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John Lithgow and Freida Pinto Join The Cast of ‘Rise of The Apes’

John Lithgow and Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) have signed on to join in 20th Century Fox’s Planet of the Apes prequel Rise of the Apes. The pair join leading man James Franco (Spider-Man/Milk). Lithgow will play Franco’s Alzheimer’s-stricken father. Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) is set to play Caroline, the film’s female lead who is “a primatologist.” Director Rupert Wyatt will direct the flick from a screenplay by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.

Official plot synopsis: RISE OF THE APES (tentative title) is an origin story in the truest sense of the term. Set in present day San Francisco, the film is a reality-based cautionary tale, a science fiction/science fact blend, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

The Apes will be created using CGI by the wonderful tram at WETA Digital, rather than the costumed actors we’ve seen in past installments of the franchise. The press release says that they will employ “certain of the groundbreaking technologies developed for AVATAR” and “will render, for the first time ever in the film series, photo-realistic apes rather than costumed actors.”

Fox’s Tom Rothman has said that it is “a kind of prequel story before the first story, with a return to the social thematics that mark the first one, but with an entirely contemporary setting – Earth 2009.” The film won’t have talking monkeys and will not end with chimps taking over Earth. Instead the film will be a hard science fiction film about humans that use science to create hyper-intelligent chimpanzees.

Principal photography is set to begin on July 5th 2010 in British Columbia. Rise of the Apes is currently slated for a June 24, 2011 release.

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