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.

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).

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

Source: The New York Post