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'Zero Dark' Actor Jason Clarke to Star in 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' (Exclusive)

Matt Reeves is directing the sequel to 2011's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

Jason Clarke Red Carpet Headshot - P 2013
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Jason Clarke, a breakout actor thanks to his performance as a CIA agent in Zero Dark Thirty, has signed on to star in 20th Century Fox’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

The film will be directed by Matt Reeves. Much of the plot is being kept under lock and key, but it is set 15 years after the events of 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which starred James Franco. One focus is on the human scientists who are struggling to survive alone in San Francisco. Another aspect of the story is the struggle of intelligent ape Caesar, played by a returning Andy Serkis, to maintain dominance over his kingdom.

It is unclear who Clarke will play.

Peter Chernin, Dylan Clarke, Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa are producing the movie, which is working off a script by Mark Bomback.

Apes is targeting a spring shoot.

Clarke has appeared in such movies as Public Enemies and Lawless and plays George Wilson in the upcoming adaptation of The Great Gatsby, directed by fellow Australian Baz Luhrmann. Clarke also starred on Fox's short-lived cop drama The Chicago Code and Showtime's gangsters-and-politics drama Brotherhood.

But it’s his turn as the hard-edged and gritty torturer in Zero Dark Thirty that opened Hollywood’s eyes to his leading-man potential. Apes represents his first starring gig in an American film production.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was seen as an intelligent and upscale reboot of the movie property. An association with the sequel stands to maintain Clarke's acting cred while allowing him to raise his profile via a tentpole franchise.

Clarke is repped by CAA, Robert Stein Management and Nelson Davis.

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com

Twitter: @Borys_Kit