What’s your first thought when you hear that, per Alexander Skarsgard in a new interview, the Tarzan that he and David Yates have cooked up doesn’t end up wearing a loin cloth?
Here’s the quote, from an interview in the Swedish version of Elle that just came out:
What can you tell us about Tarzan? Will it be a lot of loincloths or is he a gentleman in London?
– In Greystoke, the movie from the 1980’s, he was first in the Jungle and then in London and after that on an estate where he learnt how to be “civilized”. In this movie it’s the other way around. It starts when he’s been living in London for almost 10 years, when he is a very sophisticated victorian gentleman who is living with his wife Jane. Then he travels back to Kongo where he grew up. It’s an upside down tale, instead of the savage becoming civilized it’s the civilized who becomes a savage when he returns to the Jungle.
Will there be a lot of action in a loincloth?
– No, not a lot of action in a loincloth. Thankfully not! But quite a lot of action.
Were you filming in the Jungle and did you have to swing between lianas?
– We recreated the Jungle in Watford… They built the rainforest and colonial houses/buildings, a quarry and a savannah, everything! But sure, we went to Gabon for six weeks to film in a real rain forest. Because honestly, it won’t be completely authentic in Watford.
So does the news cause you to think — Great, they figured that out!
Or something in between?
As for me, well, I’ve got to tell you , when I think about a Tarzan movie coming out in 2016 and contemplate the “usual loincloth” — I feel squirmy. I feel like, how can they do that and make it not feel . . . just “off” somehow. (John Carter’s Barsoomian fighting harness was another such challenge, and I wasnt completely satisfied with the solution to that either.)
Anyway, I would go back to the story on this one. Tarzan is coming back from London to the forest. He’s civilized, at least on the exterior. Would pack a loin cloth just in case? Steal one from a native he would kill? (No, obviously not.) But he’ll definitely have to get out of his Victorian duds. Is he going to rip up a shirt and turn it into something? My mind wants to know!
Oh well . . .
Seriously (well, sort of) … it’s a challenge from a design point of view to figure out how to do that. The audience of 2016 can accept the Victorian period look. But when Tarzan goes from being Greystoke back to being Tarzan …. how do they design the look for that? I guess we’ll see.
And by the way, he didn’t say he would never, ever be seen in a loincloth. So who knows, maybe in the final stages of his reversion to primal state, he does end up in one. That would be the other way to handle it, do it in stages…..maybe that’s what they’ve done.
Other Interesting Aspects of Skarsgard’s Character
Elsewhere in the interview there is an interesting story told by Skarsgard about how he ended up playing the role of Monroe in Diary of a Teenage Girl– a role where he plays a 35 year old man who has a relationship with a teenage girl. Here’s what he says about how he got the script and the role:
Well, I did not get the script the old fashioned way, from my agent. I got it from a friend, a comedian from 30 Rock, Jack McBrayer. He’s one of my best friends. I don’t live in Los Angeles anymore, but we used to be neighbors there. Jack knows Mari and said something like: “My friend has written a screenplay, she wanted me to give it to you, would you like to read it?” So I read it and it was so amazingly good. I met Mari and loved her energy. She had been working on this project for ten years, and I never thought about whether it would be bad for my career or whether the film would upset people. There was no strategy behind it, I just knew I wanted to do the role and I knew I wanted to work with Mari. I was going to film Tarzan immediately afterwards, so I looked forward to doing something completely different before that.
I think that little story really underscores the way that Skarsgard is an actor as opposed to a “moviestar” — and a quirky Scandinavian one at that. I think it’s safe to say that he was attracted to the Tarzan role not to become the next movie superhero — but because he saw in the script a truly interesting character to play — a character with multiple facets, internal conflict, and the “arc” that real actors are always looking for. I’m not sure what this means for the success of the movie. I guess we’ll see, eventually.