit-McPhee Awaken For DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

I'm still playing catch up on some of the stuff I missed while I was on vacation last week, but this immediately jumped out as exciting news.  The sequel to 2011's sleeper hit Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is starting to assemble its cast after trading in director Rupert Wyatt for Cloverfield's Matt Reeves.  Andy Serkis has long been signed to reprise his incredible motion-capture performance as the main ape Caesar and now he'll be joined by Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and young Kodi Smit-McPhee.  There's no confirmation as to what specific roles they'll be playing.  Hell, we don't even know if either of them are playing apes or humans.  What we do know is that the story is set about 15 years after the events of Rise as Caesar fights to lead his growing population of intelligent apes while humans struggle to survive in the face of the global plague glimpsed in the first film's closing credits.

I'm a very big fan of Clarke, who won me over years ago with his work alongside Jason Isaacs on Showtime's Brotherhood.  He pulls off that remarkable duality of being both physical threatening and the smartest guy in the room, which seems like exactly the right combination for a character that will probably turn out to be a post-apocalyptic survivor scientist.  Smit-McPhee, on the other hand, has made a name for himself in movies that have sadly slipped through my fingers.  While he did great vocal work as the hero of last year's Paranorman, his most recognizable work has been in movies like The Road and Reeves's vampire remake Let Me In.  (Both of which I'm scheduled to finally watch in the next few weeks.)

So far it appears that James Franco will not be returning, although I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up with at least some kind of cameo.  The less we see of him the better.  While I don't really hate on Franco the way many others seem to, even I have to admit that the last Apes movie worked in spite of him, not because of him.  His character would be the top contender against those two idiots lost in the temple in Prometheus for the title of Worst Movie Scientists Ever.

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