In a story from Variety, Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and John Lithgow have joined Rise of the Apes for 20th Century Fox. This film is a prequel to Planet of the Apes.

John Lithgow will be playing the father of James Franco's character. Pinto will play the part of Caroline, a primatologist.

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Chernin Entertainment is producing this prequel. Peter Jackson's WETA digital is going to create photo-realistic apes, instead of costumed actors, for the first time in the franchise.

Rise of the Apes 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.

Franco is going to play a scientist who becomes a central figure in the war between humans and the apes. Rise of the Apes will shoot next month and then hit theaters June 24, 2011.

The script was written by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.