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It seems as though there’s a frontrunner for the lead role in the Warner Bros. adaptation of Tarzan. Harry Potter director David Yates had quite a few big names on his list of dream actors, and True Blood star Alexander Skarsgard has come to the forefront.
Variety has the news, reporting that Skarsgard is Yates’ “choice to play the vine-swinging hero.” However, this isn’t set in stone. There hasn’t been an offer yet, and Warner Bros. hasn’t even greenlit the project. Still, if Skarsgard is interested in the role, this sounds like good news for him.
According to the trade paper, the film will center on John Clayton III, the famous “ape man” Tarzan, years after he’s re-assimilated into English society. Asked by Queen Victoria to investigate “the goings-on in the Congo,” he teams with a former mercenary named George Washington Williams to save the country from a warlord who controls a massive diamond mine.
WB and Yates are eyeing a summer start date, and Tarzan is expected to get the green light before the end of the year. In addition to Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson is being considered to play Williams, “a Civil War veteran eager to redeem himself for his part in the massacre of Native Americans.”
Also on Yates’ list were Henry Cavill, Charlie Hunnam and Tom Hardy. All three of those already have or had major franchises set up at Warner Bros.: Man of Steel for Cavill, Pacific Rim for Hunnam and The Dark Knight Rises for Hardy. Skarsgard, who surged to fame thanks to his role as the sexy vampire Eric Northman on HBO’s True Blood, hasn’t yet broken out on the big screen yet, though he did have relatively major roles in movies like Melancholia and Battleship. Up next, he stars in Zal Batmanglij’s The East as the leader of an anarchist group.
A live-action Tarzan film has been in development since at least 2003 under the supervision of producer Jerry Weintraub. Yates only signed on to helm the film last week.