Fargo star William H. Macy has been cast in the upcoming The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to Matt Reeves‘ War for the Planet of the Apes.
News of Macy joining the ensemble was first revealed in a report by Deadline, though they couldn’t get a hold of any specifics regarding his character or his relevance to the story. The Maze Runner‘s Wes Ball is sitting on the director’s chair for this one, with Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Patrick Aison working on the script. The lead ape in the movie will be played by Owen Teague (It), with Freya Allan (The Witcher) playing the human lead. Peter Macon (The Orville) is also part of the cast in an undisclosed role.
Behind the scenes of The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes has been in development for a long time. Wes Ball was hired by Disney in late 2019 to develop a new movie in the franchise, and it’s been in the oven ever since. Ball worked with his team of writers on a script for a long time, and they finally turned it in last summer. Executives were over the moon, and the project was given the green light, with casting and more pre-production work beginning shortly after. They took their time to find the human lead and the ape lead, with the respective actors going through multiple auditions before finally testing in front of the director.
One of the reasons why the script took so long to develop is because the filmmaker was simultaneously working with VFX teams to make sure what was doable and what was not. They probably came up with new technology to bring the apes to life through the use of motion capture and maybe even new techniques. It’s not been stated yet that they will be using StageCraft soundstages, like The Batman or Thor: Love and Thunder did, but it’s probably in the mix.
The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes has been set for a May 24, 2024, release date. Filming for the new movie began last October in Sydney, and will be going on probably for another 4-5 months.
How does this relate to the Andy Serkis trilogy? (spoiler alert)
After War for the Planet of the Apes came out in the summer of 2017, it was clear that it was over. The story, which had started with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was a prequel to the 1968 movie starring Charlton Heston. Matt Reeves stepped in for Rupert Wyatt to direct Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and then War, the two jobs that eventually landed him the Batman gig. With Caesar’s death by the end of the third one, and the marketing campaign stating repeatedly that this was the end, everyone thought that was the end. And it was probably intended that way — the final moments set up the original film perfectly.
But they also left room for other stories in between. The apes are in control of at least a region of the U.S., but we are very removed in time from the dynamics seen in the 1968 classic. After buying 20th Century Studios in 2019, Disney decided to move forward with new installments from Fox’s main catalog — The Predator (and thus, Hulu’s Prey was born), Alien (Noah Hawley’s series is set to begin production later this year), and Planet of the Apes. Wes Ball delivered a pitch for a continuation to War for the Planet of the Apes that excited Disney executives, and he’s been working on the movie ever since.
What has William H. Macy been up to lately?
William H. Macy, who film students might remember from 1996’s Fargo, or his memorable presence in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights and Magnolia (also in the 1990s), is now a multiple-time Emmy-nominated actor for his work on the show Shameless, which wrapped in 2021. He was last seen in Hulu’s The Dropout, starring Amanda Seyfried.
What do you think of his inclusion in The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes? Are you looking forward to the new movie? Let us know by dropping us a tweet, and stay tuned for more sci-fi news on The Illuminerdi!
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