PIERRE BOULLE (20 February 1912 - 30 January 1994)
French novelist best known for two works, The Bridge Over the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes, Pierre Boulle served as a secret agent for the French resistance in China, Burma, and French Indochina (Vietnam) during the Second World War. Boulle was captured by Vichy France loyalists on the Mekong River and was subjected to severe hardship and forced labor.
Based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwaï by French novelist Pierre Boulle, the film The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) was written by Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson. Foreman is best known as the screenwriter of Champion, High Noon, and Guns of Navarone. Foreman and Wilson were on the Hollywood blacklist and had to work in secret. Foreman wrote the first drafts, but was replaced by Wilson when director David Lean grew dissatisfied with Foreman’s script.
Pierre Boulle, the author of the novel, was given official credit for screenwriting even though he couldn’t speak English. The Bridge on the River Kwai won the Oscar for Best Screenplay - Adaptation, and it went to Boulle. The Academy rectified the situation by retroactively awarding the Oscar to both Foreman and Wilson, posthumously in both cases. Subsequent releases of the film give them proper screen credit.
Based on the novel La Planéte des Singes by French novelist Pierre Boulle, the film Planet of the Apes (1968) was written by Rod Serling and Michael Wilson. Serling is best known as the creator and principle writer for the classic TV series The Twilight Zone. Serling wrote the first drafts, but was replaced by Wilson after none of them seemed cost effective. Serling kept the apes civilized as they are in the novel, making it expensive to produce. Wilson was an accomplished screenwriter with a list of credits that included It’s a Wonderful Life, A Place in the Sun, The Bridge on the River Kwai (also a Pierre Boulle novel), and Lawrence of Arabia. Wilson made the necessary adjustments, but kept Serling’s twist ending. The ending of the novel is twisted, but in a different manner.
The episode "I Shot an Arrow into the Air" from the first season of The Twilight Zone bares an incredible resemblance to many aspects of The Planet of the Apes: crash landed astronauts trek through a desert, fight with each other, and one survives to find he’s been on Earth the entire time.