Last we wrote about this a year ago, Craig Brewer, who was originally set to direct, was no longer attached, despite the fact that he called it a “passion project” for him, with the plan being to tell the Tarzan story in a trilogy; and finally, he had this to say, with regards to the potentially explosive racial subtext in the material…
“I don’t want to give too much away of what I’m doing, but that is something I have thought about, and something I am addressing, and I can just say that “Tarzan” is a love story really, the movie I want to tell, that’s on the backdrop of this adventure, where Tarzan has to reconnect to his love, Jane, and to Africa itself. I know there’s probably going to be some concerns, in terms of racial attitudes toward the original films, and towards the books, but it’s territory that I’ve been in before… I don’t want to say I’m comfortable in it, because I think it’s best to stay a little uncomfortable, and be mindful of things that need to be sensitive, but I think it’s important to tell a great story from one of the most famous literary characters of all time.”
A year later, David Yates (director of 4 Harry Potter movies) is now attached to direct the adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ creation, which saw Tarzan raised in the “Jungles of Africa among the great apes,” after his British parents are marooned on the West coast of the continent by mutineers.
Variety says that plot details are still underwraps at the moment, so we don’t yet know how exactly this new film will handle the source material, whether it’ll be true to the novel, or whether it’ll be more of a contemporary take on the novel, and Tarzan is instead an Indiana Jones type of character?
Warner Bros has tapped Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) to star as the title character, with Samuel L. Jackson in talks to co-star to play a character named George Washington Williams, an ex-mercenary who teams up with Tarzan to save the Congo from a warlord who controls a massive diamond mine. At least, that was the description given last year.
Assuming this is still the case, and this is still the role Samuel L. Jackson is in talks for, it’s to be noted that George Washington Williams is a real life historical figure who was a Civil War veteran, and is maybe best known as the author of History of the Negro Race in America, widely considered the first objective history of African Americans. In addition to being an author, Williams was also a pastor, attorney and legislator, as the first African American to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives.
His Congo connection in real life? He is said to have visited the country when it was controlled by Belgian King Leopold II, and was outspoken on the suffering the indigenuous people were experiencing under Leopold’s rule – a humanitarian disaster that saw the death’s of millions, which Williams would report on.
This was all in the late 1800s to early 1900s.
Williams could star in a movie all his own.
Jamie Foxx was apparently also in consideration for the role, but there were some scheduling difficulties.
Christoph Waltz is also on board the project.
This new Tarzan is being produced by Jerry Weintraub, Alan Riche, Peter Riche, Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg of Dark Horse Entertainment.