Thursday, November 8, 2012

Frictional Character

In Woody Allen's perhaps most charming movie, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Mia Farrow exclaims, "I just met a wonderful new man. He's fictional, but you can't have everything." Before I discovered pro wrestling, I discovered Tarzan, at age seven or eight, I estimate. From the moment I first saw Johnny Weissmuller swing on a vine or wrestle a crocodile, Edgar Rice Burroughs' iconic hero has been my favorite fictional top man. For years, my answer to the question "What is your type?" has consistently been "Jungle lord." Skinny, brawny, tall, short, blond, brunet, curly, straight, tan, freckled, makes no difference, if you can carry off a wild animal pelt wrapped around your hips with confidence and poise, call me.

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!


  1. If you were casting a wrestler that's appeared in this blog as Tarzan, who would you choose?

  2. Ooh, a question! And I love this sort of speculative question especially. Twenty years ago it would have been Paul Perris at Can-Am, or his cousin Roman Stone. No question about that. Today, I would be laying a lot of wrestlers on my casting couch before making my final pick. Big Sexy springs to mind, but the tattoos might be even harder to explain than the smallpox vaccination scars that showed up on so many earlier movie Tarzans. Digital technology and makeup would have to remove the body art from a lot of my candidates, come to think of it. Jake Jenkins has the right soulful look, and he would look great in a loincloth, though he is a bit shorter than I would like the jungle lord to be. Gil Barrios would be an unconventional choice, but he certainly has got the wild-child look down. I am pretty sure my final callback would include Alexi Adamov, Adam Cole, Impact, Seth Rollins, Eddie Ryan, and Josh Steel. Since Weissmuller is (for me) still the total Tarzan package, so to speak, my inclination right this minute would be to run with tall, beefy, and poker-faced Trent Blayze at BG East. Whom would you choose?

  3. Tarzan is my first crush, too. When I was a kid, they aired the old movies on Sunday mornings. I loved them. Gordon Scott is always my favorite. His movies usually involved amazing action and some great villains.

    If I could weigh in, Tyler Black, Adam Cole or Jake Jenkins as a young Tarzan would be amazing. I think they have the athleticism, although Jake is a little short. I see Kid Karisma or Morgan Cruise as the cruel hunter for this type of Tarzan.

    For a bigger Tarzan, I think Mitch Colby has the body, but it's Braden Charron that's very Gordon Scott. I see Cage Thunder or Bulldog Barzini as the best villain in this case.

  4. I'm still thinking about it. So many possibilities!

    BTW, I emailed and asked Bruno, Bard, and InnerJobber. I just read Bruno's reply. He likes Kenneth Cameron.

  5. A coup de foudre: Prince Devitt.

    Have you noticed that how few of the wrestlers who use Tarzan as part of their moniker are Tarzanesque? Among the pros, luchador Tarzan Boy started out as a fair approximation, and he's the best I know of.

  6. In the '70s there was a book, that I own, called "Tarzan of the Movies". Some of the lesser known film Tarzans looked hot. I'm thinking of Herman Brix, who wore both a loincloth and a tux with panache.



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