Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns has amassed a strong body of work, but Contagion may well be the best of his films to date. It will certainly be the most frequently evoked when discussing his new gig, rewriting the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
There’s already been a draft or two of this sequel by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, the writers of the first picture, and creators of the original notion.
The Hollywood Reporter don’t have much else to tell us, but do promise:
The new project is taking the story to the next level, with the apes on the path to emerge as society’s new rulers.
I’ll refer you again to what director Rupert Wyatt was contemplating when I spoke to him last year:
There’s so much we could do… The ideas I’ve had are all sorts of things, ranging from Full Metal Jacket with apes… you could start this story again eight years from where we left off, the next generation of apes, those that have come from our protagonists, perhaps going in to a conflict with humans and showing real fear, in the same way as going into war for young soldiers in this day and age, telling their story.
Or how apes are taking over cities, and being moved into human environments and having to interact with them and deal with things that are part of our culture and understand and evolve through them. Spies that are in the employ of the apes, working against humans and humans maybe existing underground, because that’s a way they can avoid the virus, coming up above ground wearing gas masks, and maybe that’s what dehumanises them.
One of the big decisions that Silver, Jaffa and now Burns will have faced is how much spoken language the apes will use. It’s not an easy problem to solve, but writers this smart should be able to crack it.