Why does Planet of the Apes intrigue us?

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Planet of the Apes, Miyazaki’s perfect world, leave Brendan Fraser alone, Brian Cox Bond villain and a hat.

Let’s go!


WHY DOES PLANET OF THE APES INTRIGUE US?

How long would it take a monkey to write Planet of the Apes?

On the heels of the latest Planet of the Apes film (trailer here), our enthrallment with eloquent apes seems eternal–why does it continue to captivate us?

The idea of humans subjugated beneath our simian cousins remains one of the most alluring in science fiction. Since the original novel by French author Pierre Boulle in 1963, Hollywood has released ten films:

Remake:

Reboot:

From the anti-war sentiments woven through the narratives of the 1960s series to the ethical quandaries of genetic engineering broached in the contemporary chapters, these films articulate profound messages, transcending the spectacle of gun-toting, horseback-riding apes.

There’s an underlying elegance to the franchise, improbable as it may seem, given its legion of actors donning simian silicone suits or the more recent CGI apes.

The film questions our very notions of civilization. What constitutes it, and what vindicates humans as the dominant species?

The saga’s enduring power comes from its ability to entwine socio-political commentary with its storytelling.

With Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, the franchise promises to continue its legacy. If it holds true to form, it won’t just showcase interspecies conflict but also urge us to root for the expansive potential of our own humanity.

What can we learn from this multi-billion dollar global franchise?

A simple, elegant idea can cut through the noise of mindless genre movies.

In this industry, every producer, agent, and distributor has an insatiable appetite for content. Newcomers and established filmmakers can create a lasting legacy by capturing complex themes from a simple idea.

Planet of the Apes stands as a testament.

For More:

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes releases May 27th, 2024. Here’s the trailer, in case you missed it.

“You cut up his brain, you bloody baboon.” The original 1968 trailer is still shocking.

A Long Day’s Journey into The Planet of the Apes, a video essay about the making of the franchise.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Hayao Miyazaki’s animation is a work of art. His latest film stars Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, Willem Dafoe, Mark Hamill, Robert Pattinson, and Florence Pugh.

Miyazaki’s cinema intertwines the supernatural and the personal. Amongst his best are:

Studio Ghibli (Miyazaki’s production company) summarizes his latest, The Boy and the Heron:

A young boy named Mahito, yearning for his mother, ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead. There, death comes to an end, and life finds a new beginning. A semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death, and creation, in tribute to friendship, from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki.

The imagery in the trailer is pure beauty.

The film is due in theaters on Dec 8th (US) and Dec 26th (UK).

Interestingly, Christian Bale voiced Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle.

Paramount+ has 63 million subscribers. In Q3, the company achieved:

  • 46% growth in viewing hours
  • $1.3 billion subscription revenue (up 46%)
  • 2.7M increase in subs

The big revenue jump directly results from Paramount’s subscribers being more engaged with their content. Additionally, they’ve boosted monthly prices by a dollar.

Leave Brendan Fraser alone. A series of mean tweets have criticized his performance as over the top. This caused Scorsese to come out defending him:

“He brought the whole [court] scene down on Leo. It was perfect. And he had that girth. He’s big in the frame at that time. He’s a wonderful actor, and he was just great to work with.”

Fraser returned the compliment:

“[Scorsese’s] a master cinema creator. He was a regular actor’s director. He moved furniture around himself. He likes to rehearse. He took suggestions and gave credit to the best idea, wherever it came from. He’s brilliant. He can solve multiple problems at the same time in an instant. There were four cameras, quadruple coverage, to shoot a courtroom scene that’s happening in real-time like an opera.”

Following up on yesterday’s edition, HBO CEO Casey Bloys addressed allegations of using fake Twitter accounts to discredit TV critics. Bloys referred to his bogus Twitter accounts as a pandemic-era “ill-conceived notion.” He continued:

“For those of you who know me, you know that I am a passionate programming executive, and I’m very, very passionate about the shows that we decide to do and the people who do the shows and the people who work on them. I want the shows to be great, and I want you all to love them.”

THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Looking for a great weekend film? Check out some memorable performances by three actresses who are tipping the Oscar scales in their favor this season:

Vanessa Kirby (Napoleon)

Emma Stone (Poor Things)

Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon)

Last year, when Amazon bought MGM, our office had a panic attack. A back-of-the-napkin calculation revealed that Bezos would be in charge of MGM’s IP crown jewel: 007.

But even though the latest Bond film is still languishing in development–perhaps the team is shaken from too many Vodka martinis; Amazon has still found a way to move on the IP.

Brian Cox helms 007: Road to a Million (trailer). He plays a villainous mastermind sitting in a multi-screened control room orchestrating Bond-esque challenges for nine real-life pairs of people. It seems to share more DNA with Amazing Race than Bond, but apparently, Cox has always wanted to play a Bond villain. The series is releasing on Amazon Prime on November 10th.

Yesterday, we mentioned the new Ryan Gosling film The Fall Guy. The trailer just dropped; it’s amazing, and the Bon Jovi moment made us laugh out loud. It’s over-the-top absurd but still captures a lovable, self-effacing Gosling—Emily Blunt also stars.


FESTIVALS

Ruben Östlund is paying it forward after having directed:

He is mentoring eight young directors at France’s Les Arcs Film Festival and offering a masterclass on transitioning from short to feature-length films. If you’re heading to the Swiss Alps next month for the festival, drop us a line. If not, here’s a great master class he gave to BAFTA.

Adam Driver is poised to be recognized as the guest of honor at a press conference at the Camerimage Film Festival, best known for celebrating cinematographers. He will also introduce the eagerly anticipated film Ferrari, directed by Michael Mann. Driver plays Enzo Ferrari.

Martin Scorsese spoke at the WSJ’s Innovator Awards, where he received the top honor. He recounted his first use of the Steadicam (relatively new tech at the time) on Raging Bull (1980):

“I got in the ring and De Niro’s in there and I looked at the rushes and I realized I actually foolishly expected the tools to do the work. It meant nothing. I had to redirect the scene, the tool itself was not gonna give me something new.”

Scorsese continued:

“The technology of today is as profound a change as the Industrial Revolution. We have no idea how it’s going to affect all of us, but with these tools, it creates possibilities we’d never dream of. These tools create a whole new form of moviemaking, of cinema. But it has to come from the artist, it has to come from the person, it has to come from us.”

Amen.


TECH SECTION

The subtle VFX of Killers of the Flower Moon is untraceable thanks to Industrial Light & Magic. They are the VFX studio behind:

The subtle VFX of Killers of the Flower Moon is untraceable thanks to Industrial Light & Magic. They are the VFX studio behind:

They have also collaborated with Scorsese on his last three features. In describing the work on Flower Moon, Pablo Helman, the VFX Supervisor, noted how Scorsese’s thinking on VFX is always guided by what can help audiences understand the story more effectively.

He explained that in a brief, crucial shot, a character dies in a car accident without his signature hat, previously worn in multiple scenes. This absence obscured his identity from the audience:

“And it was important for Marty to extend that to the audience. So we put a CG hat on this person that was from the other scene, and we put blood there to indicate that he had been shot. And he was the person that we saw three scenes before. That is part of the storytelling incident.”

Full interview here.

The entertainment industry is embracing sustainability, with studios implementing various eco-friendly practices such as green roofs and solar panels.

NYC legislation is driving energy efficiency standards. Notable studios like Silvercup Studios and Great Point Media are leveraging green roofs for environmental benefits, including air purification and reduced storm-water runoff. Wildflower Studios, with Robert De Niro at the helm, is designed to withstand flooding.

