Even though it’s not out until July, Flickering Myth’s Scott J. Davis had the chance to see some early footage from the upcoming action adventure The Legend of Tarzan, which was screened in London this morning along with a special Q&A with the the film’s stars Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie and director David Yates.
The footage, still far from finished but nearing its completion, was a fully immersive one, with some sumptuous looks at the jungle surroundings where the action takes place. But rather than this being an origin story, the film looks more at Tarzan’s (Skarsgard) life after becoming Lord Greystoke and how events transpire for him and Jane (Robbie) to return to the jungle.
In the scenes we were shown, we see Tarzan as a young boy being rescued by a group of apes who take him in despite the reservations of one the tribes lead apes who sees him as an enemy. Later, we see Tarzan and George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), new compatriot of the vine-swinger, trying to catch up to a train full of generals and army men. “How do we catch a train going at 40mph?” says Williams. “Gravity” replies Tarzan as he jumps off a cliff face down hundreds of feet to the trees below as Williams eventually follows in an ungraceful manner.
And we were also introduced to the film’s villain, Captain Rom (Christoph Waltz) who is intent on capturing Tarzan, holding Jane hostage until he gets him. In one sequence shown, Rom and Jane share a very tense dinner with Rom laying out his plans, whilst a later shot sees Jane spit at Rom as she is held by his henchmen.
The footage climaxed with a stampede of animals hurtling towards the local town in a sequence reminiscent of the Wildebeest charge in Disney’s The Lion King, as Tarzan runs with them to try and save Jane. It’s certainly going to be the film’s stand-out sequence and while some of the footage we saw was still rough around the edges, it looks like The Legend of Tarzan is going to be something special.
On the film, director David Yates said that of all the script’s he receives, this one stood out: “I just fell in love with it… It’s epic but it had some great old-fashioned sensibilities but also had themes that were very connected to now.”
Margot Robbie, who plays Jane (who is already married to Tarzan) said of her character: “She’s fiercely independent but also very in love with her husband… She is very emotionally strong as Tarzan is physically strong and I felt it was very important that they were both strong in their own way.”
And while the physical side was important to capture the character, Skarsgard’s initial reaction was how interesting the take on the material was: “It’s such an iconic character and it’s a story that’s been told hundreds of times…then I opened the script and it’s Tarzan as John Clayton Greystoke…so we open the movie not in the jungle but in London and his journey and his arc is almost the opposite.”
You can listen to the full audio from the Q&A below (apologies in advance for the sound from David Yates, his microphone wasn’t working great and as such was quiet quiet during the talk):
The Legend of Tarzan opens on July 1st in the US and July 8th across the UK.