May 20, 2010 at 12:00 PM EDT

Twentieth Century Fox has signed Pineapple Express and Spider-Man star James Franco to star in Rise of the Apes, a prequel film to Planet of the Apes. Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) is directing the movie, which will be set in the present and chronicle the rise of talking apes and their conflict with humans. Shooting will begin in July. The movie is scheduled for a summer 2011 release. The news of Franco’s participation was first reported by Variety and confimed by EW.

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