With all the remakes and reboots of popular properties from decades past currently being made, there are, no doubt, efforts by filmmakers of all stripes to adapt those stories for modern audiences. Even if your tale will be told in the past, there is something to be said for bringing a character’s mind set into the current day a bit, to make them more accessible. And it looks like the new version of the Tarzan story, The Legend of Tarzan, will go for the same thing.
The film’s director, David Yates, spoke to USA Today about how Jane will differ from how we’ve come to know her in other popular versions of the Tarzan story:
[She is] 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.
Well, this is intriguing. The story still takes place in a time firmly known as the past, 1880s Victorian London, to be precise, but it’s clear the director didn’t want Jane (Margot Robbie) to take a backseat to Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) or take a backseat to the action of the film.
The Legend of Tarzan will not start at the typical human-king-of-the-jungle-discovered-by-explorers part of the story, but will, instead, deal with a Tarzan who’s already 10 years removed from his jungle life in the Congo. Tarzan (again known by his birth name and title, John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke) and Jane have been living happily together in London as husband and wife, when he gets called to work as an emissary of Parliament back in his old home. Adventure aplenty kicks off when Jane and old friends are put into danger.
Well, Margot Robbie seems to be just the right kind of actress for the role. Her star has been experiencing a meteoric rise in the last few years, with notable parts in films like The Wolf of Wall Street, Z for Zachariah, Focus, and in the highly anticipated Suicide Squad. She’s got the right combination of cool-headed charm and tough lady accessibility to make this part a dream fit for her. I can imagine her Jane as a polite London lady who can easily get down and dirty when the circumstances force her to.
It makes perfect sense that David Yates would want Jane to be a strong woman who gets in on the action. While Janes of the past would definitely fit into the sassy, spunky category of movie heroines, they, in fact, tended not to be very heroic. There was always a lot of peril that those ladies were in the middle of, and usually they talked a good game but really needed Tarzan to get out of any and all scrapes remotely unscathed.
So, will Margot Robbie's Jane be the badass that lovers of the Tarzan stories have wanted? We only have until July 1, 2016 to find out, when The Legend of Tarzan finally hits theaters.