How faithful is the new RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES prequel? Well, director Rupert Wyatt, while speaking to the press at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, says it’s always a challenge to make a film of this ambition.

“It’s never from my point of view as a director,” says Wyatt. “It was never my intention to be a slave to the franchise as it were. The writers presented us with a script that is very, very respectful and subtly acknowledging the mythology, but it’s very much an origin story in the real sense of the world. It’s the origin of a species. That, unto itself sets it apart from other films in the franchise.”

Wyatt also adds that the movie is set in modern day and chronicles chimpanzee Caesar (Andy Sirkis) who is the first simian who comes into the age of ape awareness.

“The film is set in modern day,” explains Wyatt. “It doesn’t deal with humans and apes, it deals with apes in our world. We set out to tell the story first and foremost. The fact we lay the groundwork for PLANET OF THE APES is the icing on the cake. We have a lot of characters in our film that are apes. We thought, what if in three thousand years from now, the apes will look back at these characters as if they’re heroes of the day and they’ve erected statues of them. That’s who we wanted to tell this story, like a Bible story. Any great myth has a broad resonance.”

For Serkis, playing the role Caesar was the latest in a long-line of performance capture roles that began with Gollum in the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy through Peter Jackson’s Kong in KING KONG.

“It’s a great technology, but it’s returning us to the ability to do something simple which is to record an actor’s performance,” says Sirkis.

(additional reporting by A.C.Ferrante)

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