So long, Spidey! Ivy League-bound screen star James Franco has signed up to star in a prequel of Planet Of The Apes. The actor played the web-slinger’s nemesis Harry Osborn in all three of the Spider-Man movies, now he’s heading to another blockbuster franchise, playing a young scientist in forthcoming film Rise of the Apes.

The movie, produced by Twentieth Century Fox, deals with the consequences of human experiments in genetic engineering which leads to the development of highly intelligent apes.

Some of the technology behind the stunning cinematography employed in the Oscar-winning blockbuster Avatar will also be used in the Apes prequel — set and shot on location in San Francisco. The animals will be digitally created by the New Zealand-based WETA Digital.

Production kicks off July 5. The action thriller is set for release on June 24, 2011 — but we won’t have to wait that long to see James at work. Franco is all set to return to the ABC sudster General Hospital next month after appearing in a hit guest arc on the program last fall.

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