I have DVDs of all the Weissmuller, Lex Barker, and Gordon Scott Tarzans, and also have places in my heart for Denny Miller, Mike Henry, Ron Ely, Miles O'Keeffe, and Joe Lara, as well. I was drawn to 2009's Avatar as much for its Tarzan-slash-John-Carter vibe as for its 3-D special effects. The "Skull Island" in this blog's name is but one of many expressions of my adoration of jungle adventure in general. There's not much about Tarzan that I am not crazy about. Eco-warrior, rassler, anti-gun activist, yodeler, and wild man. All of it works for me. Not even M-G-M's domestication of the big brute in later sequels, as he settled down with Jane and Boy in a treehouse with running hot and cold water, and not even Disney's insistence that the story would work as an animated musical have dampened my enthusiasm.
Last year when Warner Brothers announced that Craig Brewer, who wrote the screenplay for Black Snake Moan, would be penning scripts for a trio of brand new Tarzan movies, I could barely contain my excitement. A year passed, and I heard nothing more about the project. Originally Brewer was announced to direct the trilogy, as well, but on Monday Warner signed David Yates to direct the first in the series. Yates directed the last four of the Harry Potter films. No word yet on who would play the lead, though the names Henry Cavill, Tom Hardy, Charlie Hunnam, and Alexander Skarsgard have been bandied about. Whoever plays the lead--and my vote is for a complete unknown with startling good looks and an awesome body--I hope the films recapture the lush, violent eroticism of the first three M-G-M classics of the 1930s, perhaps further inspired by the work of illustrators Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta. And, please, let there be lots of wrestling--of reptiles, lions, witch doctors, and white hunters!