David Yates has eyed quite the eclectic collection of possible directorial vehicles since he helmed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (which was also the fourth film in the series directed by Yates). That includes a Doctor Who movie, an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, the Al Capone biopic Cicero – and Tarzan, the latest in a line of over 90 films based around Edgar Rice Burroughs’ famous ape-man character.
Yates was one of three candidates previously-reported to be in the running for the Tarzan job, along with directors Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) and Susanna White (Boardwalk Empire). We now have confirmation that Yates has committed to the project, which reunites him with Warner Bros. (the studio behind the iconic boy wizard franchise).
Warner Bros. took an unusual, but intelligent, approach to assembling yet another Tarzan flick. Namely, the studio hired both Adam Cozad (co-writer on Jack Ryan) and Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Footloose (2011)) to pen dual scripts, so that executives could choose from two different approaches to the source material. When we spoke to Brewer last year, he referred to his Tarzan screenplay as “the best thing that I’ve ever written,” but wasn’t sure when the project would move forward; as of now, it appears he is officially out as director.
Vulture makes no mention of Cozad in its report about Yates committing to direct Tarzan, so it’s apparently feasible that Warner Bros. is using Brewer’s script draft. Who knows, maybe studio heads passed on having Brewer direct because they wanted someone with more experience in the area of big-budget filmmaking at the helm (like Yates). Of course, for the time being, that’s pure speculation.
Yates seems to be focused right now on finding the ideal candidate to don Tarzan’s loincloth in the film. Among the actors who are said to be meeting with the director in the near future are Immortals star Henry Cavill (who plays Superman in next year’s Man of Steel), Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood, Battleship) and Sons of Anarchy lead Charlie Hunnam – who will be bumped up to leading man status in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim next summer. Tom Hardy (who’s attached to star in Cicero, whenever it happens) is reported to be on Warner Bros.’ wish-list, but there’s no indication yet as to whether or not the Dark Knight Rises alum is even interested.
Cavill, Skarsgård and Hunnam, as it were, are essentially all in the same boat. Each hunky actor has a solid fanbase, but needs that one major breakout role to become a full-fledged bankable lead. As far as how their acting chops compare, well, feel free to debate that in the comments section.
Skarsgård is the one of the above trio who does not yet have a blockbuster in his future; then again, Hunnam and Cavill already have healthy working relationships with Warner Bros. However, the latter’s ties to the Superman property might discourage the studio from letting Cavill lead two of its most lucrative franchises right off the bat. Bear in mind, things are just beginning to take shape on the new Tarzan movie, so it’s possible another actor altogether will eventually land the titular role.
More on David Yates’ Tarzan movie as the story develops.