Germany’s modern cinematic version of Tarzan includes evil corporations and sci-fi elements, as brought to life through wooden motion-capture performances and 3D; yet, director David Yates’ more traditional live-action rendition of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ ape-man (and his world) is the project that has struggled to get off the ground, curiously enough.
Okay, in reality the delay has more to do with Warner Bros. studio heads being concerned about the sizable budget proposed for Yates’ jungle adventure, more than anything to do with the creative side of business. Disney’s hefty investment on The Lone Ranger failed to pay off this year, which (if nothing else) goes to show: when it comes to nostalgic brands, you need to be sure the proper demand is there – especially when they have been around for a long time (and in many different forms).
Variety repots that Yates – best known for directing the well-received last four Harry Potter installments – and his collaborators put together a pre-viz presentation for Tarzan (ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday), which impressed studio heads and has increased the likelihood of a green-light being given in the foreseeable future. Moreover, having the production start date pushed back to sometime in 2014 has allowed Samuel L. Jackson to re-initiate negotiations to join the cast – after Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) circled the role in question, upon Jackson stepping aside due to a scheduling conflict.
The reported story for Tarzan – from the most recent script draft by Adam Cozad (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) – has the eponymous vine-swinging stud, a.k.a. John Clayton III (played by True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgård), returning to the Africa jungle, where he joins forces with an ex-mercenary (Jackson) in order to stop a warlord from exploiting a massive diamond mine for his own personal gain. Jackson’s Django Unchained costar, Christoph Waltz, is in talks to portray the aforementioned villain.
Jessica Chastain (Interstellar), Emma Stone (Magic in the Moonlight) and Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) have all been linked to the role of Jane at some point, but currently it looks as though Robbie is the top choice – with an offer soon to be made. The actress has been earning top marks for her role in Martin Scorsese’s examination of stockbroker corruption (ahead of the film’s release), so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Robbie ends up striking a deal to play Tarzan’s love interest.
That said: plot elements from Yates’ Tarzan – the buddy premise, a villain pillaging the untarnished environment – are reminiscent of Disney’s Lone Ranger, enough so to raise question about how well the setup will play out in a different genre context. Let us know what you think about the project thus far (casting, story, etc.), in the comments section of this article.
We’ll keep you posted on the status of Tarzan as more information becomes available.