William Broyles Jr. is an American screenwriter, who worked on the television series China Beach (1988–1991, drawing on his experiences as a drafted United States Marine in Vietnam between 1969 and 1971), and the films Apollo 13 (1995), Entrapment (1999) and Cast Away (2000), and co-wrote the script for the 2001 movie Planet of the Apes.
In March 1999, Broyles initially turned down the chance to write an Apes script for 20th Century Fox, but changed his mind "when I found out I could have an extensive amount of creative control". Fox projected a release date of July 2001, and Broyles provided the studio with an outline in January 2000, set on the fictional planet "Aschlar". It was entitled 'The Visitor' and billed as "episode one in the Chronicles of Aschlar". Tim Burton was chosen as director in February 2000, saying "I wasn't interested in doing a remake or a sequel of the original 'Planet of the Apes' film, but I was intrigued by the idea of revisiting that world. Like a lot of people, I was affected by the original film. I wanted to do a 're-imagining'." Burton began some 'tweaking' of Broyles' script. Mirroring the uproar concerning an ape/human Hybrid Child appearing in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Fox executives were opposed to the idea that Helena Bonham Carter's character would be the love interest of Mark Wahlberg's character, thinking it 'weird and unnatural'. Burton had a love scene planned, but even an implied love scene was rejected.
Under Burton's direction, Broyles wrote another draft script. Notable among Broyles additions to the Apes canon were the use of mythical names from various cultures for both his characters and place names, as opposed to the Roman names used in the original cycle (although his initial vision of Derkein was heavily influenced by ancient Roman civilisation). 'Ashlar' is the geological process of hardening marble, 'Ari', Broyles clarified, is short for 'Ariadne', 'Thade' is an anagram of 'death', 'Attar' is Arabic, 'Daena' is a Persian goddess, 'Karubi' is Japanese, 'Krull' is Germanic (not-withstanding it's use in other sci-fi sagas), 'Birn' is Scandinavian, 'Derkein' is Greek, meaning both "seeing clearly" and 'dragon', and 'Kalimah' (sic) is one of the central tenets of the Muslim faith. Earlier versions of the script included names like Moses and Abraham, places like Clonfert and the River Liffey (both in Ireland), and the none-too-subtle comparison of Garuda's leaders to those of 1930s Europe. In addition, makeup creator Rick Baker suggested ethnic actors should be actively sought for the ape roles. Also of note, the apes were no longer segregated into a caste system as in both the original novel and the original movies, and the chimps were portrayed as the most vicious species, reflecting zoological fact. Broyles' regular script doctor, Shiela Gallien, recalls scenes involving an elaborate human religion and the character of Daena being a dynamic warrior queen. However, Broyles treatment was projected at a $200 million budget, while Fox wanted to cut it to $100 million. Burton was rumoured to have been contractually obliged to cover any over-spend personally, and in August 2000, two months before principal photography, Broyles quit the project over further script changes.
By October, Fox had hired Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal to simplify the script. Konner and Rosenthal were rewriting the script even as sets were being constructed. The title of the production changed from The Visitor back to its original title, Planet of the Apes. Despite the nature of his departure, Broyles "had a lot of respect with the work they did. And I think that given what I'd done and given what Tim wanted, they navigated the right course."
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