By EW Staff
May 17, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Director Tim Burton wasn’t so sure about revisiting ”Planet of the Apes.” ”The first rule of remakes is never remake a great movie,” he says. ”But that’s part of what appealed to me. I guess I’m kind of perverse that way.” Exactly how the visionary plans on putting his signature on the film is hard to say: Plot points are being kept top secret, even from visitors to the set. Still, a few details can be divulged. This time, there’s no Statue of Liberty; the planet star Mark Wahlberg lands on doesn’t turn out to be a future Earth, although producers promise a different surprise ending. Also, on Burton’s ”Planet,” the resident humans speak. In fact, here’s one chatting away right now.

”It’s sort of a slave/master world,” offers Estella Warren, the 22-year-old synchronized swimming champion turned Sports Illustrated swimsuit model who costars as a rebellious human named Daena. ”Some of the humans are angry and some have sort of reverted to becoming slaves. I’m very aggressive, but at the same time I’ve been taught never to look apes in the eye because they’re so powerful and can hurt us. So there’s this combination of anger and fear?”

There is also, of course, lots of hair. Originally, Fox chose Stan Winston (”Edward Scissorhands”) to design the ape makeup, but Burton ended up replacing him with Rick Baker (”Ed Wood”). ”I have a relationship with both of them, so that decision was hard,” he says. Finding actors willing to endure the painstaking devolution process, however, turned out to be a snap. ”I had no qualms about the makeup at all,” says Paul Giamatti (”Man on the Moon”), who plays an orangutan slave trader named Limbo. ”My agents asked me, ‘You want to play a human, right? So people can see your face?’ And I said, ‘No way! What’s the point of being in ‘Planet of the Apes’ as a human?”’

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