Added 1 new A* page:Bonus sci-fi goodies for my blog entry 2000! : D|
Planet of the Apes (1968) was a favorite film of mine as a youngster—I suppose it helped that it and its lesser sequels were on TV quite a bit—so I was just tickled a few days ago when I found, on YouTube, the 1966 Planet of the Apes studio pitch / makeup test, a short scene the producers put together to convince the studio that a film based on the concept would work. Following the initial screenplay by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame, which was apparently much closer to the source material—Pierre Boulle's French sci-fi novel La Plančte des Singes—than the eventual, rewritten script was, you can see that the whole set-up of Charlton Heston's space-man "Thomas" (not Taylor, as he would be named in the movie) re: the apes would have been a good deal different. The test starts with storyboards accompanied by a voice-over; the live-action scene starts at about 2:45. Sparring verbally with Heston is the producers' original choice of actor for orangutan scientist Dr. Zaius, '30s gangster film star Edward G. Robinson (!) (who would die in 1973, just twelve days after finishing the sci-fi movie Soylent Green with Heston), in heavy makeup pretty similar to what would be used in the film itself—supposedly Robinson would turn the film role down because he disliked the burdensome makeup. They are joined by two other, barely made-up "ape" characters who would also have big roles in the film, the chimpanzee couple Cornelius and Zira, played here by different actors than would play them in the film; in fact, Zira here is played by Linda Harrison, the girlfriend of studio chief Richard Zanuck, who would play cave-girl Nova in the film.
Another Apes film extra! Actor Roddy McDowall, who played Cornelius in the film, took his own camera backstage on the set, filming his arduous chimpanzee makeup process as well as behind-the-scenes shots of the cast, crew, and stunts at the beachfront cliff setting seen near the end of the film (right before the famous twist ending, retained from Serling's early version of the screenplay); the compiled "home movie" by McDowall can be viewed on YouTube right here.