I am using this page as a placeholder for an eventual proper timeline tracing the full development of Legend of Tarzan. For the moment, it’s a work in progress which I’m not publishing at a post on the blog. If you find your way here and can add something or correct something, leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
The first evidence of the project that I can find is a Variety article dated June 28, 2003, reporting that John August has been hired and will be paid a “substantial seven figure sum” to write a Tarzan screenplay for WB-Based Jerry Weintraub Productions. In the article August is quoted as saying that to him, Tarzan“feels like an enduring cultural myth like Hercules or Robin Hood . . . The movie versions of Tarzan always portray him as a sort of jungle hippie. . . . Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan is a much different character. He’s more ferocious and wild, like Wolverine without the claws. That’s the version we want to use.”
On December 14, 2006, Variety reported that Warner Bros. is developing a Tarzan film with the fictional character Tarzan created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jerry Weintraub will produce the film, Guillermo del Toro will direct the film while John Collee will write the script. Del Toro is quoted: “I’d love to create a new version that is still a family movie, but as edgy as I can make it . . . There are strong themes of survival of a defenseless child left behind in the most hostile environment.”
On September 2, 2008, Variety reported that director Stephen Sommers is in negotiations to direct the film, he’ll also co-write the film with Stuart Beattie.
Later on December 3, 2008, Entertainment Weekly posted that the film will be most like Pirates of the Caribbean style: “Director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) and screenwriter Stuart Beattie (Australia) are ditching the boy-raised-by-apes origin story for a 1930’s-set romp with a hefty helping of romance: Think Pirates of the Caribbean with buffed-and-tanned actors flying through the jungle and sprinting up trees, parkour-style.”
In July 2009, First Showing reported writer Beattie talked about Tarzan which he was working on, he said the film will be “big romantic action-adventure film” and it would involve parkour and other high-energy action. “Tarzan is, I think, probably the most filmed story of all, so our belief in doing a Tarzan movie today was you couldn’t go tell the raised by gorillas and loincloths and ‘Me: Tarzan and You: Jane’-story because it’s been done so much and it’s just not interesting anymore. So it was much more big romantic action-adventure film with supernatural stuff and a witch doctor and lots of really fun stuff. And mythic Africa, like that deep dark heart of Africa stuff, you know, where the trees are twice as big and the vines stretched forever and the canopy is a whole world in itself and just really cool looking place to spend a couple of hours.”
Later in October 2010, Deadline Hollywood confirmed that Sommers, who was expecting to direct the film, has left the Tarzan film project.
The project was on paused after Sommers left but later, on May 6, 2011, Deadline Hollywood reported that Warner Bros. had again started the development of the film, hiring two writers Craig Brewer and Adam Cozad to pen separate drafts of the script. “One will be by Adam Cozad, a rising scribe whose recent work includes the Jack Ryan reboot and Archangel, the pic that has Tron: Legacy‘s Joseph Kosinski attached. I also hear that the studio is talking to Craig Brewer about doing a different version of the picture. This has been done before on big pictures, and usually the studio makes a decision on which way to go when they both come in. Sometimes, the other script is the next movie in the franchise.”
On June 2, 2011 Variety confirmed that Brewer confirmed will re-write and direct the Tarzan film.
In October 2011, Brewer was asked about the Tarzan trilogy, but he denied knowledge of it, and he has given the script to the studio. (This was in a Latino Review article that is no longer retrievable but it cited on the Wikipedia page and IMDB Pro.)
On June 18, 2012, Slashfilm reported that David Yates, Gary Ross and Susanna White were up for the director slot for Warner Bros. Tarzan. Ross’s agent subsequently denied that he was under consideration.
On August 1, 2012, Deadline Hollywood reported that David Yates was in final talks to direct the Tarzan film.
Later on November 7, 2012, Vulture.com reported that David Yates confirmed that he’ll direct the film.
On April 10, 2013 Deadline reported that the studio has shut down the pre-production of the film this year due to high budget, and they will try again to start the production in 2014. Deadline does not mention what the budget is Other outlets report that it is 120M and needs to be reduced to 90m. (need cite).
In December 2013 Variety reported that Samuel L. Jackson was in talks and that the studio was reportedly close to give the film a green light. The article noted that Yates and his team had provided a 5 minute pre-visualization video to Warner executives in November.
On February 11, 2014 Variety reported Warner Bros. has set the July 1, 2016 as a worldwide release date for the 3D film which has officially begun pre-production.
On May 5, 2014 Variety reported that Village Roadshow Pictures had a deal with WB to co-finance the film as part of an agreement involving a dozen or more WB pictures.
An official synopsis was revealed along with some crew which includes director of photography Henry Braham, production designer Stuart Craig, editor Mark Day, and costume designer Ruth Myers would be collaborating with Yates behind the scenes.