The scene is downtown San Francisco, where the cable car line starts its jangly roll up California Street. Only it’s around 2023, and the streetscape is a wasteland of ravaged, graffitied storefronts, burned-out buildings, a decimated BART subway station and dense, tangled overgrowth.
This is where a colony of remaining humans is making its last stand against a virus-empowered army of apes. Or if you’re a New Orleans driver, it’s where you want to avoid for another few weeks as filming rolls in the Central Business District on “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the Twentieth Century Fox follow-up to 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”
No primate antics were on view Tuesday through the chain-link fences guarding entrances to the set on both Loyola Avenue and Gravier Street, although a set assistant said actor Gary Oldman was soon to bolt through the door of a vine-draped, arched building that dominates the scene.
The assistant said the set cost $6 million to build and would be used in only a few scenes. The one being shot Tuesday figured to run about 90 seconds long, he said, checking a schedule sheet.
He said explosions are expected this weekend.
Security around the set entrances was tight, with uniformed NOPD officers also posted at nearby intersections. According to Film New Orleans, the production is expected to have an $80 million economic impact and employ about 600 locals.
The street closures began May 11 and will run through June 24, affecting the 100 and 200 blocks of South Rampart Street, the 1000 block of Common Street and the 1100 block of Tulane Avenue, according to the city agency, which is operated through the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy.
Officers on Tuesday were funneling auto traffic through on Gravier, alongside the set.
The film, directed by Matt Reeves and starring Oldman, Andy Serkis and Jason Clarke, is slated for release in May, 2014.