Robbie, Skarsgard

Film and TV Now Offers Best Summary Yet of the London Preview and Presscon for Legend of Tarzan

Legend of Tarzan (Movie)

John Higgins at Film and TV Now has done a yeoman’s job of summarizing in detail what went on and what was said at the Legend of Tarzan London Press Conference and Q and A.   Click here to read the whole article.   Some highlights:

  •  David Yates announced that the film is more or less finished, save for the mix, grading and one or two FX shots still pending and half-jokingly said that he wished he could show the whole film.
  • Yates on how he got involved:   ‘I was sent the script by legendary producer Jerry Weintraub who had been touting the script for about a decade. It was old-fashioned with politics and environmental issues and humour. It had different colours and an anachronistic quality to it.’
  • Skarsgard on Tarzan:  “He has a responsibility to take over Greystoke (the family estate), but feels there is something missing.” Also: “This film is not about taming the beast, more about keeping the beast within and focusing on those primal urges.”   Skarsgard revealed that he worked with choreographer Wayne McGregor and said he had ‘never done this much detail when finding the moments and sensed that his natural feeling is that Tarzan is an animal’.
  • Part of that convincing look was down to Technical Advisor Josh Ponte, who stood from the floor to talk a little more about the background to the film’s production and cited 15 years of experience exploring the Gabonne to ‘finalise the epic texture of this TARZAN’ and Ponte also announced a campaign to preserve the elephants of the region called STOP IVORY which will be used as part of the release of the film when it does finally emerge on cinema screens.
  • Stuart Craig, the film’s production designer, was also the production designer on 1984’s Greystoke.
  • Yates admits he  ‘had never read any of the novels and that when he received the script from Weintraub, he fell in love with it (scripted by writers Adam Kozan and Craig Brewer). [We will have to come back to this and ponder it later.  Wouldn’t it be ironic if Yates’ Tarzan comes closer to Burroughs’ Tarzan than the other movie Tarzans ….. without benefit of Yates studying the books?  Not sure how I feel about that.}
  • Yates also said that ‘from the start it was always going to be Skarsgard in the role. I did test others, but I only visualised him in the role. In the case of Margot, I met her during publicity for WOLF OF WALL STREET and after she had been backpacking around Europe with her brother, a combination of earthy and tomboy.

Read the full article at Film and TV Now.

Thanks to Ana for the tip!



  • I think the interesting thing about Yates not having read the novels is that he says he’s seen the movies – he grew up with the Weissmuller movies and he liked Greystoke (describing it as a “handsome” film – it even had the same production designer, Stuart Craig) – and so what I think has happened here is that he received scripts from Cozad and Brewer (I know for a fact that they wrote two separate scripts and Yates combined them together and I think he credits Cozad for the majority of it, especially the Burroughsian stuff) and what he has done is tried to move away from the Tarzan of the movies he’s seen and it’s reflected in his casting choices and whatnot. The thing is, many of those movies did the opposite of what Burroughs had written, so with Yates now trying to do the opposite of that, in a bizarre George Costanza way, I think he’s going to land closer to the essence of Burroughs’ Tarzan simply by virtue of not wanting to repeat what the older movies did and moving it into a more interesting direction.

  • Ugh, SlashFilm talked about the news of a possible LOT sequel:

    Naturally, a sequel will only come to fruition if the film is a hit and that’s far from a sure thing. Yates will be fine no matter what (he does have Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them waiting in the wings right now), but you’d be hard-pressed to find too many people who are legitimately excited to go see The Legend of Tarzan right now. The people at the studio’s marketing department have their work cut out them.

    • These journalists are living in a vacuum. I honestly don’t think they’re doing any real research. They’re just sitting there and when some tidbit of news reaches them they’re reporting it and that’s it.

