Excellent interview of Alexander Skarsgard in which he talks in a bit more detail than we’ve seen to date about the character and his experience as Tarzan. Some high points:
On the Book “Tarzan of the Apes”
I mean, even though the novel was written a hundred years ago, it doesn’t feel dated at all. I read it in 2015 and was mesmerized and blown away.
There has been an emphasis, which is understandable, on the fact that it’s a “completely new story” or “completely original story” that they have filmed. So ERB has been in need of some love, and this is it. It sounds like a completely genuine comment with real enthusiasm.
Tarzan and Jane Have Lost a Child
When you first meet them, they’ve been living in England for a long time; they’ve lost a child; they’re not happy there. And I think Jane acknowledges that in a way that John doesn’t because when this opportunity presents itself to return to Africa, she’s eager to go. She spent her childhood there as well — she grew up in the Kuba Village — so she’s excited about it. He’s scared. He doesn’t want to go back. He’s afraid of who he was, afraid of that more animalistic side of his personality. But she convinces him to do this, and they go back, and almost immediately get separated.
Hmmm….when it says they’ve “lost” a child, of couse the assumption is that the child has died. But ERB’s Tarzan and Jane “lost” jack for years when he disappeared into the jungle. Wonder if that’s what this is about? Or not?
Getting in Synch with the Animals
I started out by getting a whole bunch of documentaries about apes and watching them because even though the story’s told 10 years after he’s already left the jungle, he sees his family again when he goes back. There are also flashbacks of him growing up among apes. Animals are obviously a very important aspect of the movie, so it was important to me to study how they communicate, how they socialize. I had an amazing opportunity to spend some time with gorillas at the Aspinall Foundation in Kent, England. And even here in California, I was able to go out and hang out with some big cats — lions, tigers and panthers. It was incredible. We don’t have any wild animals in the film — they’re all animated — but I knew it was important to do that research so that I would have that in the back of my head.