Rise of the Apes, 20th Century Fox' prequelized reboot of their beloved Planet of the Apes franchise, has just gained its first cast member. Variety tells us that James Franco is set to play one of the young scientists at the core of the story about genetic experiments on apes that eventually (one presumes) leads to the downfall of mankind. Rupert Wyatt will be directing Franco in a new script from Relic screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.

Franco is the only name that Variety has revealed to be attached to the project at this point, so it's any one's guess who will be joining him in the inter-species war. Personally, I'm a big fan of James Franco despite the best efforts of Spider-Man 3 to convince me I shouldn't be. I think he's a great every-man actor and he even proved with his documentary Saturday Night that he's not too shabby of a filmmaker, either. For me, the big deciding factor for how rabidly I'll anticipate this Apes entry lays with the handling of the all-CGI apes. Rise of the Apes could have the most charismatic cast around, but if the digital simians are a misfire, everything will suffer accordingly.

But what say you? Is James Franco a step in the right direction for Rise of the Apes? Or are you still withholding excitement until more is known about the handling of human-usurping apes?