Andy Serkis has signed up to star in 'Rise of the Apes'.

The British actor - best known for his role of Gollum in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy - will appear alongside James Franco, Freida Pinto and John Lithgow in the prequel to 'Planet of the Apes'.

The movie - which is to be directed by Rupert Wyatt - will focus on a scientist, played by Franco, who has been working on a cure for Alzheimer's disease which is being tested on apes.

Serkis will play Caesar, the chimp who evolves very fast and is taken home by Franco's character to protect him from cruel doctors.

Pinto will play a primatologist while Lithgow will take on the role of Franco's character's father, who suffers from Alzheimer's.

This is not the first time Serkis has taken on the role of an ape after portraying a gorilla in 2005's 'King Kong', providing both the voice and movements for Kong.

Serkis' future projects include Steven Spielberg's 'The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn' and he recently starred as rocker Ian Dury in 'Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll'.