Warner Bros. Shutting Down New 'Tarzan' Production Offices for Now
by Ben Pearson
April 10, 2013
Hear that? That's the sound of Tarzan bellowing his famous jungle call in frustration, because Deadline is reporting Warner Bros. has shut down the production office for the film and the studio has cancelled its plans to make the movie this year. Harry Potter helmer David Yates was all set to direct "True Blood" star Alexander Skarsgard and the wonderful Jessica Chastain as Tarzan and Jane in a revamped, modernized story, but apparently conflicts over the film's budget couldn't be resolved and WB wasn't going to back down, so they pulled the plug for now. But that does not mean the project is completely dead yet.
Rumor has it that the studio could return to reassess the project next year, and David Yates is apparently "still in the fold." The movie never officially received a greenlight so WB isn't on the hook to pay anyone off, but this is still disappointing news for fans who thought Yates could bring a fresh take to Edgar Rice Burroughs' pulp character.
The story has gone through many different iterations over the past few years, with a half dozen writers (including John August and Adam Cozad) taking a pass at it, but this version of the film would have followed John Clayton III (Skarsgard), the man known the world over as Tarzan, years after he's been worked back into society. The Queen asks him to investigate some conflict in the Congo, and Tarzan teams with ex-mercenary George Washington Williams to save the area from a warlord who controls a massive diamond mine.
Samuel L. Jackson was reportedly in contention for the mercenary role, but now Deadline is saying part of the reason this film may have fallen apart (aside from the budget issues) was casting, and that the studio wanted Jamie Foxx for the third lead role. Foxx is a busy guy these days, so it stands to reason that if execs had their heart set on casting him, they'd have to work around his schedule. All in all, this delay may be a good thing. Maybe Chastain can move on to other things (in hindsight, she seems a little too good for a project like this), and everyone else will likely land on their feet as well. There's always the possibility that it gears back up next year, but for now, Tarzan is swinging around in no man's land.