GW: We’re going to see you in the theaters this summer.
GW: In Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
DH: Yes, me and the apes.
GW: I think previously it was called Caesar?
DH: I think it was originally called Caesar: Rise of the Apes. The amount of non-disclosures and things you’re not allowed to talk about is insane. I think there’s a trailer out and stuff. But it looks gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.
GW: In the cast you’ve got James Franco, Tom Felton from the Harry Potter movies …
DH: Lovely guy.
GW: Andy Serkis …
DH: Andy Serkis is amazing, I don’t know how he does it.
GW: John Lithgow …
DH: John Lithgow, I worked with him. John and I worked together, and I worked with Andy. A little bit with James. But honestly, the star of that movie is the director. The fact that he’s gone from making basically small character movies in England to Planet of the Apes — I mean, it’s just so smart of them to say, “Yes, we know we’re going to do all the spectacle, we know we’re going to have all this action stuff, but let’s get a director who’s going to worry about the characters.”
GW: Essentially, is it a prequel?
DH: I really can’t say. I’m just not allowed to. I’m not even sure what they’re giving away and what they’re not. But I think what’s neat about it and why I was very attracted to it — other than the fact, obviously, from a nerd factor, I feel like it’s the coolest thing in the world, I would have played a monkey in it — I just think that it’s actually quite a heart-felt story. Yes, you’ve got all of the action, thriller, suspense stuff that you want in a movie like this, but the core of it is this fantastic story about family, basically.
GW: It’s a fantastic trailer. Is it WETA, I think, that’s doing the special effects?
DH: Yeah, and the stuff they’re doing is incredible. I mean, they’re basically taking the performance capture — and it is performance capture. People call it motion capture, it’s not motion capture, it’s performance capture.
When you’re dealing with someone like Andy, who is so good and so much into the stuff, he’s playing a monkey, an ape, a primate, whatever they want to call it. You get told off if you say the wrong thing. But basically, the amount of work he puts into it and the amount of emoting going is just incredible. I mean, absolutely stunning and the effects are flawless, just from what I’ve seen in the trailer.
It’s so funny because, having done the movie, I now join the hoards of fans who sit back and watch it unfold. So I’m really, really curious to see what they’re going to do with it and how they’re going to promote it. The first one was definitely the sinister trailer, and I’m curious to see where they take the marketing now. If they’re sticking to the script that I read, I think they’ve got not just a great blockbuster kind of a movie. They may have a great movie.
I’m so sick of going to movies and saying, “Oh my God, it was gorgeous but, you know, the plot … whatever.” This is very plot and character heavy and it sounds so silly to say it, they got a really good actor to play the monkey. It’s just smart, it’s smart and you don’t normally associate that kind of attention to stories with these big movies and I think it’s nice to see that they’re trying to do that. My hat’s off to them, for sure.
GW: On a more personal note, where are things sitting on Starcrossed?
DH: Starcrossed? I’m actually in the process now of writing another version of it. We basically did the rounds to figure out how to finance it best. My lovely friends at Syfy have been very cool about it because basically, without their blessing we can’t — you know, it’s theirs. They’ve been fantastic about letting me sell them on some other ideas and some approaches to it. So basically, in my mind — and maybe I’m just a silly, deluded fool — in my mind, we are plowing ahead and we will be shooting.
I just have to get a script now, because originally it was going to be a half-hour [series], then it was going to be webisodes, and then recently when it was sort of reborn again, it became a Web series again. What I love about Web series now is that there’s no longer — while there is a stigma, I suppose, attached to them, there’s doesn’t need to be. The reality is my son watches television on television, he watches television on the iPod, on the iPad, on the computer. It makes no difference to him how you get the content. It’s no longer just one-minute webisodes.
GW: It’s becoming a more viable form to get the product out there, especially if it’s intellectual property that’s brand new — things like Riese.
DH: Yeah! Well, we talked to the Riese guys because they were so smart about that. The way they’ve turned that into a franchise … And now they’re pursuing other stuff, as well.
GW: And Mortal Kombat. They filmed up here.
DH: See, that’s a little different though, because they had like $10 million to do that. I haven’t seen it so I don’t know, but that feels more almost like marketing and advertising. But again, I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know.
I think what I like about this is that it allows you to explore different ways of telling stories. And something that I’m really big on with Starcrossed is that it is not just a series. It’s a Web site, it’s like a portal for fans in that I want them to be involved in the whole process, because without them it’s not going to happen anyways. So I want to see fan fiction, I want to hear who they want on the show, I want to hear about their interactions with sci-fi celebrities, I want to post funny little things. I want it to be a community. I think that’s really important. We should talk to GateWorld about it! There may be something there, we could help each other out.
Basically, I think the key with Starcrossed for me is that it’s going to be very multi-platform. Yes, I’m hoping that there’ll be DVDs available that we can sell and sign and have some great behind the scenes stuff, but the Web site should have that, as well.
I really want people to be able to get involved, and I think the reality is that if people are involved from the beginning then they’re more interested in the project. It’s what we found with A Dog’s Breakfast. Talking to people, from actually building the sites and doing the show, funding, all that kind of stuff … I want to see how we can use that and see if there’s a model that we can set up.
Sanctuary was very savvy with that and ended up with a TV series with it. I would really, really like something that works on the Web. I would love that because to me, that is the future of stuff. I would love to see stuff that could be developed for the Web and live and breathe and thrive on the Web. And if there’s a television angle to it, fantastic. Obviously, that’s beautiful — but I think the Web thing, there’s the potential there for it to live longer than the television shows, than whatever else it incorporates.
GW: Any message for fans?
DH: Yeah … “I’m sorry,” “I’m going to miss you.” [Laughter] God, I don’t know.
Look, I think the fact is that the people who brought you Stargate are all off doing other things now. So there will be that comedy, there will be those type of characters back, so you can look forward to that. Again, a lot of the people involved in science fiction, myself included, are working to do stuff so we’re going to need them. Hopefully, we’ll be able to give them something else to watch and be a part of.