James Franco Wasn't Monkeying Around Taking On “Apes” Role

Is there any part James Franco isn’t up for?

The actor’s already about to be seen in director Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours,” where he somehow turns in an awards-worthy performance while spending much of the movie immobile, his right arm pinned by a boulder in a chasm. He’s got the action-y “Planet of the Apes” prequel “Rise of the Apes” in the pipeline. And then there were those head-scratching – yet compellingly creepy – stints on the daytime drama “General Hospital” earlier this year.

After acclaimed turns in “Howl” and “Milk” and pop culture-appeal films like “Pineapple Express,” Franco feels ready for anything.

“It’s not ‘Why not?’ but it’s more like ‘Oh, that’s new!’” Franco told PopcornBiz. “Yeah, I’m interested, but not ‘Hey James, why don’t you shoot yourself in the foot?’ or something. ‘Yeah, why not?’ Not quite ‘Jackass’ yet.”

Even “Rise of the Apes” offered a compelling acting challenge and not just monkeying around for a big payday, he explains. “I play a nerdy scientist in that so I’m not an action hero at all. I saw ‘127 Hours’ as an opportunity to have an unusual acting experience, and I honestly felt the same way about ‘Planet of the Apes’ where when I first heard about it I thought “Well, hmm, I don't know. Those masks have cult value, but…’ And then I found out, ‘Oh, that that’s not how they’re doing it,’ that it’s actually all of Peter Jackson’s Weta people doing CG and that I’ll be working with Andy Serkis who played Gollum”

“I was such a big fan of those movies and I am interested in new ways of performing and new ways of filmmaking so I thought why not?” Franco said. “I had this opportunity and try it out. I got to do the scenes with Andy Serkis – he plays a chimpanzee, a real chimpanzee. There’s no way we would ever get scenes that we did with a real chimpanzee. Because Andy’s so good at that behavior, it’s like acting opposite a real chimpanzee with great acting instincts. It was cool, it was new-new for me.”

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