[UPDATE: The Legend of Tarzan poster is now online!]
Warner Bros. Pictures is bringing Tarzan back to the big screen in 2016, with a film that is now officially titled The Legend of Tarzan. Author Edgar Rice Burroughs created the Tarzan character in the 1910s; the legendary ape-man would go on to be featured in numerous books and movies alike throughout the 20th Century, thereafter. Most recently, he appeared on the big screen in the 1999 Tarzan 2D animated feature film by Disney and the 2013 motion-capture Tarzan 3D movie.
However, the ape-man hasn't headlined a proper live-action film since the box office bomb Tarzan and the Lost City, back in 1998. Nevertheless, WB hopes to revive interest in the Tarzan brand with Legend of Tarzan, having invested a reported $180 million into the movie and recruited several name actors to headline the jungle action/adventure - including, Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) and Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) as John Clayton III/Tarzan and Jane Porter, respectively - to further help the cause.
Legend of Tarzan, as written by Adam Cozad (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) and directed by David Yates (the final four Harry Potter films), picks up in 1880s Victorian London, where Tarzan has spent the last decade living with his wife Jane - having previously been raised by apes in the jungle, of course.
Tarzan heads back to the Congo to serve as the emissary for the British parliament, only to come face to face with a new enemy: the Belgian Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), a villain loosely inspired by Belgium King Leopold II (who exploited the Congo region and contributed to a mass genocide there in the late 19th century). Other key players in the narrative include Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy) as African Chief Mbonga and Samuel L. Jackson as real-life American Civil War veteran George Washington Williams, who joins forces with Tarzan in the film to save the day.
Skarsgård described the setup for Legend of Tarzan as follows, when interviewed by USA Today:
“It’s almost the opposite of the classic tale, where it’s about taming the beast. This is about a man who’s holding back and slowly as you peel off the layers, he reverts back to a more animalistic state and lets that side of his personality out.”
You can get your first look at Skarsgård and Robbie in Legend of Tarzan via the images below, ahead of the release of the first trailer (which has already been classified):
Yates, much as he and production designer Stuart Craig did before on the Harry Potter films, combined practical sets with green screens/CGI to create the 19th century Congo jungle in Legend of Tarzan. The movie was thus partially filmed at onetime English airplane factories that have been turned into sound-stages featuring actual trees, foliage, and running water (among other things). This is a different from how director Jon Favreau created the jungle backdrops for his 2016 movie adaptation of The Jungle Book (which in turn features predominantly CGI scenery), but Yates explained the reasoning behind his approach to USA Today as follows:
“A lot of movies, you have to go to the far reaches of the galaxy to find extraordinary beauty and amazing things, [but] they’re right here on the planet. They exist just a few thousand miles away.”
UPDATE: WB has released the poster for The Legend of Tarzan. Have a look at it, below:
As indicated before, though, it remains to be seen whether or not the Tarzan brand is still a viable one in the 21st century, as far as box office performance is concerned. After all, the franchise was already a bit dated back in the 1990s, so Legend of Tarzan already has its work cut out for it - as far as the task of convincing the moviegoing masses that the Tarzan franchise isn't outdated goes. Indeed, some have already predicted that Yates' Tarzan movie is in danger of following in the footsteps of WB and Joe Wright's costly Pan, should its trailers fail to impress and convince enough people that another Tarzan film is something they will want to check out.
... Of course, just one kick-ass trailer for Legend of Tarzan would put some of those fears to rest. Said teaser is expected to debut in theaters with WB's In the Heart of the Sea this weekend, so check back here on Screen Rant soon to watch it!
The Legend of Tarzan opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2016.
Source: USA Today