The next Nicholas Sparks adaptation is taking some liberties with the source material.


The next Nicholas Sparks adaptation is taking some liberties with the source material.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. OFFICE

JAMES FRANCO walks into the office of DIRECTOR MATT REEVES.

JAMES FRANCO

Matt! Rise of the Planet of the Apes did pretty well apparently. That obviously means they're making a bunch more and I hear they've tapped you to direct the next one!

DIRECTOR MATT REEVES

James? What are you doing here? Do you even have an appointment?

JAMES FRANCO

(notices poster)

Oh, you're gonna call it Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? That's kinda weird, since the sun rises at dawn so those words mean basically the same thing. Oh whatever, naming sequels or prequels or reboots has become a bankrupt exercise anyway. It's all "rise this, fall that, revenge of the so-and-so." I suppose you'll want this movie to follow right after my closing scene with Caesar?

DIRECTOR MATT REEVES

Ehmm -- we're actually going to set it ten years later. We're using that pandemic footnote from the last movie to kill off nearly all of humanity while letting the apes thrive under Caesar's leadership.

JAMES FRANCO

Awesome! Perhaps I can be the one to spearhead the human resistance or something? Since I inadvertently helped cause that pandemic, I can be all broody about redemption and stuff. Hey, maybe I can write some of my own lines!

(dramatic)

"What has science done?" Fuck, that's gold right there.

DIRECTOR MATT REEVES

No. You died. Go away.

JAMES FRANCO

What? No please, you have to let me be in it! It's either this or some godawful comedy about assassinating Kim Jong-un!

DIRECTOR MATT REEVES

I'm calling security.

CUT TO:

EXT. MUIR WOODS - OUTSIDE SAN FRANCISCO

CAESAR is leading A HUNTING PARTY alongside KOBA, THAT CGI BONOBO FROM THE LAST MOVIE.

CAESAR

Koba, my tragic friend and confidant, you lead those deer to the other side of the uncanny valley and I'll corner them there.

KOBA

Excellent plan, my fearless leader.

Meanwhile, CAESAR'S SON, BLUE EYES, runs into JASON CLARKE, KERI RUSSELL, KODI SMIT-MCPHEE and KIRK ACEVEDO.

BLUE EYES

Holy fuck, humans! I will stand here agape and motionless!

KIRK ACEVEDO

Holy fuck, an ape! I will immediately flip the fuck out!

KIRK FIRES HIS REVOLVER, prompting the arrival of CAESAR AND HIS BAND OF MERRY APES.

JASON CLARKE

Kirk, you unimaginable bastard! Don't you see these apes are special and unique and deserving of our respect? In fact, I'm making that my unchallenged viewpoint for the entire movie, because consistency is what makes a character arc compelling!

KIRK ACEVEDO

Really? Great, then I guess I'm a lock for the token narrow-minded asshole.

KOBA

Me too, since I now look like a fucking Uruk-hai. My fearless leader, they endangered your son! KILL THEM ALL! HUMANS SUCK!

CAESAR

Yeah, but Blue Eyes has been a rebellious little brat lately, so I'll let this one slide. Humans, leave immediately or we will scowl at you even harder.

KODI SMIT-MCPHEE

Dad, what do we do?

JASON CLARKE

Son, we're outnumbered here, so it's best we walk away. You should know a thing or two about the intricacies of battle. You were in Ender's Game after all.

KODI SMIT-MCPHEE

For the last time, I'm not Asa Butterfield! I'm the kid from The Road, which means I only have experience with being helpless in post-apocalyptic landscapes! Waaah, I dropped my sketchbook!

KERI RUSSELL

I am also in this scene!

EVERYBODY just LEAVES.

INT. HUMAN SETTLEMENT - SAN FRANCISCO

JASON'S GROUP returns to THE HUMAN SETTLEMENT and he speaks with ITS LEADER, GARY OLDMAN.

GARY OLDMAN

So did you find a working power source out there? We only have fuel left for a few weeks at most!

JASON CLARKE

Wait, don't fuel supplies go bad after a couple of years? This should've presented a problem way earlier!

GARY OLDMAN

Never mind that! Did you find a damn power source or not?

JASON CLARKE

Yes, we found a dam, but it's in disrepair and located right smack in the middle of ape territory.

GARY OLDMAN

There's apes out there? I guess that ignorance is the price we pay for apparently having stayed inside the settlement all these years. Anyway, we should be able to deal with a couple of apes, right? What are they gonna do, fling their crap at us?

The SETTLEMENT is suddenly visited by CAESAR AND HUNDREDS OF APES ON HORSEBACK CARRYING SPEARS.

GARY OLDMAN

Oh crap.

