Director Chris Columbus took over the helm of the new Planet of the Apes movie for 20th Century Fox in early 1995. He hired scriptwriter Sam Hamm (Tim Burton's Batman, an unproduced treatment for a Watchmen movie, and Columbus' co-writer on an unproduced Fantastic Four script). Hamm's final Planet of the Apes draft kept some aspects of Terry Hayes' script but owed much to Pierre Boulle's source novel.
An ape astronaut from another planet crash-lands in New York harbor, launching a virus that will make human beings extinct. Dr. Susan Landis, who works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alexander Troy, an Area 51 scientist, and a team of pilots and scientists use the ape's spacecraft to return to the virus' planet of origin, hoping to find an antidote. They find an urban ape civilization, led by 'Lord Zaius', where apes armed with heavy weapons hunt speechless humans. Dodge, a Jamaican astronaut, suffers the same fate as the original's Landon, while male astronaut Stewart didn't survive the trip. Landis and Troy discover the antidote and return to Earth, only to find in their 74-year absence that apes have taken over the planet. 'The Statue of Liberty's once proud porcelain features have been crudely chiseled into the grotesque likeness of a great grinning ape'.
"We tried to do a story that was simultaneously a homage to the elements we liked from the five films, and would also incorporate a lot of material [from Boulle's novel] that had been jettisoned from the earlier production," Hamm said. "The first half of the script bore little resemblance to the book, but a lot of the stuff in the second half comes directly from it, or directly inspired by it." After Hamm's script failed to meet Fox's approval however, Columbus dropped out in late 1995.
- Tales From Development Hell, by David Hughes
- Planet of the Apes Fanclub news page
- 'The Apes of Wrath' (Entertainment Weekly), by Anne Thompson