Deadline reports that Warner Bros has signed a deal with “Footloose” remake director Craig Brewer to write and direct a new version of “Tarzan” – well, three new films based on the Monkey Man.
Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of Tarzan’s first appearance in the Egdar Rice Burroughs “Tarzan of the Apes” novel. The character reached iconic status with the Johnny Weissmuller films from the 1930’s and 40’s. While the character has remained a part of literary and film history, the quality and quantity of live action outings for the Ape Man have been few and far between.
In 1981 Director John Derek released the monumental failure “Tarzan The Ape Man” as a vehicle for wife Bo Derek.
Things began to look up with the more authentic “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan Lord of the Apes” starring Christopher Lambert in the title role. With critical and moderate box office success, it was expected that a sequel would follow, it never did. In 1998 Warners released “Tarzan and the Lost City” starring Casper Van Dein but the film was critically and commercially panned.
With Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer starring in Gore Verbinski’s “Lone Ranger” revamp, the time seems right for “Tarzan”. The choice of Brewer to helm this ambitious project may raise a few eyebrows but the same thing happened when a barely known Peter Jackson took on “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
Many of us grew up watching the black and white Tarzan movies but have yet to have a successful film for our generation (I don’t count the cartoon). The character, much like The Lone Ranger is definitely worthy of a franchise for the 21st century. Maybe Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers as well.
No word on when Tarzan, Cheeta and Jane will return but likely 2013. Should all 3 films be shot simultaneously, parts 2 and 3 would in all probability follow a year apart.