‘Tarzan’ Production Offices Shut Down; Filming Pushed Back to 2014?

Published 2 years ago by

tarzan david yates gary ross Tarzan Production Offices Shut Down; Filming Pushed Back to 2014?

Warner Bros. has been working hard to get a new live-action Tarzan movie into production, going back to two years ago when the studio hired screenwriter Adam Cozad (Jack Ryan) and filmmaker Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Footloose (2011)) to write separate scripts.

The studio eventually decided to move forward with Cozad’s screenplay, attaching David Yates (the last four Harry Potter movies) to direct and eying True Blood actor Alexander Skarsgård to play the famous man-ape, opposite Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain as the prim and proper Jane, and possibly Samuel L. Jackson in an important supporting role.

Filming was expected to begin this summer, but Deadline has learned that WB is (for the time being) closing the production offices for the project. It’s possible that a combination of incomplete casting and bad timing contributed to the studio’s decision, as none of the aforementioned actors have formally committed to Yates’ new take on Tarzan yet; indeed, in recent interviews, Skarsgård has been pretty vague about his involvement, telling Crave Online “It’s a really, really good script but it’s also a very big movie so it’s not super easy to just get a project like that off the ground.”

alexander skarsgard tarzan Tarzan Production Offices Shut Down; Filming Pushed Back to 2014?

Alexander Skarsgård was eyed to play ‘Tarzan’

Meanwhile, Chastain recently joined the cast of Guillemo del Toro’s Crimson Peak (which begins shooting in early 2014), and Deadline is reporting that WB has been looking at Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx – who is working on Amazing Spider-Man 2 right now - for the role that Jackson circled last year. In other words, a Summer 2013 start date might’ve been wishful thinking, as far as getting all of these people together goes; not to mention, giving everyone the proper amount of time to prepare for their roles.

It sounds like the other major factor holding up progress on Tarzan is the budget, as (not surprisingly) WB is reported to not be comfortable with current estimates for the high-cost period adventure tentpole. The studio hasn’t been afraid to hit the brakes on its “risky” big-budget projects Arthur & Lancelot and Akira over the past year, based on a lack of confidence in the films’ box office prospects.

After all, you have to remember: the Tarzan live-action movie franchise has been around for a century, but the most recent installment was the 1998 feature Tarzan and the Lost City, which only took in $2 million at the U.S. box office (not kidding) – and while Yates’ version would (definitely? Hopefully?) bring in a larger box office haul, WB has all the more reason to plan ahead so they don’t end up with a John Carter-sized financial debacle on its hands (indeed, it seems that movies based on author Edgar Rich Burroughs’ literature are very much not in style right now).

john carter 4 570x238 Tarzan Production Offices Shut Down; Filming Pushed Back to 2014?

Taylor Kitsch in ‘John Carter’

However, WB is abandoning all hope for a new Tarzan installment just yet, as the studio is apparently keeping Yates around and (according to insiders) hopes to get all the casting and budgeting wrinkles smoothed in a timely fashion that allows for the cameras to begin rolling sometime in 2014 instead.

One possible scenario is that WB and Yates spend the next several months getting the cost down to a more approachable size, much like Disney and the filmmakers on The Lone Ranger did back in 2011 – by trimming the estimated $250 million budget down to a “manageable” $215 million (still ridiculous, I know), which then allowed shooting to begin during the first quarter of 2012.

That similar project – a modern blockbuster re-fashioning of a told-and-retold tale – has become one of the most anticipated 2013 Summer movies, and that’s despite a whole lot of controversy and production woes that Tarzan shouldn’t have to deal with. Hence, there’s hope yet that we’ll get to see Yates’ version of that quintessential vine-swinging jungle man realized on the big screen (assuming no one decides to reboot George of the Jungle first, anyway).


We’ll keep you updated on Tarzan as more information becomes available.

Source: Deadline, Crave Online

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Tarzan
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  1. This does not bode well for WB.

  2. Who cares for a Tarzan movie at this day and age anyway? If you wanna get rid of your money just send it to me, Warner Bros.!

    • I would. If its done correctly, I’m sure other people would too. Please don’t be so assuming about people’s interest in films in the future

      • I didn’t assume anything. Assumptions are usually statements. I was asking a question, as indicated by the question mark.

        Other than that: I really would like Warner Bros. to send me their money.

        • Sounded rhetorical to me. If it wasn’t, I apologize.


      I am a Edgard Rice Burroughs fans….Hmmph


      • DAMN IT


      • +1 Here’s another.

  3. I don’t think this tells us nearly as much about the Tarzan movie as it does about just how disorganized and screwed up WB really is. They truly need some people in place over there that know what they’re doing. They are wrecking my favorite DC properties, now this mess. I mean get a clue already. They’re going to have to spend a lot to make a big blockbuster and clearly they’re afraid to do it on big movies (Tarzan, JL). Then when they do spend huge cash, they do it on bombs like Green Lantern, or Superman Returns. They have no clue what they are doing.

