No monkeying around: interspecies sex, multiple endings, and Charlton Heston's gun

By Lori Reese
July 31, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Planet of the Apes: Sam Emerson
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Ever since the $100 million ”Planet of the Apes” remake went into production, rumors have circulated about multiple endings, the lurid possibility of interspecies mating, and the need for last minute reshoots. With ”Batman” director Tim Burton at the helm and Mark Wahlberg replacing Charlton Heston as the interstellar traveler who stumbles upon a simian-dominated world, only one thing is certain: This ”Planet” is from an entirely different galaxy. answers your burning questions about Burton’s update of the 1968 sci-fi classic. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

In the original, Heston’s character discovers that the Planet of the Apes is actually the Earth of the future when he sees a ruined Statue of Liberty. Is the new movie also set on Earth? And which is truer to the Pierre Boulle novel on which both ”Planet”s are based?
There is ambiguity about ”Apes”’ exact locale. But, Wahlberg insists, ”it is definitely not Earth.” However, that doesn’t mean French scribe Boulle would applaud the accuracy of Burton’s adaptation. ”Boulle ended the book at the Eiffel Tower,” explains Richard Zanuck, producer of both the original and the remake. ”In my files, I have long letters from him saying, ‘You can’t use the Statue of Liberty. It’s a big mistake!”’ At least they opted for a monument that was a gift from France.

Helena Bonham Carter plays a human-rights activist who takes pity on Walhberg’s hero. Is interspecies sex shown or implied?
Wahlberg says his hero is as smitten with his chimp pal as he is with his human ally (Estella Warren). ”I kiss Helena; Estella kisses me,” he points out. ”She grabs my face, so I have to kiss her. But with Helena, I’m the one who moves in.” As for interspecies nookie, it’s strictly among the great apes: Where the ’68 flick showed ape segregation, the new movie depicts a swinging orangutan-chimp couple (Glenn Shadix and Lisa Marie, both Tim Burton regulars).

Heston’s character died in the 1970 sequel, ”Beneath the Planet of the Apes.” How does Burton manage to bring him back for a cameo?
Zanuck says Heston wondered the same thing when he was asked to appear in the new movie. ”Chuck had only agreed to do [”Beneath”] on two conditions: one, that he only have to work six days; the other, that we kill him, so that he’d never be asked to do it again,” recalls Zanuck. ”When I asked him to be in this movie, he said, ‘How can you do that? You killed me.’ Easy fix: This time, Heston plays a different character — the father of the evil chimp general Thade (Tim Roth).