Margot Robbie and Alexander Skarsgård star in The Legend of Tarzan as Jane and the former King of the Jungle this summer. We have your first look at both actors, courtesy of USA Today, and it's as steamy as you might expect. Though, from just these two images, you'd never guess that this reboot of the long-standing franchise is full of action and adventure. What we get here looks like a shiny bit of erotica that might play as part of Showtime's After Hours line-up. Or perhaps we'd find these two sweaty jungle dwellers on Cinemax.
David Yates, the man behind the lens of the last four Harry Potter movies, is directing The Legend of Tarzan. This next iteration of the series will still be based on the iconic Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, though it plays fast and loose with the original material. Yates sees this action-adventure as the perfect way to return American moviegoers to a wondrous version of Africa that is brimming with romance.
The Legend of Tarzan takes a decidedly different approach to the Tarzan seen in the 1930 Johnny Weissmuller movies, and it won't look like any other version seen in the various pop-culture adaptations throughout the years. When we first meet Tarzan, he is no longer a man being raised by simians in the jungle. John Clayton III, known as Lord Greystoke, will have been living in civilized society for over a decade since he was last seen in the Congo. He is now fully established as a British gentleman in 1880s Victorian London. And he is married to his beloved wife Jane, who is always by his side.
While he has left his African home behind, we do get a sense of his upbringing amongst the animals in flashback. He is often reminded of his earlier exploits and adventures. And when he gets invited back to the jungle as the emissary of Parliament, he finds himself hesitant to return to his former life. But he eventually agrees, stepping back into the world of the Congo, where he reunites with old friends. He soon finds that he and Jane are in danger. And thus, their next cliff-jumping, vine-swinging adventure kicks into high gear. Alexander Skarsgård had this to say about he movie.
"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."
The Legend of Tarzan cast also includes Djimon Hounsou as Chief Mbonga, Samuel L. Jackson as the true-life adventurer George Washington Williams and Christoph Waltz as the Belgian villain Captain Leon Rom. The movie does have a historical background, based somewhat on Belgium's King Leopold II. He was at once thought of as a philanthropist, but caused controversy, to say the least, when he conquered the Congo as his own colony in the 1880s. The man was responsible for killing millions in a mass genocide.
Margot Robbie's Jane is seen as a 21 Century take on the iconic character, who has always been heavily immersed within the Tarzan mythology. She is definitely a modern woman not used to swinging through the jungle. David Yates had this to say about this updated take on the role.
"[She's] in no way a passive partner to Tarzan. She's a really strong, assertive, beautifully knowledgeable, very sexy modern woman who can more than look after herself. In a way, it's a story of two human beings and how they save each other."
The director went onto discuss why Alexander Skarsgård is so perfect for the role. The actor is originally from Sweden, but made a name for himself in America, which mirrors Tarzan's own plight. Not to mention the fact that he is incredibly handsome and very tall at 6-foot-4. This is what the filmmaker had to say about his leading man.
"He has this wonderful quality of not quite belonging to one or the other [country]. Tarzan needs muscles, but it's more a leaner, longer, more vertical modern man than the square-jawed stereotype we're used to."
Africa is mentioned as a character all its own in The Legend of Tarzan. David Yates brought in his Harry Potter collaborator Stuart Craig to design the sets. Helping to capture the jungle flavor, the production utilized two hangars at an old English airplane factory. The buildings were transformed into sound stages that stretched 200 yards in length, and containing living trees and other vegetation. The massive sets also contained their own running water lakes and streams and various mountainous areas. The walls of the humongous hanger were draped in green screen for CGI backdrops to be added in later. The finished product is a mix of VFX and natural elements. It all adds up to make a rich, fully realized enviroment. You can take a look at Margot Robbie and Alexander Skarsgård in this lush local in this first two photos released.