DIRECTED by David Yates, “The Legend of Tarzan” is a reimagining of American author Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic creation in an all-new action adventure for the big screen.
According to Yates, the film isn’t telling an origin story. It is set years after Tarzan has left the jungles of Africa behind.
“It’s not Tarzan as you know it,” Yates says. “It’s not a bloke in a loincloth. It’s a big, epic theatrical experience that’s grounded in how we see the world now—in how we connect with each other and the animals we share the planet with.”
With Alexander Skarsgård in the title role, the film is top-billed by an all-star roster of acclaimed actors, including Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent and Christoph Waltz.
Tarzan is lured back to his former home in the Congo when he discovers that the trade mission for Parliament is a trap to use him as a pawn in a deadly scheme to tighten Belgium’s stranglehold on Central Africa. But those behind the venal plot have no idea what they’re unleashing when, instead of Tarzan, they capture the one soul for whom he would lay down his life—Jane Porter (Robbie).
Yates says that viewers will see glimpses of Tarzan’s life growing up in the wild, with his nurturing ape mother, Kala, and the violent alpha male of the group, Kerchak, who never accepts the human in their midst.
“We see in flashbacks how Jane, as a young girl, goes through the jungle tracking the mysterious ghost of Tarzan,” Yates says. “She’s the one who teases him out of the jungle and rescues him from this fairly brutal life. She saved him and, over the course of our movie, he has to save her—because he can’t really survive without her.”
Since the publication of Burroughs’ first Tarzan story, followed by two-dozen further novels, the legendary character has inspired films, TV serials, radio plays, stage productions, comics and video games. First appearing in the 1912 story “Tarzan of the Apes,” Burroughs’ creation has remained one of the most enduring characters of 20th-century popular culture.