James Franco appeared in 2011’s ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ as Will Rodman, the scientist who created the intelligence formula that elevated Caesar’s mental capacity and also inadvertently wiped out most of humanity… most likely including himself and Caroline Aranha (Frida Pinto). When last heard, Franco had not been asked to return to the sequel, however, upon learning that his character does make some sort of appearance in ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’, the actor seemed a bit taken aback.
When informed about the cameo the actor replied, “Wait, I have a cameo? I didn’t know that. You know, I don’t even think they asked my permission for that.”
Franco did admit that he’d been in talks to appear in a sequel but things didn’t come together:
“I was going to be a small part of the next one. There was one scene, between Caesar and my character, maybe even just like on a video that was left behind, but then a lot of things happened, like [former Fox co-chairman] Tom Rothman who was a big part of the first movie, left. Now Rupert [Wyatt, director of the first film ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’] i’s not a part of it, so I don’t know. My guess is I won’t be in it. Nobody’s talked to me since Rupert left.”
Will Rodman’s fate was left vague in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, but originally the script called for him to die on camera and the scene was actually filmed but didn’t make the movie’s final cut. It’s possible elements from that scene could be employed, but since Matt Reeves is directing the next installment, he may not choose to use another director’s work.
‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ will be set 10 years after the first film and focus on a different set of survivors: Gary Oldman (Dreyfus), Keri Russell (Ellie) and Jason Clarke (Malcolm), while Andy Serkis reprises his acclaimed role as Caesar, the ruler of the now in-control apes.
But are the filmmakers actually slipping in a surprise cameo of Franco’s character… or did he just forget agreeing to let them use his unseen footage?
‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ opens on July 11th.