First Two Stills From Legend of Tarzan — Skarsgard, Robbie, as Tarzan and Jane

Legend of Tarzan (Movie), Tarzan, The Tarzan Files

At long, long last Warner Brothers has unveiled the first two stills from the Legend of Tarzan via a USA Today article that just appeared.

Both images are credited to Jonathan Olley

The image of Skarsgard should lay to rest most of the naysayers who worried about hm being muscled enough for Tarzan.  And note — no loincloth!

And the shot of Skarsgard and Robbie is interestingly dark.

Alexander Skarsgard and Margo Robbie


The USA Today article that accompanies the images includes the first commentary by Yates:

Jane has always factored heavily into the Tarzan mythology, and Yates envisions Robbie as a 21st-century take on the character who’s “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,” says the director. “In a way, it’s a story of two human beings and how they save each other.”

Of Skarsgard, Yates says: “Tarzan needs muscles, but it’s more a leaner, longer, more vertical modern man than the square-jawed stereotype we’re used to,” Yates says.

The article also provides the first commentary I’ve seen on Skarsgaard’s fitness regime:

To get in Tarzan shape, Skarsgård spent four months in an all-consuming training regimen before principal photography started. “I basically didn’t see my family or my friends,” he says, though he adds that the part “was definitely worth getting up at 4:30 in the morning.”


My initial reactions:


  1. Skarsgard looks excellent and I expected him to.  I’m glad they didn’t black his hair, although it looks like they’ve definitely downplayed the blonde (hard to say …hair is wet here)…..Same for Robie…glad the blondeness is downplayed, there’s a touch of red in hers……good choice to not have her be platinum blonde like in Wolf of Wall Street.
  2. I like the choice to make his hair long as it appears here.  Not sure how that will play as the cultured Englishman …. maybe there is some time passage where it gets this way in Africa?  But I like it.
  3. The imagery seems rich … somewhat stylized — the jungle appears highly designed and almost magical, reminiscent of the Jungle Book trailer . . . I’m okay with that.
  4. I like the somber tone and “hushed” quality to both of the images.
  5. The loin cloth would be a tough sell in 2016.  Good choice to ditch it.

In any event, I will be interested to see the reaction — and whether there is much reaction.  Hope so. I’m very relieved to see something and relieved that it looks promising.

Here’s the full size, full-rez version of the Skarsgard pic:

Skarsgard as Tarzan -- Bigger Pic

And if you wonder who Edgar Rice Burroughs would have cast as Tarzan — here are his two favoirites next to Skarsgard. Click on the epic to go to an article that includes Burroughs’ full views on what he wanted in a movie Tarzan.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 8.37.16 PM




  • Give me a break, Tarzan in pants… Not if he could help it. Jane was blonde, not Tarzan. Henry Cavill in a loin cloth could have saved this upcoming disaster. Even a blonde, not redhead Margot Robbie might have helped… Where do these whacko producers and directors get their ideas from? Sorry, I’m a Burroughs devotee and I for one won’t be catching it in the cinema I have to confess…

  • Since this is set a decade after leaving the jungle behind, why would Tarzan be wearing a loin cloth? I think it makes perfect sense that he’d be wearing pants (probably fully clothed in some type of formal wear or clothing befitting his current status) since he returns to the Congo as a diplomat, or representative of England. Would we expect that he’d have packed a loin cloth in his suitcase? He’s thrown into a unexpected situation and I’m willing to bet that all he has at the time are the clothes on his back.

    • Absolutely. There has been discussion by Skarsgard and others about the loin cloth. It’s really a potential problem if not handled adroitly. I think they are wise to avoid it…until or unless they reach a story point where it makes sense.

      I think every aspect of the design/art direction/hair/makeup as revealed in these stills reflects good choices. So far so good.

  • Very interesting choices as first stills. Very moody, and trying to distantiate itself from the campy versions of the character. The second still tells a whole story, how a bruised Tarzan reaches for Jane, and how she rejects him. Very powerful, and at the same time… an easy target for internet memes if it catches on! We’ll see. And Yates doing preemptive damage control over the “Jane problem”… Oh well.

    • Yes, I think when the dust settles from this first stills release, it will be fun to analyze what’s going on a) with the stills, b) with the comments from Skarsgard and Yates that were released with the still, and c) with the reaction to the stills on all the movie sites. My initial impression is that WB has been strategic and they’ve done a very good job of reframing the discussion about the movie from “overbudget blunder” to something quite a bit more positive. Will see if that holds up. Thank god this movie has finally turned a corner where there’s something to talk about and think about at last.

    • Well, he starts out as “civili;zed” having lived in London for many years; goes to Africa; faces circumstances which cause him to revert to jungle life. In that context, looks like he won’t start out in a loincloth. Guess he didn’t bring one in his suitcase. Nothing wrong with that in my view.

  • I’m a bit at a loss. It seems for some the weight of the success of this movie lands primarily on a loin cloth and blond hair. I’m looking forward to a smart characterization of an iconic character. I think the focus should be on good storytelling and good acting. If both of these are compelling, would the lack of a loin cloth or the hair color of the main characters negate everything else?

  • Look it’s hard to tell the quality of a film based on just two still images. I mean you can take still images from a dreadful movie (like Heaven’s Gate, Transformers or Mopey Carter) and say “that looks great!” and vice versa. We won’t know-or get an idea of the quality of the final product-until we see it or at least until the trailers start appearing.

