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1969: ‘Ape’ folks discuss ending

A look back at the making of 'Beneath'

April 23, 1969

GOOD MORNING: Five endings for “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” are under discussion by Richard Zanuck, Arthur Jacobs and director Ted Post. The problem: to have the same impact as the initial “Apes” Statue of Liberty finale — and yet not be too downbeat. “We must have shock, yet hope,” says Post, who reveals the atomic-bombed sequel should say, “Don’t let it happen to us.” One “Beneath” scene shows St. Patrick’s Cathedral remains — underground in Gotham — where survivors worship at an altar — in the shape of an atomic bomb … The set will occupy the stage formerly used for the Harmonia Gardens in”Hello, Dolly”… Asked whether there might be a third “Apes” feature, director Post thought not — maybe a TV series — after all, he reined over 200 segs of “Peyton Place.” “We did 18 years of TV in five years!”… “Apes” sequel will come in at about $5 million — slightly under the original heading to a $25 million boxoffice to date … 2009 Update: I reached Dick Zanuck by phone as he was leaving the set of his current WB film, “Clash of the Titans” at 10 p.m. Wednesday and heading back to his quarters in London. They had been shooting the mythological Greek epic at the Long Cross Studios which Zanuck said had been converted from a WWII tank factory. It is part of the expensive (he wouldn’t divulge the exact budget) film to shoot in the Canary Island and Wales locations as well. Yes, of course they hope it will be successful to warrant a franchise, “everybody’s hoping for that these days,” he said. He has recently completed principal photography on “Alice in Wonderland” for Disney but allows it will be in “enormous” computer finale production. When I told him I was doing this update — dating back 50 years — Zanuck says he never looks back. He prefers to keep active, and insists “now are the good old days.” He’s 74 and recalled his first film was “Compulsion” (1959) directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Orson Welles, Diane Varsi, and Dean Stockwell. “Clash of the Titans” stars Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. Over these past 50 years, Zanuck has won all the awards including an Oscar and the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award. And who knows if this “Clash of the Titans” will be like “Planet of the Apes” with three or four or five versions.

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