By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 11, 2011 at 6:44AM
Peter Jackson has long been ahead of the curve where doling out info directly to fans is concerned. Thus, live from Wellywood, New Zealand, Jackson's VFX house WETA Digital (The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, District 9, Tintin) will reveal cool stuff from Rise of the Planet of the Apes via Fox's Facebook fan page for James Cameron's Avatar, which has 14.2 million followers. This is basically a maneuver to grab those fans and lure them to also follow this movie via a five-second preview of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5, 2011) on its official Facebook page.
What will they see on April 13 at 2:30 PM Pacific time (player is below)? WETA's VFX masters Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon will give a behind-the-scenes look at how they created photo-real intelligently emotive CG ape Caesar (although their last ape, Jackson's King Kong, also acted by Gollum's Andy Serkis, will be hard to top). Jackson's King Kong earned WETA the coveted Avatar gig, which won them the VFX Oscar.
Many in the VFX field consider creating the world of the apes as the “holy grail” of visual effects wizardry. WETA is applying some of the lessons learned on James Cameron's ground-breaking performance capture film to Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Caesar, who must look real enough to convince in modern-day San Francisco, amid epic battles between man and primate. Director Rupert Wyatt will participate in the show-and-tell, and will provide a video piece on the work of Serkis as Caesar. James Franco stars as a scientist in the middle of this prequel to Planet of the Apes, which starred Charlton Heston and in the remake, Mark Wahlberg.
The movie--described by Fox as "a reality-based cautionary tale that blends science fiction and science-fact," stars Franco, Serkis, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton and David Oyelowo. Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark are producing for Chernin Entertainment under its pact with Fox. Wyatt directs from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, who are also producing.