The New York Post (and everyone else) is reporting that Jessica Chastain, Oscar nominee for her work in Zero Dark Thirty, is the “first choice” to play opposite Alexander Skarsgaard as Jane in David Yates’ Tarzan. My thoughts on this: Yes! I’ve been a fan of Chastain since long before Zero Dark Thirty — I first saw her in Jolene, based on the E.L. Doctorow novel, and thought she was fantastic in that. Then such interesting choices — The Debt (love that one), Tree of Life (working with Terence Malick? Come on . . .) then The Help, Lawless, and finally Zero Dark Thirty. She didn’t just burst on the scene this year . . . . she’s done her time and she’s got the chops. I say yes . . . and hope this one turns out to be true.
I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about how WB is positioning this movie. This is the formulation I’m hearing most often:
In this story, Tarzan is fully assimilated to life in London when Queen Victoria asks him to investigate troubles in the Congo.
I have to admit, the ERB fan in me hears this with a little dismay . . . . but the film exec part of my brain says this is pretty smart. My guess is that it’s heading toward something that has about as much to do with ERB as the last batch of Sherlock Holmes movies had to do with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s hard to really blame them for it. The origins story is pretty thoroughly “done to death” whereas this formulation — which at least keeps the period aspect (even if a Edwardian London has been swapped out for Victorian) — has real franchise potential if they pull it off.
The story about a diamond warlord being the problem Tarzan has fix seems a little flat . . . but Yates, with his background in the Harry Potter series, must have a trick or two up his sleeve to make the diamond mine operation come to life as something approaching the kind of “hidden kingdom” concept that was so much a part of the Tarzan charm.
Anyway . . . . I’m starting to get excited about this — cautiously so, but excited.