First Look: James Franco, Freida Pinto, And Andy Serkis Filming 'Rise Of The Apes'

[Image removed at the request of FOX]Just Jared (via: BleedingCool) has the first set photo of James Franco, Freida Pinto, and Andy Serkis in The Escapist helmer Rupert Wyatt's Planet of the Apes prequel Rise of the Apes. The photo is interesting because you can see Serkis in his performance capture suit, complete with head camera (which captures facial movements).

As you probably recall, the Apes in the movie are being created using CGI by the wonderful tram at WETA Digital, rather than the costumed actors we've seen in past installments of the franchise. WETA 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."

Check out the full image after the jump.

[Image removed at the request of FOX]Previously: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, Brian Cox will play "the villainous owner of a primate sanctuary who runs the facility without compassion for the animals that live there," and Andy Serkis, who will play Caesar, the chimp who leads the simian revolt. David Oyelowo (The Last King of Scotland, A Sound of Thunder, Derailed) has been offered the role of Steve Jacobs, the board of directors who announces phase 2, clinical trials. Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films) plays the son of Brian Cox's character, who is "the villainous owner of a primate sanctuary who runs the facility without compassion for the animals that live there."

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.

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.

Rise of the Apes will hit theaters on June 24th 2011.