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According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision Blog, James Franco of Spider-Man fame is set to take on the leading role in Fox’s Planet of the Apes prequel Rise of the Apes. The script was written by Rick Jaffa (The Relic) and Amanda Silver (The Hand that Rocks the Cradle); the two will also produce. Under a new agreement with Fox, Dylan Clark and Peter Chernin will take on producer duties on behalf of Chernin Entertainment. Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) is set to direct the film. Filming will take place in British Columbia this summer.
Franco will portray a scientist who tests a possible Alzheimer’s cure on apes. The project will focus on the evolving of a test ape named Caesar. The film will show how the apes came to dominate over the human race, as was seen in the original “Apes” films. Visual effects company WETA is working on the film, so expect some great visuals in the vein of James Cameron’s Avatar.
Franco has been having a very successful career as of late. He just recently starred in the hit comedy Date Night alongside Steve Carell and Tina Fey and will soon be reprising his character on the soap opera General Hospital. Franco won an Independent Spirit Award in 2008 for his performance in Gus Van Sant’s Milk.
The last “Apes”-based film was Tim Burton’s 2001 revamp. Despite making back its budget and then some, the film was critically mauled and received three Razzie Award nominations, including one for Worst Remake or Sequel. Franco is a terrific actor, and Wyatt’s filmography proves somewhat promising for this film. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the classic gets a good modern makeover.