John Lithgow Monkeys Around In Planet Of The Apes Prequel

John Lithgow has joined the cast of Rise of the Apes, 20th Century Fox’s prequel to Planet of the Apes.

THR reports Lithgow will join James Franco, who beat out Toby Maguire for the film’s lead (finally, the Green Goblin triumphs over Spidey!). Franco plays a driven scientist who ignites a war between man and ape when he tampers with nature. Lithgow will play Franco’s father, whose Alzheimer’s drives the young scientist to seek a cure.

Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) has also joined the cast as Caroline, the film’s female lead and resident primatologist. Don Cheadle, fresh off of Iron Man 2, is also rumored to join the cast.

Rise of the Apes will be directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) from a screenplay by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.

Set in present day San Francisco, Rise of the Apes is described as a cautionary tale of man’s downfall when tampering with genetic engineering increases apes’ intelligence.

WETA Digital is on board to create the apes using GCI, so Planet of the Apes purists shed a tear. No more men (and women) in costumes.

Filming on the project will begin July 5 with a tentative release date of June 24, 2011 — the same day as Pixar’s Cars 2.

The Buzz: I love me some John Lithgow It’s only fitting that Lithgow, a man who disappeared for a while during the last decade, should be experiencing a bit of a career resurgence in 2010 — the year he made contact with 2010.

While I’m normally not too keen on the idea of prequels, this sounds more like a soft reboot than a straight prequel. While we all pretty much know how the end of Rise of the Apes will play out, there is something to be said about watching monkeys fight (and slaughter) humans.

What about you, faithful readers? Do you share my excitement over Rise of the Apes or is this a film you’d rather throw your poo at?

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