John Lithgow Frieda Pinto

Yeah, I know monkeys aren’t apes. Get over it.

HeatVision is reporting that John Lithgow and Freida Pinto have signed on to star in 20th Century Fox’s upcoming Rise Of the Apes. The film is a prequel to Tim Burton’s misguided and deservedly maligned reboot with Mark Wahlberg from 2001. The only part of that movie that works is the practical makeup/suits for the ape design. Which is something they’re reportedly replacing with CGI for the prequel…

Rise Of the Apes stars James Franco as a scientist working on a cure for Alzheimer’s with Lithgow playing the role of his father who suffers from the disease. Pinto will play a sexy primatologist who either assists Franco or fights against his use of apes for medical research. Either way she’s bound to fall in love with his dreamy good looks. One of Franco’s test subjects, a simian named Caesar, begins to evolve mentally and is brought home to live with the scientist and his father. There may or may not be a third-act twist where Matthew Broderick helps Caesar escape into the Everglades…

Rupert Wyatt is handling director duties on the film which will be his US debut. It seems to be a right of passage for “foreign” directors with buzz to get their Hollywood baptism in the form of a big budget sequel or franchise. Wyatt’s last film is the small but fairly cool British flick, The Escapist, about a group of inmates led by Brian Cox who plan and execute a prison escape.

Rise Of the Apes starts shooting this summer for a 2011 release.

Does this prequel interest you in the slightest?

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