There’s a new Tarzan film headed our way in 2016 (I actually typed 1916, which is an interesting Freudian slip). It appears to be serious — set against the backdrop of the genocide in the Belgian Congo. Thanks to Paul McNamee for the heads up on this.
The cast includes Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Alexander Skarsgård as the titular character. I hope Samuel L. Jackson gets a meaty role. I love to watch him chew the scenery.
The plot summary goes thus:
It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Captain Leon Rom (Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.
From John Carter Files (reblogging from Rick Barry’s BooksNFilm):
From what we know about director David Yates’ new Tarzan film (due in 2016), we have every right to expect that he and his team are making a determined effort to present the hero of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ imagination and novels in first-class style.
The film will also have a specific historical backdrop, one of the most horrific genocides in modern times…
…In March, our new Tarzan was spotted with Adam Hochschild’s 1998 book, King Leopold’s Ghost, which was of interest since it is a history of the colonial Congo – a Tarzan-era jungle. As the casting firmed up and roles were attached to actors, the über-hot Christoph Waltz was signed and identified as playing Captain Leon Rom, which piqued further interest in the Hochschild volume. The Belgian scoundrel Rom figures prominently in its compelling narrative.
This is Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness — a giant slave plantation run by merciless corporate mercenaries. The horror. The horror…
“…wherever one looked was the king’s personal army, the Force Publique. Leopold had employed African mercenaries since 1879, and in 1888 he formalized the arrangement. Hochschild describes the Force Publique as “at once counterguerrilla troops, an army of occupation, and a corporate labor police force,” which “was divided mainly into small garrisons – typically, several dozen black soldiers under one or two white officers, on a riverbank.” By 1900 it had become ‘the most powerful army in central Africa.’”
Burroughs never had the kind of appeal for me that Robert E. Howard had, but I am excited to see this. For one thing, the Belgian Congo atrocities are too much forgotten, overtaken by the horrors of the 20th Century.Poupular entertainment is an excellent gateway to deeper historical explorations.
For another… this is wheelhouse period drama.
For another, Margot Robbie….