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James Franco for 'Rise of the Apes'

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James Franco at a special film screening of 'Milk' in New York

© Rex Features

James Franco is to star in Rise of the Apes, the prequel to the 2001 film Planet of the Apes.

The actor will play a scientist who intervenes in the war between humans and apes, Variety reports.

The film is said to deal with the consequences of human experiments in genetic engineering which lead to extremely high intelligence in apes.

Rise of the Apes is scheduled to begin filming on July 5, with a release date of June 2011.

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