With Rupert Wyatt bailing on the director's chair just over a week ago, 20th Century Fox now has a vacany to fill for "Dawn Of The Planet The Apes" and it's one they want to move on fast as a release date is on the horizon. So here comes the shortlist and it's both predictable and kind of totally random at the same time.
On the "Huh?" side of things, "Take Shelter" director Jeff Nichols is apparently on the list. Granted, maybe he is interested in jumping to a major studio tentpole, but it seems totally bizarre for Fox to give the keys to the sequel of what is turning out to be a major franchise to a filmmaker who has never worked on a project with this kind of scale, special effects, and budget. The "Good Luck" award goes to Guillermo Del Toro, who is also a contender but considering he's busy with "Pacific Rim" and just lined up the TV series "The Strain" which he plans to do right after (not to mention executive producing "Beauty & The Beast" which shoots next summer), it seems like a total Hail Mary.
The rest of the picks make a bit more sense. Matt Reeves continues to have plenty of projects brewing, but nothing moving, and considering he just exited "The Twilight Zone" at Warner Bros. due to "scheduling conflicts," he could be a strong choice, and appparently tops the list. "The Impossible" helmer Juan Antonio Bayona does flex some considerable spectacle muscles in his upcoming Oscar contender, and while he'll likely have his pick of projects, this could be one that returns him to the genre funhouse. Meanwhile, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is certainly open after his incarnation of "The Crow" didn't get off the ground, and the "Highlander" remake doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Meanwhile, "The Disappearance Of Alice Creed" director J. Blakeson is just itching to make his mark in Hollywood, but he's got "Bad Blood And Trouble" with Bradley Cooper shooting in the second half of 2013 so that could be a problem. And oh yeah, while there are some rumors about Rian Johnson being in the mix, Deadline says his reps deny he's taking a look.
All this to say, a decision will probably come soon. May 23, 2014 may seem far away but considering pre-production work and everything else involved, Fox will want to make sure the newcomer to the series is comfortable and ready to go when cameras roll. But we'll put it to you: out of these guys, who do you want to see take it on?