JASON CLARKE

They look seriously cheesed off! Guess I better open the gates to our only sanctuary and walk out there with the hope that my wide-eyed idealism will carry me through.

CAESAR

We do not want war! That is why I armed every ape in existence and brought them all to your doorstep. Don't come near our village again. As a sign of conciliation, here's that sketchbook your son dropped. Tell him he needs to work on perspective.

The APES LEAVE and JASON confers with GARY.

GARY OLDMAN

Now the apes are talking shit instead of throwing it! We need to arm ourselves and prepare for battle! There's an abandoned armoury nearby, I'm going there to load up.

JASON CLARKE

You have to give me time to come to a resolution with Caesar! Yes, I learned his name despite nobody having mentioned it around me so far.

GARY OLDMAN

Fine. I'll give you time to venture into ape territory, negotiate a truce with Caesar, and deal with the logistics of repairing a hydroelectric dam. Three days ought to be generous enough to do all that, I think?

KIRK ACEVEDO

I can help! I used to be a water engineer. You need to engineer some water, I'm your guy.

KERI RUSSELL

Can I come too? You'll need a sounding board for your thoughts and I can do doctor stuff also.

KODI SMIT-MCPHEE

And I got my sketchbook back so I can tag along and sketch things again!

INT. APE VILLAGE - OUTSIDE SAN FRANCISCO

CAESAR returns to his VILLAGE, where he has FOSTERED A PEACEFUL COMMUNITY OF SORTS.

KOBA

Caesar, I'm concerned that your sympathy for the humans is clouding your judgement as to what's best for the future of our community. Let me express that sentiment in a more ape-like manner.

(snarls, pounds the ground)

CAESAR LOVE HUMAN MORE THAN APE! BLUUURGH!

CAESAR

Koba, please.

KOBA

But I went over to spy on the humans and they're stockpiling weapons! They spotted me too and I had to pretend to be all herp derp to get away.

CAESAR

You won't provoke me to violence, Koba. Unless you confront me the exact same way later on, then I'll probably beat the living snot out of you.

KOBA

In that case, I think I'll just slowly corrupt your son to my way of thinking. Which ape is Blue Eyes again?

CAESAR

You can pick him out by his recently acquired scars. Good thing that bear almost mauled him, eh?

JASON then arrives and requests AN AUDIENCE WITH CAESAR.

JASON CLARKE

Caesar, I understand your reservations, but we need that dam to live. I know we have nothing to offer you, so I'll just appeal to the fact that we're basically mirror characters caught on opposite sides.

CAESAR

How do you figure?

JASON CLARKE

Don't you see? We're both idealists pushed to positions of leadership and we're both fathers who only want the best for their sons. There's also the defiant underlings we both have to deal with, lest they risk the way of life we're trying to conserve. Oh, and I'm pretty sure we both have wives too?

CAESAR

Well, if you put it like that.

EXT. DAM - OUTSIDE SAN FRANCISCO

JASON'S GROUP begins working on THE DAM and then decides to KICK BACK BY THE CAMPFIRE.

KIRK ACEVEDO

In keeping with my narrow-minded asshole streak, I will reiterate my opinion that we lost everything to that pandemic because of those damn dirty apes.

JASON CLARKE

Did you even watch the last movie? Apes didn't create the simian flu, idiot scientists ignoring even basic safety protocols did.

KIRK ACEVEDO

But it's called the simian flu, which is apparently the very limit of my reasoning on the matter!

JASON CLARKE

So? We didn't start massively hating on birds because of the bird flu, did we?

KIRK ACEVEDO

Perhaps I can help drive my flawed point home by reminding you of your personal tragedies. You lost loved ones too, Jason. Like your wife, for instance.

JASON CLARKE

What do you mean, I lost my wife? Keri's sitting right there.

KIRK ACEVEDO

No, didn't you get remarried after the simian flu killed your first wife?

KERI RUSSELL

So wait, I'm not really Kodi's mother?

KODI SMIT-MCPHEE

Jesus, if you guys don't even pay attention to your characters, why should we expect the audience to?

KIRK then does SOME ASSHOLISH THING that JEOPARDISES JASON'S DEAL with CAESAR.

CAESAR

Right, the hell with your dam. I will once again display incredible restraint and order you out of our territory. Now I need to go tend to my sick wife Cornelia. I actually had to look up her name on IMDB, because why would that warrant a mention in the movie itself?

KERI RUSSELL

Wait, I'm a doctor! I'm a bit rusty on ape medicine, but I'm pretty sure I can do a better job than those weird shaman apes you've got tending to her.

CAESAR

Fair enough, but that line of dialogue needs to be the entire extent of your help. We can't let a woman be seen actually contributing, now can we?

