Straight off the John Landis horror comedy Burke & Hare, Andy Serkis has been cast in the key role of Caesar in 20th Century Fox’s Rise of the Apes, the studio’s Planet of the Apes prequel that stars James Franco, Freida Pinto and John Lithgow. Set in present day San Francisco, “Apes” 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. Franco is a driven scientist who becomes a crucial figure in the war between humans and apes. Serkis plays the chimpanzee who leads the uprising among the apes after having been raised by Franco and Lithgow’s characters, who are father and son in the film. Rupert Wyatt begins lensing the origins story next month. Film unspools in theaters June 24, 2011.