×

‘Legend of Tarzan’ Director: Samuel L. Jackson’s Character ‘Deserves a Movie in His Own Right’

Tarzan returned to Hollywood’s concrete jungle Monday for the premiere of Warner Bros.’ “The Legend of Tarzan” at the Dolby Theater. Alexander SkarsgardMargot RobbieSamuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz and Djimon Hounsou joined director David Yates for the L.A. debut.  

The live-action feature strays from the animated series, incorporating historical events and following Tarzan (Skarsgard) on his return to the Congo nearly a decade after moving to Victorian England with his wife, Jane (Robbie). Joined by George Washington Williams (Jackson), the group becomes a part of Belgian Captain Leon Rom’s corrupt plot to extract diamonds from the land and enslave Africans under King Leopold II’s rule.

“‘Tarzan’ has historic value in terms of exposing what King Leopold actually did to the Congo and the first real holocaust in African history transpired because of him,” Jackson said. “I was able to portray a real life character who actually went to the Congo and exposed King Leopold. I think that’s important for us as a people to understand.”

Popular on Variety

Yates said that the screenwriters, Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer, never intended “Tarzan” to be an adaptation. “It’s a completely original story,” the director said of its political backdrop.

“He managed to out the behavior of Leopold, who was exploiting the people and raping the land,” Yates added. “Williams was one of the few people to bring the world’s attention to what he was doing.”

The helmer later teased that Jackson’s character “deserves a movie in his own right.”

The Legend of Tarzan” hits theaters this weekend.

(Pictured above: Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie and Samuel L. Jackson)

More Scene

  • Oscar Menu to Be Almost All

    Oscar Menu to Be Almost All Plant-Based

    The Oscars are getting greener. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Monday that it will be offering entirely plant-based menus at today’s Oscar Nominees Luncheon and then in the Dolby Theatre lobbies prior to the 92nd Academy Awards on Feb. 9. The post-ceremony Governors Ball will be 70% plant-based, and 30% [...]

  • 'Little America' Team on Creating Immigration

    'Little America' Team on Creating the Immigration Anthology Series for Apple TV Plus

    Respect and authenticity were the key words at the screening of the new Apple TV Plus series “Little America” on Thursday in Los Angeles. Produced by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon and inspired by true stories featured in Epic Magazine, “Little America” is an anthology series focused on immigration. For executive producer Sian Heder, [...]

  • 2018 Sundance Film Festival - Egyptian

    Sundance 2020: The Ultimate Party Guide

    Heading to Park City? From intimate dinners and cocktail parties to late night bashes (that end just in time to head to brunch), there’s plenty to keep this year’s film festival attendees out of the cold between screenings. Here is Variety’s ultimate party guide for Sundance 2020:  Thursday, Jan. 23 “Summertime” Premiere Party Lyft Lounge, 8-11 [...]

  • BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 21:

    Jenna Andrews Hosts Zhavia Ward, Lennon Stella at Jed Foundation Fundraiser

    Jenna Andrews, the Canadian singer-songwriter, record producer and executive, hosted a pre-Grammy event in partnership with The Jed Foundation at Alice and Olivia in West Hollywood on Tuesday.  The non-profit Jed is dedicated to protecting emotional health and preventing suicide. The foundation has partnered with high schools and colleges in order to “strengthen mental health, [...]

  • Coldplay - Chris Martin

    Grammys 2020: The Ultimate Party Guide

    Let the music play, indeed. The Grammys are just days away and dozens of parties are happening every night this week leading up to the big day, Sunday, Jan. 26. And the partying continues with several bashes following the ceremony. (All events listed are by invitation only unless marked otherwise; this list is being updated [...]

  • Jared Harris arrives at the 26th

    No, Jared Harris is Not Playing Doctor Octopus in Marvel's 'Morbius'

    The first-ever trailer for Marvel and Sony’s next Spider-man spinoff “Morbius” left comic book fans reeling with theories. While the plight of the main character, Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) – a scientist dying of a rare blood disease who accidentally turns himself into a vampire – seemed ripped right out of the comics, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content