The sequel takes place a decade after the events in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011), when humanity has been ravaged by a devastating virus unleashed upon the population. With the simian soldiers slowly establishing their own society, humanity tries to forge a fragile peace, but things don't quite go to plan.
"We'll see how Caesar becomes this leader," Reeves has said of the film. "The apes' story is a through-the-looking-glass way of looking at what we are. By what's going on in the internal lives of the apes we are exploring ourselves, our impulses, our society. So much is roiling inside [him]. He has a rational side separate from the apes - they're all instinct."
Reeves, who took on the Apes baton from Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes' Rupert Wyatt, has enthused about Andy Serkis's knack for bringing the mo-capped ape to life ("We all know he's a genius") and Weta Digital's fast advancing technology. "I want it to feel as if we're making an epic film", he said, "[and] very grounded, [so] we're lighting with real light, and we're putting the effects that are so amazing in Rise and Avatar into this environment. Making the effects emotional in real life increases the illusion. But it's a complicated thing to take these crazy digital cameras in these crazy locations."
Serkis is joined by Toby Kebbell (War Horse) as Caesar's fellow ape, Koba, as well as a human cast that boasts Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises), Keri Russell (Dark Skies), Judy Greer (The Descendants) and Jason Clarke (Public Enemies). "I want to make sure to bring to the human characters the same level of emotional depth as the apes," stresses the director. "I can't give too much away, I'm hiding a little bit. I'm going back to shooting apes climbing trees in the woods."
With Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) also in the cast, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is out here on 17 July next year.