Michael Clarke Duncan was filming The Green Mile (1999) when the casting department of "Planet of the Apes" tried to contact him for a part. When he heard they had called for him, he (correctly) assumed that it was not for a human character.
In order to star in the film, Tim Roth declined the role of Professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001). Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Ari in this film, would go on to play Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter franchise (2001-2011).
Mark Wahlberg joined the film after meeting with Tim Burton for only five minutes. He was so anxious to work with the director that he agreed to play any part. Wahlberg dropped out of the role of Linus in Ocean's Eleven (2001) to do this film. He refused to wear a loincloth like Charlton Heston did in Planet of the Apes (1968) because he did not want to remind audiences of his underwear modeling.
It was after when this movie wrapped that director Tim Burton and leading lady Helena Bonham Carter became romantically involved. Instead of moving in with her in her Hampstead home in London, Burton bought two next-door houses which the couple both shared until their separation.
Attar says to Captain Leo Davidson, "Take your stinking hands off me, you damn dirty human!" mirroring the original line from George Taylor in Planet of the Apes (1968), which was "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!"
Ari was first planned as an "ape princess" and the romantic interest, but Fox vetoed any kind of human-ape romance, calling it "weird and unnatural." The veto stood, even after Tim Burton offered to make it platonic or just implied.
Tim Burton himself insisted that this movie was not a "remake, "but a "re-imagination" of Planet of the Apes (1968); it uses the idea of an ape-inhabited planet from the same source material as the 1968 movie, but ultimately tells a very different story.
In an interview with MTV, while comparing this film with Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Mark Wahlberg blamed Fox for screwing the film up, saying, "I haven't seen it yet, but I heard it was pretty damn good. Well, ours wasn't. It is what it is. Ours wasn't. They didn't have the script right. [Fox Studios] had a release date before [Tim Burton] had shot a foot of film. They were pushing him and pushing him in the wrong direction. You have got to let Tim do his thing."
The starship Oberon is named after a selfish faerie king of immense power in William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Thade is based on Hideki Tojo, the Japanese Minister of War who decided to go to war with the United States in 1941.
The character of Leo Davidson is regarded as a messiah by the primitive humans. Fittingly, his named translates (from a mixture of Latin and Old English) as Lion, Son of David, combining two of Jesus Christ's traditional titles.
The ape makeup took 4.5 hours to apply and 1.5 hours to remove. Tim Burton explained, "It's like going to the dentist at 2 in the morning and having people poke at you for hours. Then you wear an ape costume until 9 at night."
During filming, Tim Roth held a grudge against Charlton Heston due to his associations with the National Rifle Association. He said, "It was very difficult for me. On one level, there's the man and he's my dad. But on the other level, the whole NRA thing is what it is now. I'm so against it, very vocally so. But it was inappropriate for the workplace. If I'm going to talk to him, I'll talk to him outside the workplace. So it was just two guys in makeup doing a scene." Roth later claimed he would not have appeared in the film had he known he would be sharing a scene with Heston.
The production was a difficult experience for Tim Burton. This was largely contributed by Fox's adamant release date (July 2001), which meant that everything from pre-production to editing and visual effects work was rushed.
Tim Burton claimed the ending was not supposed to make any sense, but it was more of a cliffhanger to be explained in a possible sequel. "It was a reasonable cliffhanger that could be used in case Fox or another filmmaker wanted to do another movie," he explained.
As the apes are charging into battle, along side others on horses and keeping the pace, the people in ape costumes were actually being pulled, ironically by horses, on long sheets. To give the illusion of moving faster than they really were.
Rick Baker: (at around 19 mins) When the humans are transported into the Ape City in the cage, three apes are sitting smoking a water pipe. The Ape in the middle with gray hair and beard taking a puff, is Baker, who designed all the ape makeup for the movie.
Charlton Heston, star of Planet of the Apes (1968) as well as President of the National Rifle Association, is the only ape with a gun. He passes the gun to his son Thade, while he dies speaking the line, "Damn them! Damn them all to hell!" a variation of his character's last lines in the original "Damn you! God damn you all to hell!" Tim Roth, a vocal supporter of gun control, was originally uncomfortable with this pro-gun scene, but Tim Burton persuaded him, and Roth "decided that it was okay because it's fiction."
The "reworked" Tim Burton ending for this film is based on the original book ending as written by Pierre Boulle, in which the human protagonist finds a ship and escapes the ape planet, together with a native human female. They set a course for Earth, but due to traveling at near-lightspeed, many centuries have passed, and Earth has also evolved into an ape-dominated society. The DVD endpapers notes offer a clue to the logic of the movie ending: "Maybe someone went back to earth before Captain Leo Davidson."
The "police ape" at the end of the movie wears a modified helmet from Starship Troopers (1997). The helmet was simply painted black and a visor was added (transparent plastic). You can see that the helmet does not fit correctly over the makeup appliances.
At the beginning, when the Oberon receives the "loop" transmission, an elderly version of General Vasich's distress recording is briefly glimpsed, suggesting that causality and time travel will be very integral to the plot.
One of the considered endings had Leo Davidson crash-landing at Yankee Stadium and seeing apes playing baseball. This scene was originally suggested in 1995 by Fox executive Dylan Sellers when Phillip Noyce and Terry Hayes were attached. When Hayes submitted a script without the baseball scene, Sellers fired him and Noyce quit. Tim Burton wanted the scene but it was cut due to budgetary concerns.
Helena Bonham Carter said of the ending, "I thought it made sense, kind of. I don't understand why everyone went, 'Huh?' It's all a time warp thing. He's gone back and he realizes Thade's beat him there."