    • Well, that Slashfilm comment is a little annoying, but truth is, Tarzan is tracking at no more than 30-40m opening weekend at this point and it needs to get to 50m to be successful. There is time for it to get there — but it’s not like the simple idea “Legend of Tarzan” induces excitement in the way that “Suicide Squad” does. “Tarzan” by itself gets a “meh” response — but what appears to be happening is that little by little it’s overcoming the “meh” reaction and converting “meh” into “hmmm” and eventually “hell yeah” . . . . . . . but will it be enough. And I guess it’s a true fact — the marketing department does have it’s work cut out for them. This is not an easy film to market for all the reasons we’re aware of.

      • You know, a few people on Box Office Theory are predicting that this movie could be a surprise like Pirates of the Caribbean. Curse of the Black Pearl opened on July 9, 2003, with only $46 million opening weekend but strong word of mouth ensured it didn’t drop much weekend to weekend and carried it to $305 million domestic. Now, if this movie is really good, even with a low $40 million domestic opening weekend, it *could* survive on word of mouth alone. It probably won’t make $300 million (although how fantastic would that be?) but it could cross $200 million easily. We shall see.

        • That’s a great thought. It’s really a long, long shot for a film to have the opening weekend only end up being 15 of 20% of total domestic ……The average is 35-40% and anything in the 20’s is great as far as legs and word of mouth go. But there are examples. The first Pirates is one and and it’s an apt one, because it had the same kind of “advance skepticism” that LOT is fighting to shed. One thing — the buzz machine in 2016 is different than it was in 2003, and I’m not sure if it’s possible for a film of this scale to get to the theaters as unappreciated as Pirates was….but maybe.

          I just get very nervous when people talk about surviving on word of mouth because the hard facts, usually, are that word of mouth gives you plus or minus 5%, maybe 10% . . . . and there’s just no excuse for a studio not doing the heavy lifting of a good promotional campaign to get people in the seats on opening day. . . . …..

          But still . . . . wouldn’t that be nice to have a run like that. . . . . .good thought!

          • I think if they market it well over the next few months and let’s say they manage to increase that tracking to $50-60 million opening weekend, then I think they can be a bit more comfortable with the idea of it surviving on word of mouth after that, which hopefully will be good. This movie seems to have a lot of the same qualities as Curse of the Black Pearl – it’s an old-fashioned yet contemporary (as Yates said) epic adventure and there’s apparently lots of humor in it and whatnot. It may be a long shot but if they can get that opening weekend higher then maybe not so much.

  • If my memory is correct, the possibility of Tarzan being a franchise was mentioned either when it was first greenlit, or a few months later, when production started. But it wasn’t something that was made a big deal: Oh, this is our newest franchise.
    So for Yates to mention they’ve been working on something is interesting. Did he mention it to help give the impression that WB is hopeful enough that they’ll be ready to go with a sequel if LOT does well, pushing/creating the buzz (even if WB really isn’t that hopeful)? Or is WB really that happy with what their internal tracking is showing them and Yates mentioned it more factually than manipulatively?
    Slash Film is right that WB’s marketing has their work cut out for them. But I also don’t think they’ve paid attention to the trailer views or that’s it’s at #61 on IMBD, which is pretty good considering they’ve not really started promoting it. I think while WB is aware that there’s an uphill battle, there’s also something there to work with now in terms of making the potential audience more aware of the film, and what the film, and is not. People aren’t really that resistant to the idea of a new Tarzan movie, not if it turns out to be a good movie.

    • Well, I listened to the Q&A audio, and the way Yates said it was – he was talking about why they made this movie and he was talking about basically how it was about simply transporting the audience to a place they’ve never been to before and what he said was “we’d like to take you to it again if you come and watch it” (not exact quote because the audio is not that clear to me but close enough). Then someone asked if they have another Tarzan movie planned, at which point Yates said that they do have an outline for it and they’re very excited about it.

      But yeah Tarzan was mentioned as a potential franchise from very early on.

  • Interesting…you can see opinions start to shift as the first and then second trailers came out….some changing their minds completely and looking forward to it and some getting closer to the fence. Hopefully, as more marketing comes out, those on or close to the fence will hop on over to the ‘light side’. 🙂

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