No matter what generation you grew up in, if you watched movies, you probably had a Tarzan. From Johnny Weissmuller‘s iconic run as the character to the 1999 Disney Animated Feature, Edgar Rice Burrough‘s vine-swinging hero has been King of the Jungle for a century now. However, it’s been quiet on the Ape Man front for the last few years, but director David Yates is looking to change that with The Legend of Tarzan.
For his first post-Harry Potter film (before he heads back into the land of magic with Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them), Yates is introducing a strapping new Tarzan in Alexander Skarsgard. But for those only familiar with the character’s jungle-bound exploits, Skarsgard’s spin on the character may be a new take on Tarzan, or as he’s introduced at the beginning of the film, Lord John Clayton III of Greystoke. Set after the events of his wild upbringing, after he returns to England with his beloved Jane (Margot Robbie), The Legend of Tarzan finds the title hero pulled back to his roots thanks to the machinations of the ruthless, greedy Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz).
In the fall of 2014, when The Legend of Tarzan was in the thick of filming, I visited the sets at Warner Bros.’ Leavesden studios in England, where the sound stages were converted into the lush jungles and rock quarries of Tarzan’s home. While I didn’t get to see Skarsgard swinging from any vines, I did get to watch him manhandle some of Captain Rom’s goons in a fight scene before joining a small group of journalists for a chat. Skarsgard talked about why his Tarzan is different than what you might expect, why you might not see the famous loin cloth in this film, how he gets amped up for an action scene, and more. Check it all out in the interview below.