Exclusive: Brian Cox to Abuse Primates in ‘Rise of the Apes’

Actor to reunite with “The Escapist” director Rupert Wyatt for Fox’s “Planet of the Apes” prequel


Brian Cox is set to reunite with "The Escapist" director Rupert Wyatt for 20th Century Fox's "Rise of the Apes," an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap.

Cox is in final negotiations to play the villainous owner of a primate sanctuary who runs the facility without compassion for the animals that live there.

James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow and Andy Serkis star in the "Planet of the Apes" prequel that Wyatt is directing from a script by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.

The writers will also produce with Chernin Entertainment's Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark.

Set in present day San Francisco, the origin story deals with the aftermath of man's experiments with genetic engineering that lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

A chimp named Caesar (Serkis) leads the uprising among the apes after having been raised by Lithgow and Franco's father-and-son scientist characters.

Pinto plays a primatologist who helps Franco.

WETA digital is rendering photo-realistic apes for the first time in the franchise, as opposed to using costumed actors.

Cox recently starred in "The Good Heart" opposite his "L.I.E." co-star Paul Dano. He is currently filming "The Veteran" with Toby Kebbell, and will next appear in Summit's action-thriller "Red" this October. He is represented by IFA Talent Agency and Insight.

"Rise of the Apes" is scheduled to take over theaters on June 24, 2011.