Skarsgard Abs 2.0

Legend of Tarzan: Breaking Down What’s New in the SlashFilm Set Visit

Legend of Tarzan (Movie), Tarzan

So, today was obviously the day when the WB lifted the embargo on all the Legend of Tarzan set visit articles that have been marinating since 2014.  What’s new and/or noteworthy in these articles? Let’s take a tour.

First up — German Lussier and Slashfilm

“Believable Spin on an Iconic Beat”

First question: What about the loincloth? It’s Tarzan’s signature item and, in a movie this different from its predecessors, you had to wonder if it was going to be there. On a set visit you generally drop by all the departments to see the incredible amount of detail and care that goes into a production this size, and one of the first stops was with Emmy-award winning costume designer Ruth Myers.

She explained that because Tarzan starts this movie as a normal London man and only later becomes the brute who was raised in the jungle by gorillas, the outfits start out very stuck up and tight. Then, over the course of the movie, they get more and more tattered. So the loincloth, as it were, is basically just trousers ripped to shreds, a very realistic approach. (Myers was mum on whether the film may eventually graduate to an actual loincloth.) That believable spin on an iconic beat is what The Legend of Tarzan is all about. The character has no big Clark Kent moment. He’s taking the ride, just like the audience. As Skarsgård puts it, the film is kind of Tarzan’s descent into madness.

I think Lussier’s onto something by parsing the trou situation.  I know this has driven a lot of the ERB hardcore a little crazy, but …. I think for today’s audience it’s a smart move, and Lussier gets it. As to whether he might eventually end up in loin cloth — I think by the end of the movie you could do it, and it could work, but I wouldn’t show it in the trailer.

More Lussier:

Tarzan’s Fighting Style — More WWE Than MMA

After swinging onto the train (a shot which we didn’t see), Tarzan makes his way through a slew of Belgium soldiers. His fighting style is more WWE than martial arts, as he literally heaves men left, right, down, and, in the most impressive bit, up. After dispatching several of the soldiers in a single shot, they shoot a stunt where Tarzan manhandles a solider through the ceiling. This is accomplished by a huge pulley system, worked by two men on the other side of the stage pulling down really hard just as Tarzan throws the soldier.

Well, that’s more ape-like isn’t it?  Tarzan wouldn’t be exactly trained in martial arts anyway. In the books, he stumbles upon the half-nelson and full-nelson (remember that?) . . . Fight director Mike Lambert confirms: “Fight coordinator Mike Lambert explained that Tarzan’s fighting style is in direct relation to his upbringing, that of an animal.”

The Town of Boma

Other jaw-dropping sets include the full town called Boma, the home of Waltz’s character, which looks like a classic Western with some New Orleans flair. It’s built almost in full, with five or six entire buildings, making you feel like you’re actually there. Around the corner, there’s a huge water tank where a boat will literally be sunk.

Hmmmm…..  Boma is a Swahili word meaning enclosure, that the colonial administrations took on to use for a fort, stockate, or even a district government office. Now, that last one is interesting, because that’s what the historic character played by Waltz would have had — he was a “Station Chief” on the Congo River, responsible for a district.   I guess that works.

A Sense of Joy on the Set

As someone who’s been on a lot of sets, my biggest takeaway from The Legend of Tarzan was just a real sense of joy. Sure, cast and crew love to tell the press how much they are loving their work, but time and time again, from the costume designer, to the hair and makeup team, down to the unit publicist and actors, everyone said this was some of the most fun they’d ever had making a movie. If they were lying, David Yates might be forced to cast them in his next film cause they were very convincing. The Legend of Tarzan is a passion project for just about everyone involved and, if the sequel/reboot works, maybe another film could happen. For now though, it was just all about making the best movie possible.

Now THAT is very interesting.



  • Fortunately for WB, lifting a 2-years embargo is free. Is it just me or the marketing did just the bare minimum so far? We’re two weeks from release, do you think there will be a last trailer to be shown or is that it?

    • Just two days ago on the forum I did a post saying that it’s been very bare bones, and someone said it was like they were letting the interns run the campaign. It’s picked up in the last two days but ….. I’m not feeling very encouraged. The biggest problem is awareness — it can’t be more than 40% at this point and they need to get to 80% or more to have a shot at any good numbers. Outside the universe of geeks and people who track upcoming movies, people just don’t know, or are just beginning to become aware.

      If I were trying to put a positive spin on it I would say they are trying to peak at just the right moment and not draw fire in the meantime. We aren’t getting a rash of “how could they spend 180m on a Tarzan movie” articles and if the promotion were loud, I”m sure we would. Still . . . .

  • I just finished reading The Beasts of Tarzan and during Tarzan’s first fight against a mangani as the beast hurled himself at Tarzan, but the ape-man had found, among other things in the haunts of civilized man, certain methods of scientific warfare that are unknown to the jungle folk.
    Whereas, a few years since, he would have met the brute rush with brute force, he now sidestepped his antagonist’s headlong charge, and as the brute hurtled past him swung a mighty right to the pit of the ape’s stomach.

    I wasn’t to sure about Tarzan getting clotheslined in the trailer, but I’m excited to see how the fight proceeds from there.

    • Ha …. and you can also bet the minute hd displayed those kind of fighting skills, all the internet geniuses would be online telling us how it’s WRONG WRONG WRONG . . . . .anyway, I think dramatically it works well for him to be more bestial in his style . . . . he is, after all, stripping away the layers of civilizationk….

      • I’ve been doing more day dreaming and I’m even more convinced that this (like a beast) is exactly how Tarzan should be fighting. This is how he fought in The Return of Tarzan when he was lured into that trap when he was in Paris. I loved how ERB described the dozen or so men being trapped in a room with a wild animal as Tarzan tears them apart. Maybe in the sequels they can explore any new methods of fighting he may pick up as he becomes even more badass.

  • Oh yes I agree cinematically this is the way to go, but I was hoping that there might be a scene back in London showing Tarzan “exercising” maybe a little parkour action with a sparing partner just to show that he has been active. Then if he threw in a modern jujitsu move it wouldn’t come as a surprise. This is how I spend my day. Running imaginary movie scenes through my head.

  • WB needs to also lift the embargo for reviews very soon. Unless the movie isn’t up to par, that’s the best way to generate a final streak of much needed awareness.

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