Jessica Chastain is Wanted to Play Jane in David Yates’ ‘Tarzan’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 6th, 2013 at 11:14 am,

Jessica Chastain Zero Dark Thirty Jessica Chastain is Wanted to Play Jane in David Yates Tarzan

Warner Bros. entrusted David Yates with directing four Harry Potter installments, so it makes sense that the studio would bring him back to revitalize the Tarzan movie franchise (which dates back to the silent film era, beginning with Tarzan of the Apes in 1918). Last we head, studio heads were eying a Summer 2013 production start date for a 2014 theatrical release; that’s to say, it’s about time we got an update on casting.

Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) is the favored actor, in terms of contenders to play the latest cinematic version of author Edgar Rice Burroughs’ ape-man. Meanwhile, Samuel L. Jackson is heavily rumored for an important supporting role and Jessica Chastain’s name has reportedly entered the conversation about who should portray Tarzan’s lady-love Jane.

The New York Post isn’t exactly the most reliable of sources, but its claim that Chastain is “the first choice to play Jane” isn’t so far-fetched. The actress rang in the new year by headlining the successful horror flick Mama and landing an Oscar nod for her leading role in Zero Dark Thirty (which also won her a Golden Globe). Similarly, after her work in films like Take Shelter, The Tree of Life, The Help, The Debt and Lawless, no one can reasonably dispute that Chastain is a versatile and skilled actress whose career is steadily on the rise.

In other words: you don’t need inside access or information to rationally argue that Chastain is someone who must be on Warner Bros. and Yates’ radar – not when it concerns the role of Tarzan’s eloquent and sophisticated love interest, anyway.

tarzan david yates gary ross Jessica Chastain is Wanted to Play Jane in David Yates Tarzan

Chastain has recently been appearing in a Broadway production of “The Heiress” and is tapped to headline Liv Ullmann’s Miss Julie (starring opposite Colin Farrell), but it doesn’t seem impossible that she could find time for another period-drama role this year. Indeed, it’s not altogether clear how significant the role of Jane is going to be in the new Tarzan movie, based on the following unofficial synopsis:

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.

It’s conceivable that Jane will be tagging alongside Tarzan and Williams (the role SLJ is eying), though it’s also feasible the script from Adam Cozad (Jack Ryan) is foremost a boys-only adventure. One assumes that if someone like Chastain does, in fact, show any interest in the project, it’s a sign that Jane has been upgraded from the traditional damsel-in-distress to more of a proto-feminist character (even more so than she was in Disney’s animated Tarzan flick released in 1999).


Expect some official Tarzan casting announcements in the forthcoming months, as we move closer to Summer 2013.


Source: The New York Post

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Tarzan
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Sounds like a good setup for a man struggling to get back in touch with his roots. A lot of opportunity for character drama here.

    • But also it has to have great action, character, plot, and visual effects. My expectations are growing at this point.

    • Who’s Sam Jackson playing? Cheeta?

  2. Chastain has made it quite clear that her interest in acting is not to repeat a role, but stretch her talents and expand her horizons as an actress; given that edict, “Jane” would certainly appeal to her.

    I’ve written in depth on my blog, concerning a modern approach in adapting the character of Tarzan for the screen. It appears from the synopsis that those old tropes for telling the legend are being avoided in light of the social, political and racial issues of the Congo as well as that African nation’s rabid exploitation.

    And yet…this storyline, here presented, seems like a generic action-adventure film (re: BLOOD DIAMOND) simply given the “Tarzan” brand.

    Lots of dramatic possibilities (if written well) but will this meet the fans’ expectations? I wonder.

  3. I hope Jessica Chastain can fake an English accent (I won’t doubt it as she’s a great actor), because I’ll be disappointed if they drop Jane’s British heritage all together (I grew up with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic series so this is somewhat important to me, lol). Alexander is good in True Blood, not great.

    • Jane is American in the books.

  4. I like both the Actress and the Director, so yeah im all for it!

  5. That actually does sound like an interesting premise for a film. Chastain would make a perfect Jane, I think.

  6. This sounds like it could be a lot of fun cast sonds awesome so far let’s have it I say

  7. I see Amy Adams and Rachel McAdams making a better Jane.

    • OMG that would McAdams would be fantastic

      • I like both choices because they are both of some of my favorites… but sadly Amy Adams is already in the “Man of Steel”. And if the movie spawns a sequel there might be scheduling or contract conflicts.

        Rachael is also a good choice too, but I say let Jessica Chastain have her chance to see how she handles the role.

  8. Chastain can swing on my vine anytime. Yes, put her in. However, as fine and enjoyable of an actor as Jackson is, why do they need him in there? In the original book, I do not recall any black characters except natives. (No, I am not biased in the least; it just seems that every time I turn around, there is either a character having his race turned to a black guy, or characters who were not in the original concept, and who happen to be black, are getting written into a part. Well, I am part Danish, Welsh, Scottish, and English, and born in America. How about a Danish guy? Or a Welshman, etc.?). I am not biased, discriminatory, or anything else. But neither do I feel the original sources should be changed just to satisfy someone’s discriminatory racial ideal of integration at all costs. Would you want Malcolm X or Martin Luther King to be played by a white guy? How about Michael Jackson, Black Panther, or Luke Cage? It is probably just as reverse-discrimination to add these parts as to say Jackson could have a suitable part as a savage native cooking a missionary for dinner in his stew-pot, and dressed with a bone stuck in his hair. All this liberal stuff is unfair to the original source material, yet they are the first to squawck if they don’t get their way.

    • I see what you are trying to say, but the some of the audience, and/or critics will argue that the depiction of the minority characters (in this case African-Americans) might be too “racist” and “discriminating”. Also Warner Bros wants to touch all kinds of audiences nowadays so that there is more success in the script quality, and the box office.

      I think Samuel L. Jackson is an interesting yet good choice.

    • Dude… Ethnic people should be excluded from the Tarzan universe because they were never in the books unless they were rascist charicatures? That’s honestly really dumb to exclude a whole ethnic group just because YOU don’t like seeing them… I doubt there interested in SLJ because he’s black maybe they’re interested in him because he’s a good actor and they don’t want to let bigotry get in the way of a good story.. This is like the edris Elba/James bond thing all over again