Franco has appeared in the "Spider-Man" movies, as well as the films "Milk," "Pineapple Express" and "Sonny," and TV's "Freaks and Geeks" and "James Dean."
Variety said the actor beat out several other young stars for the role of a young scientist in "Apes," which is set in present-day San Francisco.
The science-fiction movie, which pits high-functioning, genetically altered apes against humans, will feature photo-realistic apes rather than costumed actors, which have been used in past installments of the decades-old franchise, the entertainment industry trade newspaper said.
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