KERI manages to HEAL CORNELIA OFF-SCREEN. She is played by JUDY GREER, who is also NOT SEEN CONTRIBUTING.

CAESAR

Okay, I'll give you one more day to fix your dam. We will help too. Isn't that swell of me?

JASON CLARKE

Thank you, Caesar. And Kirk, you just stay right here and cross your arms in a huff. You may be the only water engineer around, but we'll go ahead and fix the dam ourselves!

KIRK ACEVEDO

Come on, you obviously need my expertise! You've already been stupid enough to detonate explosives in an unstable tunnel and cave it in on top of your head!

JASON CLARKE

No, antagonising you is surely the right play here. And besides, apes got us out of that collapsed tunnel and they're offering their help again now. Yes, you're being sidelined in favour of apes. Suck on that.

Eventually, the DAM IS REPAIRED, which is illustrated with A SHOT OF JASON TURNING A VALVE.

JASON CLARKE

Alright, things are looking up. I guess we're ready for the inevitable plot development that'll undo everything.

KOBA

That's my cue!

KOBA beats KIRK TO DEATH and uses his LIGHTER to BURN DOWN THE APE VILLAGE. He has also STOLEN A WEAPON from THE ARMOURY and hides while using it to SHOOT CAESAR.

CAESAR

I honestly did not expect to get backstabbed by a trusted friend!

(dies while being named Caesar)

KOBA

Caesar has been killed by a human weapon, which can only mean a human did it! I am in charge now, so all apes must arm themselves with a bunch of human weapons I know where to acquire! Uhh -- please don't notice a suspicious connection between those two things.

JASON CLARKE

Well, that escalated quickly.

JASON, KERI and KODI HIDE while ALL THE APES ride towards THE HUMAN SETTLEMENT.

INT. HUMAN SETTLEMENT - SAN FRANCISCO

People are celebrating HAVING ELECTRICITY AGAIN by wasting it on A REENACTMENT OF THAT DREADFUL ZION RAVE FROM THE MATRIX RELOADED. GARY OLDMAN celebrates by CRYING OVER HIS DEAD LOVED ONES. He then notices THE APES APPROACHING ON HORSEBACK and orders EVERYONE TO BATTLE.

GARY OLDMAN

Okay people, listen up! We have the advantage of considered tactics here! The apes have gotten hold of some of our weapons, but they'll surely be coming at us wildly flailing them around! I want you all to focus your fire and pick them off with short, controlled bursts! Conserve your ammunition!

(beat)

Those are the things I would be saying to you if my briefly established military background mattered even in the slightest! Instead, just do as the apes do and spray bullets everywhere.

The APES begin their ATTACK and EVERYBODY starts SHOOTING RANDOMLY. This somehow does not SPOOK THE HORSES.

GARY OLDMAN

Oh no, there's too many of them! Wait, I see red barrels over there! This battle follows videogame logic!

(blows up the barrels)

KOBA

Videogame logic? Awesome! That means it doesn't matter that we have no clue how to reload and handle weapons, since they all have infinite ammo and zero recoil! Now I can zerg rush you guys while dual wielding machine guns and not get killed! BRAAAAH!

That ACTUALLY FUCKING HAPPENS. Eventually, KOBA WINS because he has SUPERIOR NUMBERS and DOESN'T CARE ABOUT SACRIFICING THEM ALL.

KOBA

Did you know that Koba was actually a nickname for Joseph Stalin? Yeah. Noodle on that one.

THE HUMANS are ROUNDED UP while GARY FLEES UNDERGROUND.

EXT. MUIR WOODS - OUTSIDE SAN FRANCISCO

JASON, KERI and KODI come across CAESAR, who is STILL ALIVE.

JASON CLARKE

Right, did anyone actually think he was really dead?

KODI SMIT-MCPHEE

Considering that he features in a lot of trailer footage the movie hasn't gotten to yet, fuck no.

KERI RUSSELL

I can save him by operating on him because I'm one of those all-purpose doctors!

JASON CLARKE

Okay, but you know the rule. Do it off-screen.

KERI RUSSELL

I don't have the necessary supplies though.

JASON CLARKE

I'll venture into the ape-occupied settlement and valiantly risk life and limb to find what you need. Movie, that's something you can show extensively.

JASON manages to FIND THE SUPPLIES thanks mostly to SHEER BLIND LUCK. He also comes across BLUE EYES and takes him back to CAESAR.

BLUE EYES

Dad, I'm sorry I let Koba turn me into an even bigger rebellious brat. Truly, I see the error of my ways now.

CAESAR

No, it's my fault for assuming apes couldn't be as malicious and spiteful as humans. Apparently I wasn't paying attention for the first days of that whole primate shelter sequence from the last movie.

JASON CLARKE

Now that Keri has saved your life off-screen, will you help us?

CAESAR

Apes follow strength and I'm still too weak to fight Koba, so I'll just go and confront him on my own and hope for the best.

BLUE EYES

Koba and his followers are located in a tower building inside the city. I can help by freeing the apes who are still loyal to you, like that CGI gorilla who died in the last movie but is now back somehow.

KERI RUSSELL

And I'll just -- disappear, I guess? Oh well, at least I've had ever so slightly more to do than Freida Pinto.

KODI SMIT-MCPHEE

Freida Pinto was in one of these movies?

KERI RUSSELL

Exactly.

INT. TOWER BASEMENT - SAN FRANCISCO

While CAESAR heads for THE TOP OF THE TOWER, JASON finds GARY in the BASEMENT.

GARY OLDMAN

Jason, you're alive! And just in time to help me with my plan! I've wired the foundations of this tower with explosives so I can blow it up and deal with all the apes in one fell swoop! Never mind the fact that all our people are being held there as well. Will you help me, Jason? Jason. Will you help me? Are you with me or against me? Answer me, Jason. Are your eyes widening with idealism or surprise? Jason!

JASON CLARKE

Perhaps -- if I move -- really casually -- I can just -- grab this rifle -- AND POINT IT AT YOU! HAH!

GARY OLDMAN

Hey, what are you doing?

JASON CLARKE

I can't let you do this. They don't all mean us harm. He's up there right now and we have to give him a chance. We owe him that much.

GARY OLDMAN

Him who in the what where? Seriously, you're not making any sense. Maybe you should calmly explain the situation to me instead of just rambling in pronouns.

JASON CLARKE

HE TRUSTS ME! I BELIEVE IN HIM!

GARY OLDMAN

Jason, don't you realise the apes have rounded up all our people in camps? They're treating us like damn dirty Jews!

JASON CLARKE

Whoa, just cool it with the antisemitic remarks.

GARY OLDMAN

Oh fuck, and there's no longer any late-night talk shows I can use as a soapbox for a public apology! What have I done?

GARY detonates THE EXPLOSIVES, which KILLS HIM. JASON manages to AVOID THE BLAST. Meanwhile...

INT. TOWER - SAN FRANCISCO

CAESAR reaches THE TOP OF THE TOWER and confronts KOBA, who's JUST AS SURPRISED to see CAESAR ALIVE as THE AUDIENCE WAS.

KOBA

How can you champion humans, Caesar? They kept me in a cage for half my life and performed scarring experiments on me!

CAESAR

And now you're imprisoning them just the same. Perhaps I can appeal to you with that weary "you're no better than them" line?

KOBA

Or perhaps we can just FUCKING FIGHT! KOBA SMASH!

Despite having only just been NEAR-DEATH, CAESAR manages to HOLD HIS OWN against KOBA. Their FIGHT is then interrupted by THE EXPLOSION COLLAPSING HALF THE TOWER.

KOBA

Help! I'm dangling from this beam and I've suddenly lost my innate powers of parkour! Caesar, pull me up!

CAESAR

Hmm, let me think. No.

CAESAR elects to DROP KOBA to his DISNEY DEATH, after which JASON ENTERS. Good thing THE EXPLOSION didn't WRECK THE STAIRS.

JASON CLARKE

Before he died, Gary told me that he managed to contact more survivors holed up in a nearby army base. Given how utterly inept I am at explaining things, I'm afraid they'll just go ahead and consider all this grounds for war.

CAESAR

Well, we're working our way towards the very first Planet of the Apes, so I suppose war was inevitable all along. Come here, let us seal our friendship in the face of adversity with a solemn touching of the foreheads.

They BRIEFLY BUTT HEADS.

JASON CLARKE

Hang on, I wasn't emoting solemnly enough. Let me have another take.

CAESAR

Don't worry about it, they'll get it in post.

JASON CLARKE

What do you mean, "they'll get it in post?" It's not like the boom mic was briefly visible, my performance was sorely lacking there!

CAESAR

No seriously, they can do anything with CGI now! You think adding a tear to Jennifer Connelly's sad scene in Blood Diamond was just a one-off? That was only the start! Just picture it. They'll stitch together bits and parts of different takes to get the best results. Audiences won't have any idea what's genuine and what isn't. Actors will no longer own their performances! Not even death can stop them from still appearing in movies! The true heroes of film will be nameless people wearing ping-pong balls on unitards and countless interns painstakingly animating stuff frame by frame! Don't you get it? Apes succeeding mankind is really a metaphor for digital effects surpassing actual acting!

ANDY SERKIS

But am I going to get a fucking Oscar for it? Hell no.

END

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