SHOOT: Matt Reeves’s WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES With Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson & Steve Zahn Films on Long Beach, Vancouver Island

On Long Beach, Vancouver Island.

It has begun. War between Apes and Humans. The rebooted billion-dollar-plus Planet of the Apes franchise — starring motion-captured Andy Serkis as Caesar– started filming its third installment War for the Planet of the Apes this week, with Woody Harrelson as the villain Colonel and Steve Zahn as a new ape. Production code: Hidden Fortress.

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Woody Harrelson. True Detective image.

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We first met Caesar as a genetically-enhanced baby chimp living in San Francisco with humans until he is captured and placed in a primate shelter where he leads an ape uprising in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Ten years later in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, talking chimpanzee Caesar has his own family and is the established leader of an Apes colony in a world where humanity has been virtually wiped out by a simian plague. An unexpected incursion by human survivors leads to civil war among the Apes with Caesar prevailing as King of Apes.

Director Matt Reeves image.

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War for the Planet of the Apes is set some time later during a “bloody war” between Apes and Humans with Caesar as an “Ape Moses” of mythic status battling humans led by bad guy, the Colonel. Another human will be played by Gabriel Chavarria. And Steve Zahn and Vancouver’s own Sara Canning and Aleks Paunovic will be new motion-captured apes. Director Matt Reeves co-wrote War for the Planet of the Apes along with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes writer Mark Bomback.

Not much more is known about the plot, but War For The Planet of the Apes has constructed massive sets in Richmond on Triangle Road.

The previous film in the rebooted franchise — Dawn of the Planet of the Apes — grossed US$700 million worldwide, and won two big Visual Effects Society awards for the visual effects behind lead ape Caesar and the movie itself. So there are high hopes for War for the Planet of the Apes, which is expected to film around B.C. until early March next year.

Related: War For The Planet Apes Confirmed for Vancouver This Fall.

WETA Digital at Spark CG Society Conference in Vancouver.

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