Last week, Rupert Wyatt made it official and bowed out of directing the film ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’, the sequel film to his highly successful ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’. Citing a lack of time to properly make the movie as his reason, Wyatt’s departure has left 20th Century Fox scrambling to find his replacement and now a short list of directors that the studio is thinking of offering the project to has been revealed.

The position is a plum one for any director and Fox production president, Emma Watts is making sure the helmer seat is filled quickly. At the top of their short list is Matt Reeves (‘Cloverfield‘, ‘Let Me In’) who recently had to step away from directing the ‘Twilight Zone’ due to “scheduling conflicts.”

Other names on the short list include J. Blakeson (‘The Disappearance Of Alice Creed’), Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (‘28 Weeks Later’, ‘Highlander’), Jeff Nichols (‘Take Shelter’), Guillermo del Toro (‘Pacific Rim‘, Blade’, ‘Hellboy’), Juan Antonio Bayona (‘The Orphanage’), and Rian Johnson (‘Looper‘).

This is a curious set of names as the only director among them that really has had any prior experience with big budget films is Guillermo del Toro. It seems unlikely that del Toro will take the job as he has a lot of projects in development and is currently working on post-converting ‘Pacific Rim’ into 3D. However, since this is an enticing project to begin with, don’t be surprised if he rearranges his schedule in order to be available.

Johnson’s reps, on the other hand, have denied reports stating that he is not being considered to direct and is not “in the hunt.”

A decision does need to be made soon in order to meet the release date scheduled. In an effort to entice the directors, the studio is promising to give whoever accepts the job creative leeway. Whoever takes the job will be working off a script which was written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, the same duo who wrote the first film, with a rework by Scott Z. Burns.

The chosen director will definitely have some large shoes to fill as the first film grossed $483 million worldwide. Fox will be making sure the sequel will not fall flat as this is one franchise they want preserved.

So who would you like to see direct the film? The lucky director should be announced soon so stay tuned to see if Fox chose the one you wanted.

Source: Deadline