Freida Pinto rises for ‘Apes’ prequel

'Slumdog' actress in talks to star opposite James Franco in Fox pic

Freida Pinto is in talks to star opposite James Franco in “Rise of the Apes,” 20th Century Fox’s “Planet of the Apes” prequel.

Rupert Wyatt is directing “Apes,” described as an origins story. Along with Pinto, John Lithgow also is eyeing a part in the film.

Pinto will play the role of Caroline, a primatologist; Lithgow will play the father of Franco’s character.

Chernin Entertainment is producing the prequel, while Peter Jackson’s visual effects house WETA digital will render photo-realistic apes, rather than costumed actors, for the first time in the franchise.

Set in present day San Francisco, “Apes” deals with the aftermath of man’s experiments with genetic engineering that lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy. Franco will play a driven scientist who becomes a crucial figure in the war between humans and apes.

“Apes,” set to begin lensing next month, unspools June 24, 2011.

Wyatt will direct from a script by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa, who will produce with Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark.Pinto and Lithgow are repped by CAA.

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