James Franco to Star in Rise of the Apes

Venerable supporting actor James Franco of Milk and Spider-Man fame has scored the coveted lead in Fox’s Rise of the Apes, a prequel of sorts to Planet of the Apes.

In the film, Franco will play a scientist in modern-day San Francisco who becomes entangled in the war between humans and apes after genetic experiments lead to the onset of intelligence in apes. No word yet on whether the “Lincoln” ending from Tim Burton’s Planet of Apes remake will somehow be explained or hinted at.

Rather than suit up humans in big furry ape costumes, WETA Digital of King Kong, Lord of the Rings and District 9 fame will be constructing the new apes entirely in a computer — a first for the franchise.

Rise of the Apes lands in theaters on June 24, 2011 and will have to compete against Fox’s own X-Men: First Class and Kung Fu Panda 2 (June 3), The Green Lantern (June 17) and Transformers 3 (July 1).

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