Friday, May 21, 2010

Hairy Osborn

Deadline broke the story early today, and the usual suspects soon followed suit that James Franco, best known as Spider-Man's frenemy Harry Osborn in the just-concluded Sam Raimi Spider-series, has signed on to play the lead human in Fox's Planet of the Apes revival Rise of the Apes.  The prequel project is still being directed by Rupert Wyatt, and still on track for release next summer.  I like Franco.  I think he's a fine actor, seems like a nice guy, and I have to give it up for anyone who mortgages his cred on a larky series of General Hospital appearances just for the fun of it.  That said, I'm still pretty neutral on this casting until I know more about the movie itself.

While Rise is ostensibly inspired by the third Apes sequel, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the difference there was that series star Roddy McDowall, playing the intelligent chimp Caesar, was the primary lead, and the audience was already firmly on his side through two previous appearances (McDowall skipped the second flick, Beneath the Planet of the Apes).  With the furball contingent being realized entirely through CGI this time, that means that Franco will have to lift more of the load, both in terms of audience sympathy and putting butts in seats, and I'm not entirely sure he's got the pull.  I hope whatever special effects the techs at WETA come up with are pretty darn spectacular if this one is going to overcome the bad taste from from the franchise's last time at bat.

No comments: