Jason-ClarkeRise of the Planet of the Apes was a superb success at the box office back in 2011, netting Fox almost half a billion dollars that summer. Naturally, the sequel has been in development ever since, and now Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is starting to shape up nicely.

After original director Rupert Wyatt exited the project late last year, Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) came on board at the helm, which definitely piqued our interest.

And now to make things all the sweeter, THR report that Jason Clarke has signed on for the sequel.

The plot details are largely being kept under wraps, but the report notes that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will take place fifteen years after the events of the first film.

“One focus is on the group of 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.”

As of yet, it’s unclear who Clarke will be playing. But given that he’s the first name attached to the project, it’s quite likely that he’ll be the human lead, opposite Andy Serkis’ Caesar.

Reeves will be directing from a script most recently penned by Mark Bomback (The Wolverine). And producing the film will be Peter Chernin, Dylan Clarke, Amanda Silver, and Rick Jaffa.

Clarke had a brilliant year last year with a brilliant supporting role in John Hillcoat’s Lawless, followed by a significantly-recognised performance in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. With the film one of the year’s biggest Oscar contenders, it has of course helped bring Clarke to the attention of the masses, which I think is very much long overdue.

Clarke will be returning to the big screen this May in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire, reuniting once more with Joel Edgerton following Zero Dark Thirty. And then we’ll see him again later this year in Roland Emmerich’s White House Down, starring alongside Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Though his part in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes might be under wraps for now, his well-deserved rise in recognition following the success of Zero Dark Thirty would certainly suggest that it’s going to be a leading role. And that is definitely good news, because we don’t get to see him front and centre often enough.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes currently has a 23rd May, 2014 release date set. Production is expected to begin in the spring, which means we’ll hopefully hear more casting news in the weeks to come.