Somewhere in the vicinity of eighty-nine Tarzan movies (or, rather, films with Tarzan in the title) have been produced by Hollywood since the early 20th century. So it’s not all that shocking that Warner Bros. is planning to revisit that well yet again and produce another motion picture based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ famous creation.
As it stands, the studio looks to recruit two different writers to begin work on a script for the new Tarzan flick – thus allowing for more leeway in terms of the direction of the project.
According to Deadline, Adam Cozad (whose blacklisted script Dubai was the basis for the upcoming Jack Ryan reboot) appears set to work on one prospective screenplay for the new Tarzan movie. Meanwhile, Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) will simultaneously craft his own script about the vine-swinging jungle man. If Warner Bros. approves both men’s visions, it’s possible that one script will be used immediately – and the other could be saved to serve as a template for a sequel.
Warner Bros. released the last live-action Tarzan flick (Tarzan and the Lost City) back in 1998, with Casper Van Dien playing the role of the iconic jungle warrior. That project was a critical and financial bust that seemingly left the franchise for dead – at least until a year later, when Disney struck gold with its traditionally-animated take on the character. All the same, there hasn’t been another Tarzan movie given a theatrical release since.
Updating classic literary and/or old-fashioned heroes for the big screen is all the rage in Hollywood nowadays. The minds behind upcoming flicks like Zorro Reborn or Lone Ranger have stated their intentions to vividly re-imagine the titular characters for the 21st century – though the approaches are rather different (a gritty vs. more whimsical and post-modern bent). Heck, even Miss Marple is going to be transformed from an elderly English woman into… well, Jennifer Garner, in Disney’s new film!
Warner Bros. will likely go the “gritty” route with Tarzan – that is, develop plans for a more “grounded” and realistic version of the character. One thing that can almost definitely be counted on is the new Tarzan movie being either conceived for or actually shot in 3D. Even Disney saw the potential for immersive vine-swinging sequences in its 1999 animated feature; that Tarzan pic integrated CGI jungle landscapes with hand-drawn animation to turn Tarzan into (basically) a tree surfer.
Check out what I mean by watching the “Son of Man” sequence (towards the end) in the clip below:
A 3D Tarzan movie could look pretty cool, especially if it was shot on location in a real jungle setting and mixed digital effects with footage of an actual stunt man swinging around (like what The Amazing Spider-Man is doing). On the other hand: is there really a strong desire or need to see yet another Tarzan movie at this point?
We’ll keep you posted on the status of the new Tarzan movie as more information is released.