Warner Bros. has been looking to resurrect the live-action Tarzan movie franchise for a couple years now, and even had two different scripts in development at one point. A few months after that initial report broke, it seemed the studio was going to move forward with the draft penned by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan), who would also be directing.

However, Brewer’s take on author Edgar Rice Burroughs’ iconic ‘ape-man’ ended up falling by the wayside. Directing duties have since been reassigned to David Yates (the director of the final four Harry Potter films), and just last week we discovered that he had officially begun the search for a suitable candidate to portray the new Tarzan.

Four stud actors were previously mentioned as prospectives in the running for Yates’ Tarzan adaptation: Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood), Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Henry Cavill (Immortals), and Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises). Skarsgård did seem like the best choice for a handful of reasons, including:

  1. He possesses the necessary physical build (he’s 6’4”) and screen presence.
  2. He’s on the lookout for a breakout role such as this, whereas Hunnam already has a part in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, Cavill is playing Superman in Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel, and Hardy remains as in-demand as ever (case in point: we just learned today that he’s starring in Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell movie).

Hence, it’s not surprising to learn that Skarsgård is indeed Yates’ first choice for the film. Variety reports that he has yet to receive a formal offer and nothing has been finalized at this stage, but that a decision is expected before the year’s end (well-ahead of a planned Summer 2013 production start date).

The script for Yates’ Tarzan was written by Adam Cozad (the Jack Ryan reboot), who is reported to have drawn from earlier drafts penned by the likes of Cormac and Marianne Wibberley (the National Treasure movies) and John August (who worked with the Wibberleys on the script for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle). Here is a description of the plot setup from Cozad’s draft:

Years after he’s re-assimilated into society, [John Clayton III, a.k.a. Tarzan] is asked by Queen Victoria to investigate the goings-on in the Congo. Tarzan teams with an ex-mercenary named George Washington Williams to save the Congo from a fierce warlord who controls a massive diamond mine.

Variety also reports that Samuel L. Jackson is currently being eyed for the role of Williams, a character described as “a Civil War veteran eager to redeem himself for his part in the massacre of Native Americans.” SLJ has recently been taking a break from playing Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to work on the RoboCop and Oldboy remakes, but he’ll return to duty as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. next year (when shooting starts on Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

Does this new version of Tarzan sound appealing to you so far? Let us know in the comments section.

Source: Variety