The Serious Physical Work That Alexander Skarsgard Had To Do For The Legend Of Tarzan

In this day and age, visual effects can be used to do pretty much anything – from impossible creatures to entire cities. Because of this, you’d think that the amount of vine swinging actually done by Alexander Skarsgard for the new movie The Legend of Tarzan would be kept to a minimum – given that it would be simple to just render a digital version of the actor to move through the treetops. This, however, wasn’t the case on director David Yates’ set, as the star did a lot of his own stunts – even sometimes carrying one of his co-stars on his back.

Last week at CinemaCon – the annual convention held in Las Vegas for theater owners – I got to talk with Alexander Skarsgard on a press line for a few minutes, and among the topics discussed was the actual amount of vine swinging that he did in the making of The Legend of Tarzan. While I admittedly expected him to say that he left that part up to the digital artists, he actually surprised me by saying the complete opposite, and telling me that he was joined in the physical effort by the man who happened to be standing right to his left at the time. Said Skarsgard,

I did quite a bit [of vine swinging], actually. There’s obviously a lot of green screen in the movie, but we did a lot of vine swinging – together with [Samuel L. Jackson], actually. With him on my back!

Sadly we don’t yet have any footage of Samuel L. Jackson flying through the jungle on Alexander Skarsgard’s back just yet, but the trailers that we’ve seen for The Legend of Tarzan have certainly featured a lot of the titular character speedily swinging through the trees. Give the trailer below a look and see if you can spot the differences between real vine swinging and the CGI stuff:

Continuing the story of Edgar Rice Burroughs' famous jungle man, The Legend Of Tarzan picks up years after the adventure audiences are already familiar with, and finds Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) living the life of a normal man in London. Unfortunately, the jungle winds up calling when he is asked to help investigate practices of a mining camp that has set up in his former home. In addition to Skarsgard and Samuel L. Jackson, the impressive supporting cast also includes Margot Robbie, John Hurt, Christoph Waltz, Jim Broadbent and Djimon Hounsou. Look for the film in theaters on July 1st.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.