Sony has Obtained Ownership of the ‘Tarzan’ Film Rights
Tarzan could return to the big screen. Sony has acquired the film rights to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ iconic pulp fiction from his estate. Sony reportedly wants to “total reinvention” the character to reintroduce him to a modern audience. No creatives are involved.
Tarzan’s story is as old as time, so many people know it even though they have never watched a film featuring him. It is about a boy raised by apes in the forest. After meeting Jane, he leaves the jungle to marry her and settle in London. His experiences in civilization persuade him of how nasty society is, so he returns to Africa to be a hero and explorer. Tarzan’s adventures, first published in 1912, became favorites and were adapted to film and TV. Disney’s 1999 animated rendition starring Tony Goldwyn as Tarzan and Minnie Driver as Jane features a Phil Collins soundtrack.
Alexander Skarsgrd portrayed Tarzan in 2016’s The Legend of Tarzan. It was a blockbuster moment for the character and included an all-star ensemble, yet it was poorly received for several reasons. Tarzan’s story has been criticized for being dated. Original Tarzan stories are replete of archaic machismo, colonialism, and racism.
Sony aims to avoid the difficulties of past editions by sticking to the premise of a feral orphan in the woods. Disney’s Tarzan sanitized the story, using the characters and basic ideas of Burroughs’ story to create their own. The Legend of Tarzan aimed to make Jane less of a damsel in distress and tackle the original’s racism, but failed. Sony has not detailed a current update plan, and it will be difficult to develop a version that satisfies modern standards and captures a new audience.