EXCLUSIVE: The next series of Planet of the Apes the films appear to have found a new lead for future installments as sources tell Deadline that Owen Teague has been tapped to play the lead primate in the latest film in the iconic franchise. Wes Ball takes over management of the property, which hopes to start production before the end of the year.
Not much is known about this latest installment, as Ball and studio executives have kept plot details under wraps. That said, ownership has been a big priority for the studio since the time Disney acquired 20th Century and made it clear that the plan was to get the next Planet of the Apes peak developing as soon as possible. The studio would tap Ball to direct in 2019 and he’s been writing the script and working with VFX teams ever since.
Earlier this summer, Ball delivered a script to the studio that immediately got executives excited about where the new story could take fans of the franchise. A casting process began soon after.
Ahead of the July 4 holiday, executives and Ball began testing talent for lead roles. While the search remains for the lead human role, Teague has won over executives with his screen tests and been offered the part in recent weeks.
The original from 1968 Planet of the Apes film, based on a novel by French writer Pierre Boulle and starring Charlton Heston, centers on an astronaut who lands on a planet and discovers an advanced ape civilization ruling over primitive humans. In the final and infamous twist, he learns that he is actually on Earth, which has suffered an apocalyptic nuclear war.
The film was a commercial and critical success upon release and spawned numerous sequels and a television series throughout the 1970s. In 2011, 20th Century successfully revamped the franchise with The Ascension of the Planet of the Apes, an origin story about how primates took over. It featured groundbreaking motion capture technology and an unreal performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar, the leader of the apes.
The film was not only a smash hit at the box office, but also earned some of the best reviews in franchise history, leading to a new string of films that culminated with those of 2017. War for the Planet of the Apes.
As for Teague, his big breakthrough came in Stephen King’s adaptation of This, where he played one of the bullies who terrorized the losers club. He would follow that with another King adaptation with the Paramount+ limited series. The gallery. Upcoming credits include the Netflix thriller Reptile and picture A24 Beth and Don.
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