Margot Robbie Swings Into Newfangled ‘Tarzan’

Margot Robbie
Margot Robbie

Warner Bros. is returning to the well — or, rather, the jungle — of a long-dormant franchise with a new take on the "Tarzan" legend, according to a press release from the studio. In need of new would-be blockbusters upon the wrap-ups of both the "Harry Potter" series and Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" trilogy.

This new "Tarzan" definitely has something of a cast worthy of a triumphant jungle howl — especially his ladylove, Jane, who will be played by "The Wolf of Wall Street" beauty Margot Robbie.

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In fact, this is going to be something of an A-list event all around, as the film will also reunite "Django Unchained" co-stars Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz and will be directed by David Yates, who called the shots on the entire second half of WB's "Harry Potter" series — not to mention "True Blood" star Alexander Skarsgard in the title role as Tarzan himself.

We love Skarsgard, Jackson, and Waltz, but it's Robbie's inclusion in the flick's buzzy international cast that's got us most excited. Robbie is red-hot following her fiery portrayal of Jordan Belfort's red-hot second wife, Naomi Lapaglia, in "The Wolf of Wall Street," as she's also in talks to join Will Smith in the con artist thriller "Focus" and has replaced Amanda Seyfried in Craig Zobel's "Z for Zachariah," now filming.

Alexander Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, and Christoph Waltz
Alexander Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, and Christoph Waltz

The character of Tarzan was created by author Edgar Rice Burroughs and first appeared in the novel "Tarzan of the Apes" (magazine published in 1912, book published in 1914). A feral child raised in the jungle by apes and returned to Victorian society by the time he looks good without a shirt (something Alexander Skarsgard is certainly known for), the character has appeared in a variety of big-screen incarnations, including the notorious "Tarzan, the Ape Man" (1981), which featured an oft-naked Bo Derek as Jane; "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes" (1984), starring Christopher Lambert in the title role; and Disney's animated take on the legend, "Tarzan" (1999), with Tony Goldwyn providing the voice of the ultimate outdoorsman ... or, rather, 'Ape-Man.'

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WB's new "Tarzan" will offer a unique spin on the old chestnut, with Variety reporting that the plot will focus on John Clayton III, aka Tarzan (Skarsgard), years after he's been reassimilated into English society. He's asked by Queen Victoria to investigate some shady activities in the Congo, an adventure for which he teams up with ex-mercenary George Washington Williams (to be played by Jackson), and together they take on a warlord who controls a massive diamond mine (to be played by Waltz).

No word yet on any remix of the character of Jane, though we imagine Margot Robbie will be playing a much tougher and more independent variation on the classic damsel in distress. Which is great, as long as there's at least one scene where Tarzan takes hold around her waist with one hand and grabs a swinging vine with another and let's out his trademark battle cry.

Warner Bros. has already assigned a release date for "Tarzan": July 1, 2016, which means it will take on the second half of the summer movie season after "Batman vs. Superman" will undoubtedly dominate the first upon hitting theaters on May 6.