Just a few weeks ago, 20th Century Fox cast James Franco as the lead in their upcoming prequel Rise of the Apes and the studio is now looking to bring two other significant names onboard – namely acclaimed performers Don Cheadle and Freida Pinto.

A prequel to the original 1968 Planet of the Apes film, Rise of the Apes revolves around a modern-day scientist (Franco) who conducts genetic experiments on a chimp he dubs Caesar, in the hopes of developing a cure for Alzheimers.  Caesar begins to develop human-like intelligence and leads a rebellion against his captors (which happened before in the 1972 sequel Conquest of the Planet of the Apes) that eventually results in a world dominated by apes.

Brit Rupert Wyatt was officially confirmed as the film’s director last month and will work from a screenplay that was restructured by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver following the fallout between original Rise of the Apes director Scott Frank and Fox Studio officials.

Shooting is scheduled to begin in Vancouver this July, with Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital (King Kong) set to bring the apes to life via CGI and motion-caputure animation, instead of makeup and prosthetics (which were used in all the previous Apes films).

Cheadle is an Oscar-nominated talent who is currently making waves in theaters as Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine in Iron Man 2.  He’s always a welcome presence in my book – even when he’s doing his horrible Cockney accent from the Ocean’s 11 trilogy – so I’m all for Cheadle joining the new Apes film.

Pinto left a good impression on most moviegoers with her performance as Latika in Slumdog Millionaire and will hopefully continue her winning steak in this year’s Woody Allen flick You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.  Presumedly, she and Cheadle will play human characters in the Apes prequel, since it sounds as though the apes will be primarily GGI creatures that are more realistic in design than those of the original Planet of the Apes (or even Tim Burton’s “re-imagining”).

So what do you think?  Do you like the idea of Cheadle and Pinto joining Rise of the Apes?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Rise of the Apes is scheduled to arrive in theaters in the U.S. on June 24th, 2011.

Source: BD Horror News