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Industry Roundup: Pinto and Lithgow Rise to the Occasion

Monkey Business: John Lithgow and Freida Pinto are joining the cast of Rise of the Apes, Fox’s prequel to the Planet of the Apes franchise starring James Franco. The film, directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist), is centered on a scientist (Franco) working on a cure for Alzheimer’s, which he is testing on apes. Lithgow will play Franco’s “Alzheimer’s-stricken father,” and Pinto will play the female lead, a primatologist. Thank God we have Franco's discourse to remind us that Pinto is not, in fact, a primatologist in real life. [Heat Vision/HR]

Rich Gets Richer: Jason Reitman has optioned the movie rights to Elliot Allagash, a novel by Saturday Night Live writer Simon Rich, who will write the adaptation. Reitman intends to produce the film, though it’s unclear whether he will direct. Allagash, a “satiric take on private schools and the excesses of the rich,” follows a boy named Seymour Herson, who is regularly picked on before he is mentored by Elliot Allagash, a “teen who regularly gets drunk and enjoys villainy.” Though there's probably only so much Allagash can do to help a dude stuck with the name Seymour Herson. [HR]

Penguins Are Back: Mark Waters (Freaky Friday, Mean Girls) is “circling” to direct Mr. Popper’s Penguins, the 20th Century Fox adaptation of the 1938 children’s book that originally had Noah Baumbach and Ben Stiller onboard. Considering Waters's previous films, maybe he can get Lindsay Lohan some work out of this. [Variety]

XX Marks the Spot: Indie darlings the xx will be embarking on a fall tour of North America, which the group is heralding as “the last chance to see the band play for quite a while.” The L.A. band Warpaint will open for the September and October dates. Perhaps they'll return Shakira's favor and cover "Hips Don't Lie." [Pitchfork]

Ruben's Babe: Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) will direct the comedy Babe in the Woods, written by Mike White (Nacho Libre, The School of Rock), for Columbia. Babe is about a female freshman from the Midwest who arrives at Yale and is targeted by the New Jersey mob, which is almost as bad as gaining the freshman fifteen. [HR]

Star-Crossed: Canadian band Stars, who recently released the album The Five Ghosts, will be touring North America in September after a summer of European dates. The band will begin the North American leg in New York in late September and finish up with a few shows in Canada in early November. [Pitchfork]

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images