James Franco May Be Worried, But ‘Apes’ Director Isn’t

Rupert Wyatt doesn't share Franco's concern that 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' will suffer because of his involvement.

[movieperson id="264077"]James Franco[/movieperson] is worried. Is the what’s-that-dude’s-deal backlash going to follow him into the multiplex?

There’s the Oscar debacle and the dozen or so degrees he’s pursuing and the “Three’s Company” performance-art installation and any number of other accomplishments and interests that get on some people’s nerves, and Franco is fearful his newest movie, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” is going to suffer because of it all.

“Critics will be out to kill this movie and blame me for it just because they are out to kill me,” he said in a July Playboy interview. “Last year people were pretty nice. This is the year when people are going to have fun going after me.”

One person who isn’t concerned is “Apes” director Rupert Wyatt. “I think people are going to see this film, hopefully, for the film,” the British filmmaker told MTV News at San Diego Comic-Con. “Those that will go see this film for James Franco will still see the film for James Franco. I totally understand where he’s coming from. Obviously he took a bit of a knock with the Oscars, but at the end of the day, he’s an actor and that’s his job.”

Likely helping matters, from critical reviews to box-office pop, is that “Apes” is a first-rate piece of popcorn entertainment. And, honestly, we’re kind of surprised to say that. But after checking out an early screening, we can say the story is engrossing, the CG apes look amazing, and Andy Serkis, as the lead ape, delivers one heck of an emotional performance. Seriously! The humans, even Franco himself, take a backseat to Serkis’ motion-captured performance as Caesar, the super-smart simian who leads his fellow creatures in their San Francisco-trashing uprising.

For his part, Serkis credits his co-star with helping create a believable relationship between Caesar and Franco’s kindhearted but misguided scientist. “It was amazing working with him,” Serkis told us. “It really is a testament if they can truly believe the person opposite them — who is wearing a performance-capture suit with a head-mounted camera — actually go full-on and have a relationship with them. It’s all about believability. All credit to him that he bought into the whole process.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

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