Jason Clarke to star in 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'; plot details revealed

Last year turned out to be the breakout for Jason Clarke many had been expecting for a long time. After starring as one of the Bondurant boys in Lawless, he gave a menacing, scene-stealing turn in Zero Dark Thirty. Now he's just landed his own franchise flick, and it's a pretty darn big one, taking the starring role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

THR reports Clarke will take over the lead in the sequel, although his role is unclear. With James Franco not expected back, Clarke will likely play the human foil to the primary ape, Caesar, played by the returning Andy Serkis. Plot details are slim, but the site says it's set 15 years after the last film, and partially follows a group of human scientists struggling to survive alone in San Francisco. Another plot has Caesar trying to maintain control of his kingdom.

Clarke will be seen later this year in The Great Gatsby, as well as playing the bad guy in White House Down. He'll also take on historical drama as Abe Lincoln's dad in The Green Blade Rises.
Replacing screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (Contagion) with Mark Bomback (Total Recall) still gives me some pause about this film, but adding Clarke is a good way to make amends. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens on May 23rd 2014.