Matt Reeves, J Blakeson, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Jeff Nichols, Guillermo del Toro and Juan Antonio Bayona: One of them will become the Francis Lawrence of the "Planet of the Apes" franchise. Deadline.com's Mike Fleming reports that those six directors are on the Twentieth Century Fox short list to guide "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" to its May 24, 2014 release date.
Per Deadline.com, Reeves, who previously directed "Cloverfield" and "Let Me In," is the front-runner. Interestingly enough, Reeves' schedule just opened up. On Wednesday, Variety reporter Justin Kroll tweeted that Reeves left the planned "Twilight Zone" reboot that is being set up at Warner Bros. because of "scheduling conflicts." Whether those "conflicts" are pre-production work on "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is obviously unclear.
UPDATE, 10/1: Deadline.com confirms that Reeves has been hired.
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The "Apes" sequel became available after Rupert Wyatt stepped away from the franchise earlier this month. Deadline.com first reported that news, citing the looming release date as Wyatt's cause of departure. (Much like Gary Ross and "The Hunger Games" sequel, "Catching Fire," Wyatt felt there wasn't enough time to make the film.)
Genre fans may be wondering why Reeves would be the front-runner instead of an iconic filmmaker like Del Toro, but the "Pan's Labyrinth" director is likely too busy to consider "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes." Del Toro is currently completing "Pacific Rim," a 2013 Warner Bros. blockbuster that the director is retrofitting into 3D.
"Normally a conversion takes a few weeks," Del Toro told Shock Till You Drop. "I asked to start it immediately so we could take the full 40 weeks to do the conversion. As an example, ‘Titanic’ took about 50 weeks to convert."
For more on "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," head over to Deadline.com.