    That said I like the image of Skarsgard and Robbie since it does appear to capture the romance of Tarzan and Jane. The other pic, I can understand that a loin cloth can appear silly to modern audiences but the pants aren’t doing it yet. But if the film is good I can learn to live with it.

    • MCR …I think you’ve hit on the essence of where they are going with it — the romance of the jungle idea. They’ve given us a positively “Fabio” kind of shot of Skarsgard …. but managed to keep it from looking like a cheap romance novel by not putting Jane in the frame with him on that abs shot. (Imagine if he had his arm around Jane …. it would look like a cheesy romance novel cover for sure) ……Also an interesting choice to show them in a sadness/rejection pose together ….. the opposite of the normal romance novel pose but it still conveys romance, just the flip side of it. All in all I think they’ve been pretty shrewd in what they’ve chosen and how they’ve presented it. They’ve instantly moved it away from the Disney Tarzan and away from “all action, all adventure” …. the Skarsgard fans are going nuts (they really are) and a lot of the potential skeptics are being cautiously approving in their coverage. It may not be a grand slam homerun …. but it’s definitely not a swing and a miss.

  • The other big movie coming out on July 1, Spielberg’s “The BFG,” just dropped a teaser trailer so I’m hoping WB are on it and will be releasing the Tarzan teaser soon.

    • Trailer should be out in the next two weeks. It’s been approved by censors in Canada (they publish the approvals there) … running time 1:57. So it’s about to drop.

  • I stated the previous because it was funny. But in all seriousness: we’re dealing with an iconic figure here and you’d think that the FIRST goal of trailers and stills would be to assure all of the faithful that what they’re getting is the Tarzan they know. Let the film itself introduce whatever changes/updates/etc., there are going to be (of necessity), but at least for once recognize the history, the legions of fans and all the preceding imagery (book covers, Frazetta art, etc) by acknowledging that it has a place somewhere in the film. Otherwise, we’re heading into George of the Jungle territory and this film will bookend JC in the bargain bin racks (which is where it has finally alighted, btw, but at $7.99, not quite in the $5 bins yet….pics if you want, lol)

    • Maybe Steve. Maybe not. On balance this movie seems to have done a lot more to stay on the ERB reservation of the original than most …. set in the right period (more or less), Tarzan is acculturated not a jungle boy scout . . . cast includes a lot of familiar names from the books (Mbonga, Kala, etc) so at least there’s that. I think that everyone involved in the film was petrified of the “loin-cloth effect” …. that it would just look dumb in 2016 to the audiences they are trying to appeal to. My take on it: I understand their fear and share it, and understand why they went the way they did. Now they’re getting some heat for NOT having a loincloth, but it’s coming from the one-percent — the purists — not the 99%. They would have had a bigger problem if the 99% crowd looked at a poster, saw him in a loin cloth, and collectively went “wow, that’s cheesy” … which is excactly what most of the target audience would have done. WB dodged that bullet. Again, just my opinion.

  • Dotar,

    I’ll respectfully disagree with your opinion. My opinion is this:
    1. That 1% you give short shrift to is the 1% that largely (unnoticed) sets the tone for acceptance or rejection. Films/directors/studios who have found the balance between respecting that 1% but not kowtowing to it are the ones whose genre films have seen great success (most recently, Guardians of the Galaxy) (and, the biggest thumbs down of recent memory – John Carter: remember the early rejection of that film by the 1%; the folks, like me, who, upon getting a look and feel from trailers and posters declared it to be crap before actors had climbed down from their stilts?)
    2. Respect the audience. Far more than JC, the general public “knows” who Tarzan is. The popular culture image is of a long haired, loinclothed musclebound chest beater; even if all they are familiar with is Carol Burnett’s eerily accurate yell – THAT’s Tarzan. Not some acculturated hipster in long pants.
    3. People of movie age target audience types are going to confuse this film with the Planet of the Apes franchise and will be disappointed.

    • Steve … respectfully (ha, we’re being nice!!) … the 1% I’m talking about is not the 1% who sets the buzz. That’s a different 1%. The 1% I’m talking about is the purist 1% and they don’t set the buzz. Right now there are, at last count on google news, about 250 articles out there reacting to the dump of materials yesterday. That’s what’s setting the buzz, and the lack of a loincloth is not an issue on any of the buzz-setting sites that I’ve read so far (and I’ve read at least 100 of them) . . . . this is just not an issue for anyone except the purists who also object to Tarzan not having black hair and grey eyes. I”m sympathetic to the purist point of view. There’s a voice inside my head that’s very purist. But . . . I guess I’m not one.

      One of the other things is the need, with a film like this, to try and make it fresh somehow. You say the audience has a pop culture image and that doesn’t fit with the idea of an “acculturate hipster in long pants” ….. well, that cuts both ways. Thank God that the “acculturated hipster” you’re talking about is actually closer to the Lord Greystoke of, say, The Return of Tarzan (the one who was sitting around Paris smoking cigarettes and drinking absinthe in the first 30 pages) than any movie Tarzan. So it can be both fresh, and close to ERB’s Tarzan than typical movie Tarzans.

      Anyway …. I’m optimistic. Prepared to be disappointed, of course. There have been 80 Tarzan movies and except for the first 45 minutes of Greystoke, I haven’t liked a single one of them. I know it’s probably unwise to expect something different …. but I am obstinately hopeful.

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