‘Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend’: Exclusive first look

Oct. 13, 2014 | 7:23 a.m.
apesevolution Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend: Exclusive first look

The cover for "Planet of the Apes: The Evolution of the Legend," out Oct. 14, 2014 from Titan Books. Click through the gallery for an exclusive first look at concept art featured in the book. (TM & © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved)

9 Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend: Exclusive first look

Concept art for 1970's "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" shows a subterranean New York City. (TM & © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved)

12 Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend: Exclusive first look

A dramatic rendering of the battle in 1972's "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" is eerily similar to real life scenes of civil unrest. (TM & © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved)

13 Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend: Exclusive first look

Designs for Caesar’s peaceful habitat, where he lives with his wife Lisa and Son Cornelius in 1973's "Battle for the Planet of the Apes." (TM & © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved)

18 Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend: Exclusive first look

The Mego range of action figures that accompanied the 1974 "Planet of the Apes" (Mego Museum / TM & © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved)

22 Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend: Exclusive first look

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (2014) concept art of the apes journeying through their forest home. (TM & © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved)

23 Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend: Exclusive first look

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (2014) concept art of the apes hunting wildlife in the forest. (TM & © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved)

24 Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend: Exclusive first look

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (2014) concept art of the apes hunting wildlife in the forest. (TM & © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved)

Fans of “Planet of the Apes” can get a behind-the-scenes look at the series’ production in “Planet of the Apes: The Evolution of the Legend,” out Tuesday from Titan Books.

The 256-page tome, from authors Joe Fordham of Cinefex and Jeff Bond (“Danse Macabre: 25 years of Danny Elfman and Tim Burton,” “The Music of Star Trek”), features production art, costume designs, makeup tests, posters, interviews with key crew members, and rare photos from the Charlton Heston-starring 1968 adaptation of Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel “La Planète des Singes” all the way through this year’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which starred Andy Serkis as ape leader Caesar.

The book also features a foreword by “An American Werewolf in London” director John Landis, who portrayed a friend of Jake (Michael Stearns) in 1973’s “Battle for the Planet of the Apes.”

Hero Complex readers can get preview of Landis’ foreword below as well as an exclusive first look at concept art featured in “Planet of the Apes: The Evolution of the Legend” in the gallery above.

Creationism: The Planet of the Apes saga

In 1968, Twentieth Century Fox released the feature film Planet of the Apes.

The movie was both a critical success and a tremendous hit at the box office and spawned a franchise that is still going strong. For the first time, the complete Planet of the Apes saga is discussed in this one comprehensive and profusely illustrated volume. Fox opened their archives to Joe Fordham and Jeff Bond for this book, and it is a treasure trove of photographs and design sketches from the first Planet of the Apes and all of its sequels, remakes, television shows and merchandising. From the printed page, to film to digital, Planet of the Apes endures. I would not be surprised if its next incarnation will be a Broadway musical!

"Planet of the Apes" (Los Angeles Times archives)

“Planet of the Apes” (Los Angeles Times archives)

Based on the book La Planete des singes (Monkey Planet) by French author Pierre Boulle (whose other novel The Bridge on the River Kwai was also adapted into an iconic film) Planet of the Apes was directed by Franklin Schaffner from a screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling. Produced by Arthur P. Jacobs and stunningly photographed by Leon Shamroy, the film featured innovative make-ups by John Chambers, and original costume design by long time Fox costume designer Morton Hack. Production designer William Creber realized the distinctive Ape City constructed on the Fox ranch in Malibu Canyon, and the brilliant Jerry Goldsmith composed the startling and powerful score. Deemed “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant,” Planet of the Apes was placed on The United States National Film Registry in The Library of Congress in 2001. Beneath the Planet of the Apes was in production when I was a mail-boy on the Pico Lot of Twentieth Century Fox. I would visit the Make-Up Department to watch John Chambers work and hang out on the stages where they were shooting for as long as I could without getting into trouble. I watched them spraying Styrofoam over the Harmonia Beer Gardens set built for Hello Dolly, which was then sculpted and painted to become the underground cathedral where the Mutants worship the gleaming atomic bomb. And I was there to see Ted Post direct Charlton Heston as he was bleeding and crawling toward that crystal plunger to blow up the world. John Chambers played the “National Guard Captain” in my first film (the aptly titled Schlock, shot in 1971, released in 1973), and J. Lee Thompson cast me in a tiny role (surprisingly as a human) in Battle for the Planet of the Apes in 1973.

The frank discussion of social and political ideas in a mainstream Hollywood studio product was not as unusual in the sixties as it is now, and it in no way interfered with the solid entertainment value of Planet of the Apes. The first film’s satirical reimagining of the Scopes “monkey” trial and its themes of race, religion, class, the fear of science and the destruction of the environment, are still relevant today. “Beware the beast Man” indeed.

John Landis, June 2014

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+

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One Response to ‘Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend’: Exclusive first look

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