Sneak peek: ‘Tarzan’ puts a twist on a legend
Lots of action, adventure and apes are on tap for the next incarnation of the iconic Edgar Rice Burroughs character played by Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) in The Legend of Tarzan (in theaters July 1). And for director David Yates, it was a way to return moviegoers to a wondrous Africa in a properly romantic way.
“They haven’t been there for an awfully long time,” says Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter films.
Legend takes a different approach to Tarzan than Burroughs’ 1910s writings, the 1930s Johnny Weissmuller movies and other pop-culture adaptations that focused on the man being raised by simians and becoming lord of the jungle. Instead, the movie finds John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, a decade removed from his home in the Congo and fully entrenched as a British gentleman in 1880s Victorian London, with his beloved wife Jane (Margot Robbie) by his side.
He’s left his African home behind — his early days are seen in flashbacks — but is constantly reminded of his earlier exploits and gets invited back as an emissary of Parliament. While hesitant at first, Tarzan eventually returns to the Congo, old friends as well as Jane are put in serious danger, and his latest cliff-jumping, vine-swinging story kicks off from there.
“It’s almost the opposite of the classic tale, where it’s about taming the beast,” says Skarsgård, 39. “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.”
Jack McBrayer and Alexander Skarsgard Get Chilly For Climate Change
The actors, IRL friends, boarded a Greenpeace boat and went to the Arctic to make a Funny Or Die series.
Actors Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) and Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) are unlikely pals, as evidenced by their recent nine-day journey to the Arctic on a Greenpeace boat. The two—who are IRL friends—partnered with Funny Or Die to shoot a comedy series that follows their travels through one of the coldest places on Eartth. The idea is to highlight the pressing climate change issue and build support for Greenpeace’s “Save the Arctic” campaign, which aims to create a wildlife sanctuary in international waters around the North Pole and end to oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. In the series, which premieres today, McBrayer and Skarsgard may be at odds with one another. But in conversation, the two come across like best pals.
Esquire: Were you guys friends before making this?
Jack McBrayer: Nope. Still aren’t.
Alexander Skarsgard: Well, we were before, but not so much anymore. We were incredibly close until we spent nine days together on a boat in bunk beds.
JM: He saw the worst of Jack McBrayer. He saw Jack McBrayer’s insides.
AS: I saw the inside of Jack McBrayer. And I got to smell the inside of Jack McBrayer.
How was this project pitched to you?
JM: I knew some people over at Funny Or Die and when they were talking about this project with Greenpeace one of my friends over there was like “You know what? Jack McBrayer hates the cold. Let’s send Jack to the North Pole!” I knew I could only do this if I had a buddy with me, and it turns out that Alex was interested. I figured he was so busy, but as soon as I sent the email I got back “YES!” And I was like “Oh no, what have I done?”
What made you say yes to Jack so quickly?
AS: Well, I’ve been a member of Greenpeace since I was a teenager. It was such an amazing opportunity to go up there and learn more about the campaign. And Jack and I are friends from Los Angeles and I’ve been trying to get him to come visit me in Sweden or travel. He’s very happy at his pool in Los Angeles and I was very happy when he said “I’ll consider traveling and going on a little adventure.”
JM: That is true. Alex is inherently adventurous. He’s been to the South Pole. This was just another trophy on his shelf. And it’s just not in my DNA. I just don’t have wanderlust.
Why does a comedy video series make sense for a serious subject like global warming?
JM: A lot of times we associate Greenpeace and climate change and shrinking polar caps with heavy-handed, weighty material. It’s somber stuff. But with Funny Or Die we thought we could put an interesting take on it. Make it a little more palatable, especially for young people who tune into the website.
AS: That was beautifully put, Jack.
JM: Thank you. I love you.
Alex, as someone who has traveled a lot what did you find compelling about this particular trip?
AS: I was really blown away by the crew members. It was such an amazing experience to be able to spend nine days on a boat with these Greenpeace people. Some of them were scientists and some were crew members working on the ship. Just to hear their stories, like what drew them to Greenpeace in the first place and what they’ve been through. Every single second of the day they work to save the planet, which makes me as an actor feel quite insignificant.
JM: And meanwhile here we are like “Hey, we’re going to do some funny videos on an ice floe so if y’all could stop the boat for a few hours we’d appreciate that.”
Will you continue working with Greenpeace?
JM: If they have me back. I left a great deal of vomit on their boat so our relationship may be over.
AS: But it was all organic.
JM: Yeah, it helped the Arctic.
Paul Rudd, Alexander Skarsgard to Star in Duncan Jones’ Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Mute’
Lotus Entertainment has come on board to handle international sales starting at the upcoming AFM
Paul Rudd (“Ant-Man”) and Alexander Skarsgard (“Tarzan”) are set to star in Duncan Jones‘ sci-fi thriller “Mute,” it was announced Tuesday.
Set in Berlin 40 years from now, “Mute” follows Leo Beiler (Skarsgard), a mute bartender who has one reason and one reason only for living here — and she’s disappeared. But when Leo’s search takes him deeper into the city’s underbelly, an odd pair of American surgeons (led by Rudd) seem to be the only recurring clue, and Leo can’t tell if they can help, or who he should fear most.
“Mute” is based on a script by Jones and Mike Johnson that was recently rewritten by Damon Peoples. The film will be produced by Stuart Fenegan under the Liberty Films banner he shares with Jones.
Lotus Entertainment has come on board to handle international sales at the upcoming AFM. CAA, which arranged financing for the film, is handling its domestic sale.
Lotus’ Bill Johnson, Jim Seibel, and Ara Keshishian will serve as executive producers on the film, which is slated to start production in March. Keshishian, the president of production at Lotus, negotiated the deal on behalf of the company.
“I’ve been working towards making ‘Mute’ for 12 years now. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that we’re finally going to shoot this utterly unique film. The fact that I get to make it with Alexander Skarsgard and Paul Rudd makes it all the more exciting! ‘Mute’ is a film that will last. It is unlike any other science fiction being made today,” Jones boasted.
“We’re very excited to work with Duncan and Stuart. They are an immensely talented team that will surely deliver an exciting and cinematic film. Director Duncan Jones is a true visionary filmmaker and the real deal. It’s his caliber of talent that makes storytelling both visually exciting and captivating,” Seibel said.
“Bill, Jim and Ara share the same passion I do for building another vision of the future with Duncan. I look forward to going on this journey with them, and also reuniting with Sam Rockwell and composer Clint Mansell … can’t do sci-fi without Sam and Clint,” added Fenegan.
Skarsgard recently wrapped production on David Yates‘ “Tarzan” for Warner Bros. and is represented by CAA. Rudd just completed “Captain America: Civil War” for Disney/Marvel and is represented by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Alex attended a Q&A for The Diary of a Teenage Girl during day three of the 18th Annual Savannah Film Festival Presented by SCAD in Savannah, Georgia (October 26).
Public Appearances > 2015 > October 26: SCAD Presents 18th Annual Savannah Film Festival – “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” Q&A