Former critic who turned to stage writing and entered film in 1951, sharing a best original story Oscar with James Bernard for "Seven Days to Noon". Through the 1960s Dehn scripted several superior es...
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
The Planet of the Apes franchise has a deep lineage of interesting writers penning different chapters about our future simian overlords. With the latest installment of the franchise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hitting theaters this Friday, we've decided to put the spotlight on the scribes that have brought the ape-ocalypse to life throughout the years.
Rod SterlingFilm: Planet of the ApesNotable Works: The Twilight ZoneRod Sterling was the creator of the legendary sci-fi anthology TV series The Twilight Zone, whose influences continue to touch every inch of modern sci-fi storytelling. Besides The Twilight Zone, Sterling has also written a number of films, including thrillers like The Yellow Canary and Seven Days in March. He also created another anthology series, Night Gallery, which featured stories focusing on horror, supernatural, and macabre elements.
Michael WilsonFilm: Planet of the ApesNotable Works: Lawrence of Arabia, It's a Wonderful Life, The Bridge on the River KwaiBesides co-writing the first entry of the Planet of the Apes franchise, Michael Wilson wrote an astounding number of cinematic classics, including Lawrence of Arabia, It's a Wonderful Life, and The Bridge on the River Kwai. If Wilson's credits weren't interesting enough, the writer was blacklisted from the Hollywood studio system after being accused of being a communist. During this time, he wrote a number of films overseas. One of which was Salt of the Earth, a film written, produced, and directed by filmmakers blacklisted by Hollywood during the McCarthy era.
Paul DehnFilms: Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the ApesNotable Works: Goldfinger, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Murder on the Orient ExpressPaul Dehn is the most prolific screenwriter of the franchise, penning scripts for four out of the five original films in the series. Outside of the Planet of the Apes franchise, Dehn has written several spy thrillers including the James Bond film Goldfinger and a film adaptation of John le Carre's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. He also wrote the screenplay for Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express.
John William Corrington and Joyce Hooper CorringtonFilm: Battle for the Planet of the ApesNotable Works: The Omega Man, Boxcar Bertha, General HospitalThis married couple and screenwriting duo has lent its talents to five films over the years. Besides Battle for the Planet of the Apes, they also wrote the screenplay for Omega Man, another apocalyptic film starring Charlton Heston in the lead role, and Martin Scorsese's Boxcar Bertha. The writing team is also known for their work on soap operas, having written for long-running soap staples like General Hospital and One Life to Live.
Lawrence Konner and Mark RosenthallFilm: Planet of the Apes (2001)Notable Works: Mona Lisa Smile, The Sorcerer ApprenticeLawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthall have worked together on a diverse number of projects including Mona Lisa Smile, Star Trek VI, and The Sorcerer Apprentice. They also, funnily enough, penned the script for Mighty Joe Young, another film about primates, but one with far fewer apocalyptic overtones. Lawrence Konner has also written for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire though without his writing partner.
William Broyles Jr.Film: Planet of the Apes (2001)Notable Works: Entrapment, Apollo 13, The Polar Express, Cast AwayWilliam Broyles Jr. is a bona fide A-list Hollywood screenwriter with numerous films under his belt including Jarhead, Unfaithful, The Polar Express, and Cast Away. His script for for Apollo 13 was nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.
Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver Film: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the ApesNotable Works: Avatar 3, Jurassic WorldMarried screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver had a handful of films under their belt, but the duo really broke out with their script for 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which revitalized the franchise and earned them a Saturn Award nomination for writing. Ever since, the pair have become a hot commodity for sci-fi blockbusters. Jaffa and Silver were hired to write the upcoming tent-pole films Jurassic World and Avatar 3.
Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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Former critic who turned to stage writing and entered film in 1951, sharing a best original story Oscar with James Bernard for "Seven Days to Noon". Through the 1960s Dehn scripted several superior espionage films, notably "Goldfinger" (1964), "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" (1965) and "The Deadly Affair" (1967).