The requirements for playing Tarzan aren't especially lengthy, but they are stringent. You must have excellently defined muscles. You must look half decent in a long, stringy wig. And you must be able to bellow the iconic Tarzan scream, preferably while swinging from vines and also wearing a loincloth.
Is Los Angeles completely overrun with hunky beefcakes who fit that description? Sure. But not many of them are famous enough to sell a movie, which is how the search for the new Tarzan seems to have finally narrowed down to a certain toned True Blood star. Variety reports that Nordic god Alexander Skarsgard is now the frontrunner to star in Tarzan, which is being developed at Warner Bros. with Harry Potter director David Yates behind it. Variety says that Skarsgard is Yates's personal choice, but he doesn't yet have an offer and the studio hasn't finalized any decisions-- which means the studio could potentially turn down Skarsgard in favor of someone more famous, or more jungle-looking, or something else completely inexplicable.
In addition, Samuel L. Jackson is being considered for another major role, as a Civil War veteran "eager to redeem himself for his part in the massacre of the Native Americans." He joins Tarzan-- who has left the jungle he was raised in and is now living in England-- to travel to investigate the Congo and save it from a warlord in control of a large diamond mine. Given that the assignment comes from Queen Victoria, this Tarzan will be taking place at the height of British colonialism, which has the potential to dredge up a whole lot of ugly history and racial conflicts-- it makes sense to bring in Jackson as a potential counterbalance to depictions of Africans living in the jungles of Congo.
But Tarzan is being assembled as a giant tentpole, so you can guarantee they'll sidestep as much controversy as possible in order to appeal to the widest audience imaginable. I'm still skeptical that the Tarzan story can be sold to a modern audience, but at the very least, Samuel L. Jackson is worth watching in most anything.
Staff Writer at CinemaBlend
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