John Lithgow Joins Rise Of The Apes

Plus Frida Pinto confirmed

There's no confirmation yet of Don Cheadle's possible involvement, but The Hollywood Reporter's Heatvision Blog this morning confirms that Frida Pinto and John Lithgow will join James Franco in Rise of the Apes.

There's a bit of extra plot-reveal too: the genetic engineering experiments that form Franco's research (and cause the evolutionary leap that makes gorillas into soldiers, orang-utans into sages and chimps into academics) are a search for a cure for Alzheimer's disease (wait, wasn't that the rationale in Deep Blue Sea?). Lithgow will play Franco's dementia-stricken father, while Pinto's female-lead role is as a primatologist.

After years in 3rd Rock From the Sun, Lithgow is having a bit of a renaissance as a serious actor, what with this (which could be quite an affecting performance) and his serial-killing turn in Dexter.

Pinto meanwhile, is ticking all the right career boxes: following Slumdog Millionaire with Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, and then racking up the mainstream Hollywood with both this and Tarsem Singh's Greek gods-bothering Immortals.

Rise of the Apes is building a strong cast, and has an intriguing director in The Escapist's Rupert Wyatt. The script is by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Peter Chernin is producing, the digital apes are by WETA, shooting starts shortly in British Columbia, and a release-date of June 2011 is already locked.