How a Scene Changed the Politics of Conquering the Planet of the Apes

“I was not aware that they were going to try to bring my character to life at the end [and] survive the rebellion,” Murray said. “It was a decision that was made after the film was finished. It’s something that I didn’t expect, of course, because of the way it was filmed. I think it was a decision that was [made] so they can make another one monkeys movie.” (Both cuts are now available on Blu-ray.)

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This Conquest Actor Almost Didn’t Make The Final Cut

One actor who wasn’t there for the film’s climactic events was Lou Wagnerwhich first appeared in the original Planet of the Apes as Zira’s brash and outspoken young nephew, Lucius. Wagner was invited to play a freelance role in Conquestbut things turned out very differently than he had originally thought.

“I get the call to Conquest and my agent draws up the contract,” Wagner recalls for us over the phone. “I have the best billing I’ve ever had on any of the films, and I have a three-week guarantee. I was going to be Roddy’s right-hand man and accompany him until the very end of the film in as a partner, doing whatever he needs to. So I come in the first day, and I’m a makeup artist and the producer comes in and he’s like, ‘What are you doing here?’ “

Ultimately, a script meeting over the previous weekend led to the almost complete excision of Wagner’s monkey character from the film. He was instead recast as a monkey bus boy who is seen briefly in two scenes: first stealing a bunch of knives from the restaurant to help Caesar build a cache of weapons, then setting the restaurant on fire himself. in one of the film’s first direct acts. disobedience of monkeys.

Wagner shot both scenes in one day. “The end of the day is coming and they said, ‘Would it be ok if we removed your billing? We’ll give you another three weeks [pay], but we don’t want to charge you.’ I said, ‘No, sorry, a contract is a contract.’ So I kept my billing, got paid for three weeks and was done at the end of the day.

Even though Wagner was paid for his initial time, he now says the studio was clearly interested in investing as little money as possible in the monkeys franchise despite the strong box office performance of each film in the series (Conquest Cost only $1.7 million up for grabs).

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