James Franco Takes Serious Credibility Hit, Will Headline “Planet of the Apes” Prequel

5/30/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie News

James Franco Takes Serious Credibility Hit, Will Headline “Planet of the Apes” Prequel

By our guest blogger, Tim Strain

Cashing in on his recent success and playing his Get Out of Jail Free card, James Franco has just signed on to play the lead in Fox’s tentatively titled “Rise of the Apes.” It is the sixth in the series and second “re-imagining,” this time a contemporary tale that involves a scientist (Franco) who ends up engineering the fusion of man and ape intelligence, or some silly crap like that. Fox big-wig Tom Rothman says it “a hard science fiction film about humans that use science to create hyper-intelligent chimpanzees.” And won’t have talking monkeys taking over the planet. (What’s the point?)

A sign of the times, the apes in this will be entirely CGI rather than the hilarious n’ heartwarming prosthetics. Even Tim Burton knew enough to not touch that aspect of the series (and can we please focus on the part where the monkeys don’t take over the world for a second?). Instead, effects wizards WETA Digital will provide entirely CGI renderings of the baddies, using technology straight out of “Avatar.” That’s right--photo-realistic apes. Because the kids in “Polar Express” and the Na’avi weren’t scary enough.

The Variety article doesn’t say whether the end product will be in 3D, but it’s pretty much a given. Production is slated to begin on July 5, 2010, meaning Franco has about four seconds to breathe for the next year or so. He just finished shooting Danny Boyle’s Oscar hopeful “127 Hours,” about the mountain climber who hacked his arm off a few years back (remember?)' he stars alongside Javier Bardem, Julia Roberts, Billy Crudup and Richard Jenkins in Ryan Murphy’s “Eat, Pray, Love,” due this fall; and his medieval stoner comedy “Your Highness” is due next April. “Rise of the Apes” is scheduled for release on June 24, 2011 (sandwiched between “Green Lantern” and “Transformers 3,” and on the same day as “Cars 2”) in what appears to be one of the least original summers for the movie business on record.

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