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‘Contagion’ Writer to Script ‘Apes’ Sequel

The follow-up to last year's most pleasant surprise has a new writer attached, as Scott Z. Burns has been hired to write the sequel to Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Burns, who's previous credits include The Informant! and The Bourne Ultimatum, will be continuing the story thread started by "Rise" writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who are also working on the sequel. 

Burns is the first sign of fresh blood in a franchise that clamped down on its key talent as soon as the film proved an unexpected hit at the box office and with critics. Fox hired director Rupert Wyatt to return for part two, as well as motion-capture specialist Andy Serkis, who provided the physical blueprint for the film's CG protagonist, Caesar the ape. 

The story looks to be picking up shortly after the ending of "Rise," which saw the exodus of a city's worth of hyper-intelligent apes from San Francisco, while also laying out the initial stages of a viral outbreak destined to wipe out most of humanity. The latter detail should be familiar material to Burns, who scripted the tense biohazard drama Contagion for Steven Soderbergh last year. 

Fox studio CEO Tom Rothman has stated that the hope is to have the simian sequel in theaters for summer 2014. Not much else is known about how the film will or won't tie into the other "Apes" movies, but The Hollywood Reporter claims the sequel will be bringing the ape-on-human conflict to another level. 


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