Planet of the Apes is expected to continue as a franchise with Wes Ball at the helm of the next movie. The franchise was rounded out with Matt Reeves and his efforts on War for the Planet of the Apes but things have changed quite a bit since that film came to life. Not only has the pandemic which the world is currently facing reshaping what the filmmaking process is going to be like with extra precautionary measures in place but Disney has purchased Fox and will be the studio behind thee franchise going forward. In a recent interview, Ball opened up a bit about what he is expecting with this work and what we should expect, as well.
"The truth is, my heart goes out to everyone and the times we’re living in are obviously historical. We’ll be looking at these moments taught in schools in 20, 30, 50 years," Ball told DiscussingFilm. "So I’m trying to make the best of it and trying to understand the moment we’re living through. As my job, I see it as being an entertainer and storyteller who tries to give people an escape from their everyday lives. That’s still very much on my mind, still very much my motivation and directive."
Work on his Apes movie was shut down from the perspective of people gathering together to work on it but this has not stopped Ball's creative efforts with his collaborators, entirely. "We were in the development phase. So we’re writing," he explains. "I was already meeting with my writer Josh Friedman on Zoom for weeks before this all hit. We already had a routine of jumping on Zoom and chatting about the script. In that sense, nothing has really changed. What I found a little bit myself is that I’ve been incredibly bursting with ideas in this time. I guess maybe because of being locked up? I’m pretty fortunate that I have an escape. I have a loft that I share with my screenwriter buddy T.S Nowlin – so it’s kind of a little retreat from home to go and try to be creative, productive, and work on my projects."
For the past couple of months, Ball has been comfortably working on the movie from his home.
When things get up and running again, the director seems to be very much looking forward to making the Apes movie on the Disny banner. "Disney has an insane marketing department," he explaind. "Their ability to distribute movies and make money off them, with theme parks and such, and just their whole strategy is about great stories, well-told and done to the nines. It was fun to even just imagine being a part of that kind of apparatus. We were already deep in Mouse Guard when that happened essentially. For that year and a half when we were developing Mouse Guard, we were aware of the merger but, legally and contractually, were not allowed to talk about it. The merger hadn’t gone through and there could be all this lawyer stuff basically. So for us it was: head down, keep working forward and make something cool."
That said, Ball's movie may have fallen victim to delays earlier than most films. Prior to the shutdown which Hollywood is facing, the merging of Fox and Disney seems to have also put the new film on hold. "Unfortunately when the deal did go through, that’s when both companies were still trying to figure out a little bit about how they meshed and married together. It’s like two gigantic organisms, 20th Century Fox and Disney, that have wildly different cultures," he said. "These entities have to find a way to become one family. It’s a marriage, so that doesn’t happen overnight. For the last year or two, that’s been progressing forward. There have been a lot of shake ups, obviously, with a lot of people that I’m personally great friends with. Many have left and that has kind of disbanded the Fox company, which is essentially what I consider my home. That is where I was writing my first three movies. I knew everyone there, from the creative executives all the way up to the marketing and distribution department. I knew everyone there and that’s all shaken up now."
At the end of the day, the director says he is more than ready to get back to work when the time to do so safely comes.
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