Today we got to catch a fairly long look at the upcoming David Yates movie the Legend of Tarzan – to call it an epic would probably be an understatement.
The stunning visuals, excellent casting in the form of Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L Jackson, and sheer scale of the production look like it will prove to be a hit with audiences when the movie eventually swings into cinemas on July 8. It’s no surprise that the studio and writers are already planning a sequel…
“We have an outline which we’re very excited about,” revealed David Yates at the end of a London press conference. Alexander Skarsgard quickly chimed in: “Yeah it’s called Tarzan gains weight, or Tarzan eats cake. I wrote it!” The strict diet and training regime to develop Tarzan’s jaw dropping abs was clearly quite intense for poor Alex.
But apart from the gruelling diet and training, what was it like for Alex and Margot to step into the roles of Tarzan and Jane? At the London press conference GT asked if they felt daunted taking on two of the most famous roles in movie history.
“These guys handled the material so well that, if it had ended up in the wrong hands, it could have come off cheesy,” Margot explained. “It wasn’t like reinventing the wheel, I wasn’t worried about all the previous performances, I was just worried about; ‘Will we make the film with the correct tone?’ I missed a lot of the earlier viersion of Tarzan, so I didn’t have that stuck in my head then, thank goodness. I think I had just the Disney animated version, so I didn’t feel bad about re-doing the cartoon.”
In fact it was a delight for Alex, who told us that the role was quite personal for him and his family: “My Dad was, and is, a massive Tarzan fan,” he explained.
“When he was a kid, every Saturday, he would go to to the matinée and watch Johnny Weissmuller on the big screen. And growing up he’d have these VHS cassettes that we’d watch, so that was my introduction to the character, and how I fell in love with Tarzan and that world. That was 70 years ago when those movies came out, so I wasn’t too daunted to be honest with you.
“Tonally it’s so different, the take on the story and the character – It didn’t feel like I was taking over from someone who did it two years ago, that everyone loved. So much time has passed. I’ll never compete with Johnny Weissmuller, but I just wanted to impress my father. He was more excited than I was!”
Director David Yates went on to talk about how Alex was the perfect choice for the role. He knew “really early on,” that it had to be Alex. “Finding a really good actor with a really good body is actually quite tricky,” David explained to the press conference.
“Someone who can act really brilliantly, which Alex can, but who also look fantastic without any clothes on… That combination is difficult to find. And Alex has both of those… Gifts.
“Because we were reinventing and recreating this character for a new audience, the Tarzan in my head was tall and vertical and had real length… So to speak. And I love Alex’s verticality, his poise, his grace and I felt that Tarzan in the past always felt really wide and square. We need someone to be an English lord with poise, and yet swing through the jungle and be amazingly dexterous in a very natural environment.”
But what about the footage itself? Well, from what we could see it looks like it’s going to be a hugely entertaining, popcorn chomping Saturday night movie. The action scenes between the excellent animated animals and Tarzan looks incredible and have the wright of a gorilla’s fist behind them. From the stunning wide shots of the jungle, to the incredibly personal moments between Tarzan and Jane, you can see David Yates’ excellent direction shine through. There’s even a scene where Christoph Waltz sits at a table and monologues in an evil manner, something almost every movie featuring Christoph Waltz seems to include.
Overall, we leave the press conference with high hopes for the legend of Tarzan. Of course the proof will always be in the final product.
The Legend of Tarzan swings into cinemas on July 8 in the UK and July 1 in the US.