The Sustainable Production Forum serves as a valuable resource for filmmakers, providing guidance and tools for seeking to adopt sustainable practices on set.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Richard Linklater’s latest film is Hit Man. AGC Studios summarizes:

Gary Johnson (Glen Powell) is the most sought-after professional killer in New Orleans. To his clients, he is like something out of a movie: the mysterious gun for hire. But if you pay him to rub out a cheating spouse or an abusive boss, you’d better watch your back he works for the cops. When he breaks protocol to help a desperate woman trying to flee an abusive husband, he finds himself becoming one of his false personas, falling for the woman and flirting with turning into a criminal himself.

The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, where Netflix bought it for $20M, the most any distributor paid for a film at a festival that year.

No trailer yet, but knowing Linklater, we might be getting a lighter, more introspective version of Fincher’s The Killer.

A documentary about documentary subjects asks:

“Is a relationship between a documentarian and a subject truthful?”

That’s the core question behind Subject, which features the subjects of:

In the Golden Age of documentaries, who are the casualties? Find out in the trailer.

Robert Durst is back. Speaking of manipulated subjects, a highly edited hot-mic confession at the end of the finale of HBO’s The Jinx landed Robert Durst in jail days before the episode aired. Durst was ultimately convicted of three murders.

Although Durst passed away in January of 2022, the show’s creator and director, Andrew Jarecki, was able to film a second season. Releasing in 2024, the six-episode season will feature jail cell calls between Jarecki and Durst.

We can only hope Durst wasn’t too bitter about the first season.

Bernhard Wenger’s debut feature, Peacock, is being represented by the legendary sales agent MK2 Films:

The film follows Matthias, who works at a rent-a-friend agency, struggling to connect authentically in his personal life.

Wenger got the idea after a trip to Japan, where he encountered one such venue:

“The premise of the film is therefore not an abstruse dystopian construct, but rather an imminent reality I am worried about.”

Scandinavian Cinema and British black comedy have influenced Wenger’s concerns about the atrophying of social structures. Wenger developed the script during his residency at the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation and was also part of Berlinale Talents in 2020.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

The Beatles are back. They’ve been a major part of cinema soundtracks:

The Beatles are back. They’ve been a major part of cinema soundtracks:

Now, after four decades, they’ve released a new song. Using a demo tape that John Lennon recorded in his apartment before his death in 1980.

That recently discovered track and the technology that the remaining band members used to isolate his vocals is the subject of a new short documentary. I’ve got a feeling you’ll enjoy it.

In an unprecedented move, a Saudi Arabian Film production company has aligned with Hollywood’s Stampede Ventures, led by ex-Warner Bros executive Greg Silverman, to usher in 10 film projects over three years to its desert vistas, investing $350 million. This collaboration is the first since Saudi’s 2017 cinema ban reversal.

The US actor’s strike is limiting spend in Australia , which is already at risk of becoming a “grocery industry” to the rest of the world as films like Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes and The Fall Guy use the country’s production resources.

Screen Producers Australia CEO Matt Deaner explains:

“Our overall concern is that without oversight to protect rights and intellectual property consistent with key international screen territories and in other Australian industries that are oligopsony structures such as the grocery industry, Australia is at risk of limiting itself to being a service industry for the international market.”

Let’s hope the strike ends soon and we can have more productions collaborate with Australian filmmakers to create film and TV that enriches the country.


READERS SPOTLIGHT

Rivers Duggan is a bi-coastal filmmaker/actor whose work has been featured on Amazon and Apple TV.

Her recent TV series, Stand-Ins, premiered at the Emmys-sponsored Catalyst Story Institute.

www.RiversDuggan.com


Happy Friday. We’re off this weekend. See you Monday.


ON THIS DAY

1956 – The Wizard of Oz (1939) is televised for 1st time – hosted by Bert Lahr and Judy Garland’s 10-year-old daughter, Liza Minnelli, as the finale of the Ford Star Jubilee series (CBS-TV).


Today’s edition was written by: Gabriel Miller and Spencer Carter.

 

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