    • Weren’t you trolling a little while ago about how MARVEL is better then DC?

      • By the sound of it, I’d guess he loves DC but prefers the Marvel Studios movies as being more faithful and more entertaining than the WB/DC efforts.

      • @ Blarth

        No sir I was not.

        Dazz has it correct. I love DC, (and Marvel) it’s WB I blame for DC’s woes. I’m praying that MoS is good and kicks off a series of CBM’s for DC like Iron Man did for Marvel, but the blockheads at WB don’t seem to want that to happen.

      • @Blarh

        Stark…a Troll?


        The man stays true to his convictions.

        • @ Jeff W

          Thank you sir for recognizing that.

  4. Anything north of $200,000,000 for a tentpole has (unfortunately) become the “new normal” for a Hollywood budget; the studios tend to overpay and/or waste considerable amounts of money. (re: WORLD WAR Z)

    News of casting seem more like a wish-list than based on the actors’ availability; and, say, they were available, then the issue may appear to be that script Screen Rant reported on (summarized) and I commented on as more a BLOOD DIAMOND action-adventure than a Tarzan of the Apes.

    JOHN CARTER failed to meet expectations due to its bloated budget and an “impossible” script; even a child (nowadays) knows Mars is not freely inhabitable by humans…a dumb-ass choice with undisciplined spending. That movie is actually more an anomaly than an analogy.

    Final thought: Craig Brewer may well be to Tarzan what Joss Whedon has become to Wonder Woman for Warner Bros. — a grand error in judgment.

    • Thing is, I saw John Carter for the first time last month and while I bought into the story (it is a movie after all), my only problems with it were the movie going on way too long for what it was supposed to be, things within the plot seeming to move way too fast (he married the princess after maybe an hour of knowing her on screen with only one or two stolen glances towards each other during that time), the implausibility of the ending (how much time had supposedly passed between him coming back and him returning to Mars?) but most of all….just a boring plot with dialog that just couldn’t keep me interested.

      Otherwise, it was on the level of The Avengers, X-Men: First Class or Green Lantern in terms of spectacle and something to watch to pass the time as background noise while you drift in and out of it an don’t have to engage yourself or invest in the story.

  5. I would actually love to see a Tarzan movie, especially if it is close to the books.

    I liked John Carter to, I’m still not sure why people didn’t. Maybe it’s because I read the novel copy of the movie before I watched it and it made more sense to me?

    • I really loved the movie as well. It wasn’t a deep or thought pervoking movie or anything, but it was just so much fun!

  6. The new head of WB is going to pinch the pennies till he sees something profitable.

    Man of Steel, might be in the worst summer for a premiere, there are movies before it, and movies after that might drawn fire from Man of Steel.

    So the question is, Does Superman really matter to the masses who are not Superman fans?

    • @ Jeff W

      Excellent points and great questions. We will soon find out.

    • I wouldn’t call myself a Superman fan by any stretch of the imagination. I haven’t read a single Superman comic, because that overpowered character in a ridiculous costume never interested me. Having said that, I do really like the first two Superman movies with Christopher Reeves, I do like Superman Returns a lot as well and Man of Steel is one of my most anticipated movies this year, simply because the trailers looked so awesome. It’s all in the presentation, as shallow as it might sound. Superman and his peers don’t interest me as characters, but incredible images paired with an incredible soundtrack just do it for me. Man of Steel will deliver that, I’m sure.

  7. peter Jackson should do this.

  8. When they first started talking about this the talk was they were going to do a version of Tarzan Of The Apes or the first book. I read it again after many year (Grade school). Granted there would have to be a lot of updates (Especially in the race relations department since you can’t show the reality of the times in anything other than a documentarty anymore or the PC police will launch an attack), but it could be done very well.

    In the book Tarzan doen’t speak any human language for about half the book, and then the first language he does learn is French so there’s have to be some adjustments there too or you’d have a lot of narration. In Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) Christopher Lambert actually did a fair job of Tarzan at the time he first came into contact with white humans like himself (Prior to that his only human contact was with black humans and that was confusing because he realized he wasn’t ape, but he didn’t really fit as human either because of his skin pigment)

    I’d like to see a movie that really does show a boy Tarzan grow up to be lord of the apes and eventually adjust to being man, but with a wild animal side still in him like the book. I don’t recall ever seeing a Tarzan movie that dealt with him growing up with the apes and earning the respect of the bulls as a worthy bull himself. With today’s CG they could pull it off really well

  9. Author: Jeff W
    The new head of WB is going to pinch the pennies till he sees something profitable.

    Man of Steel, might be in the worst summer for a premiere, there are movies before it, and movies after that might drawn fire from Man of Steel.

    So the question is, Does Superman really matter to the masses who are not Superman fans?

    @Jeff W

    You’ve avoided the myopia with a very clear observation of movie-going audiences, especially in full view of other films competing for their precious and limited entertainment dollars.

  10. It appears to me that mankind is living in a world of make-believe, myself included