Brian Cox will reunite with The Escapist helmer Rupert Wyatt in 20th Century Fox’s Planet of the Apes prequel Rise of the Apes. The Wrap reports that Cox will play “the villainous owner of a primate sanctuary who runs the facility without compassion for the animals that live there.”
Cox will join James Franco (Spider-Man/Milk) who is set to play the lead, “a young, driven scientist who becomes a crucial figure in the war between humans and apes.” Other co-stars include John Lithgow, who plays Franco’s father, also a scientist, Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), who plays a primatologist who helps Franco, and Andy Serkis, who will play Caesar, the chimp who leads the simian revolt.
Fox has released the 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 screenplay is written by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa. 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. 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, and the film has an announced release date of June 24th 2011. Rise of the Apes will hit theaters on June 24th 2011. The prequel/reboot is set to hit theaters on the same day as Pixar’s Cars 2, a week after Green Lantern, and a week before Transformers 3.