[The film's opening sequence features Caesar and various apes, out on a hunting expedition.]
"When I first met with the studio, the version of the story they had started in a postapocalyptic San Francisco. Caesar was in the background; the movie wasn't going to be Caesar-centric, and the apes didn't come into the picture until much later. So I said, You created this amazing character — it should start with his point of view. The beginning of the movie should be like 2001: A Space Odyssey's "The Dawn of Man"…only it's the Dawn of Apes [laughs]. Make it a silent movie, more or less, for 15 minutes, then bring the humans in and turn it into a classic Western. That was my pitch, and I assumed they'd say no. To my surprise, they said, 'Yeah, great, let's do it.' Jokingly, I replied, 'Okay, what's the catch?' And they said you have to start right now, because we have a release date to make. You need to be shooting in the next few months."
"The idea of starting out with the hunt was to introduce these apes in the most primal way possible, and then when you see them coming back, they are in an ordered procession. Some are walking on two legs; others are on horses. You've seen them go from being purely animalistic to being organized and almost militaristic in one or two cuts. We actually did a lot of research into apes and how they hunt, and what you find out is that chimps actually hunt like they are Navy SEALs. It's almost like a paramilitary operation. When you see that first shot and they have their war paint on, you're supposed to wonder whether they're already engaged in a war. No, they're just hunting. The war will come in a bit."
"The notion was to take you through a day in the life of these intelligent, advanced apes, and do it in a way that mirrored our own tribal development. We wanted to push the photorealistic aspects as far as we could, so we shoot in a real forest, in the rain and the mud, in cold horrible winter…with 3-D cameras and a cast all in mo-cap suits. It was tough to film, and amazing once you saw the results."