The Kidd here...
So there have been rumblings for a little while that Rupert Wyatt wouldn't be back in the director's chair for the sequel to RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES entitled DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Apparently the rush to 20th Century Fox's announced May 23, 2014 release date for the follow-up was cause for concern for Wyatt, in that he didn't think he'd be able to make the film he'd like to make with a deadline already staring him in the face, similar to what Gary Ross worried about before he bolted THE HUNGER GAMES series.
There's been no official word on his departure from the rebooted APES franchise, but Fox looks to be already looking at candidates to take his place in the event that he's definitely out, which appears more and more likely moving forward.
According to Deadline, Fox has assembled a short list of directors that are in the discussion to helm ROTPOTA, and, although Wyatt's departure would be a great loss for how incredible a film he made that really had no business being that good, there may be a perfect substitute lying in wait.
Matt Reeves (CLOVERFIELD and LET ME IN) sits as the potential frontrunner for good reason, with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 WEEKS LATER), J. Blakeson (THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED), Jeff Nichols (TAKE SHELTER, MUD), Juane Antonio Bayona (THE IMPOSSIBLE, THE ORPHANAGE) also in the conversation. Guillermo Del Toro and Rian Johnson are on the wish list, too, as they should be, but there's no indication that either of them are real possibilities at this point.
There's a lot of experience here mixing strong character work with some heavy effects, but Reeves looks like the right choice to me. His work on LET ME IN seals the deal for me, as he managed to tackle material that had already been done well before by others and made it his own. Plus, with him seemingly out of THE TWILIGHT ZONE film that's been lingering for awhile over at Warner Bros., he's got the time in his schedule to devote to APES.
Fresnadillo most likely has too much on his plate to take on something this big, with HIGHLANDER next on tap for him. I'd love to see Jeff Nichols get a shot at something bigger based solely on what he did with TAKE SHELTER, which, for me, was the best film that year... but this looks like Reeves' job to have if he wants it.
"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"
Follow me on Twitter.