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.”