The Lord of the Jungle is back for the umpteenth time since first hitting the silver screen in 1918, with the release of “The Legend of Tarzan.” Director David Yates, who was at the helm of the final four “Harry Potter” movies, attempts to breathe new life into the latest adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan books, with Swedish-born star Alexander Skarsgard swinging into action as the titular character and siren Margot Robbie as Jane. The stars explain why Tarzan is still relevant today and how the role of women in Hollywood is slowly changing for the better.
What makes this “Tarzan” different?
Margot Robbie: Someone told us that there have been 48 versions of Tarzan, but a live action one has not been made in many years. Filming it was less intimidating because I feel that the audience is ready for a new version. The one I most recognize is the animated version by Disney, and obviously this is very different. When reading the script and coming to its ending, I felt it was an epic adventure, with a love story full of heart, comedy and action, with a very intelligent central idea taking place in a very interesting time in the history of the world.
What can you tell me about the problem of Tarzan, in earlier versions, where he was portrayed as a white savior?
Alexander Skarsgard: Watching the previous films and reading the original novels, they seem very archaic in the way they describe the natives. It was a different time, and these works are appreciated for what they were. But today we have to do something completely different. You cannot make a film of a white man who comes into the jungle and saves all natives. That's why I love the film, because it shows what happened in the Congo during the reign of King Leopold — the genocide and how they killed elephants for their ivory and destroyed nature, which are things we're dealing with today.