New Planet Of The Apes Installment Finds Andy Serkis' Successor In The Stand's Owen Teague

If you've been wondering what has been up with that Wes Ball "Planet of the Apes" movie that's been whispered about for over three years now, it looks like we have some movement on that front. The Fox/Disney merger is a likely suspect in the delay of a new run of "Apes" movies, but Deadline has the scoop that Ball and the studio have found their new lead ape in a young actor named Owen Teague. 

Teague is probably best known for his roles in a pair of Stephen King adaptations. He had a small part in the "It" films as Patrick Hockstetter, one of Henry Bowers' gang that bullies the poor members of The Losers Club and has a penchant for turning an aerosol can into a flamethrower. He falls victim to Pennywise pretty early on in that first film, so his real stand-out is playing the very troubled Harold Lauder in "The Stand." There's lots to criticize about the Josh Boone adaptation, but casting Teague as Lauder isn't one of that series' failings.

He's an intense young man that can play both sympathetic and creepy as all hell, so it's not very surprising that he killed his audition to play the new primate lead of whatever this next series of "Planet of the Apes" films is going to be.

Wes Ball has some pretty big shoes to fill

Ball, who is best known for "The Maze Runner," turned in a draft to 20th Century Studios (the new version of Fox post-Disney merger) and they flipped for it. Ball has gone on record as saying that he used much of lockdown to make the script as bulletproof as he could make it, and apparently that worked because 20th Century immediately began their search for their new Andy Serkis and set their sights on rolling film by the end of the year.

Matt Reeves brought the previous trilogy in for an epic landing with 2017's "War for the Planet of the Apes" which ended up locking in that trilogy as one of the most surprising and effective sci-fi/fantasy series in recent time. Those "Apes" movies are way better than they had any right to be, and a huge reason for their success is in their performance capture actors. That's crucial if the studio wants to continue down this road, and now they can't depend on Andy Serkis, who is the Marlon Brando of performance capture.

Teague isn't a worldwide name yet, but he's a fantastic actor and always gives 110% to every performance. This is a very promising move that bodes well for another quality installment.