James Franco is an intense guy. He only takes on projects after giving serious thought to how they might be able to challenge and advance his development as an artist.

Honestly, we're still wondering where that whole Three's Company tribute landed on the advancement spectrum, but at least Franco's new flick, the preposition-heavy Rise of the Planet of the Apes, offered a real opportunity thanks to new technology.

So what excited James about this project?

"I was gonna have the opportunity to work with people using cutting-edge technology," Franco told us. "Maybe 10 years ago, I would have run from that and think, Oh, this is the death of acting."

One thing that helped was James' ability to interact with his costar Andy Serkis, who played the digitally rendered chimp Caesar.

"He can be on set with me and react with me," James explained. But just in case things were still a bit hazy, he expanded on the theory behind the technique: "If I'm playing opposite an actress who's playing my mother, obviously she's not my real mother, but because we're acting...my acting imagination can take over and I can relate to her as if she's my mother."

Got that?

Check out the video for more from James and his Apes costar Freida Pinto on what it's like filming all this digital monkey business.

PHOTOS: Movies From the Future!

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