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    James Franco: From Soap Star to Apes Man?

    Planet of the Apes, James Franco 20th Century Fox/David James, Michael Buckner/Getty Images

    Rock me, Dr. Zaius!

    Continuing his non-traditional career path, James Franco has signed on to star in Rise of the Apes, a prequel to Planet of the Apes, according to Variety. Based on a French novel, the Apes conceit has spawned the 1968 Charlton Heston classic (and its four sequels), a 1970s TV series and Tim Burton's 2001 reboot with Mark Wahlberg.

    Set in the present, Rise of the Apes adds genetic engineering to the familiar tale about apes who get smart and revolt against the human race. Franco will reportedly play a scientist who tries to help an ape that's been used as a lab animal. 

    Sounds like things don't work out that well. Rise is scheduled to be released June 24, 2011.

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