Warner Bros. Unveils "Modern, Very 2016" 'Tarzan' at Hollywood Premiere

As the studio staged a jungle-themed premiere for 'The Legend of Tarzan,' Margot Robbie, who plays Jane, says, "You want fans to feel satisfied."
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From left: Christoph Waltz, director David Yates, Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou

It was all Hollywood and Vine on Monday as Warner Bros. premiered The Legend of Tarzan, its summer tentpole starring Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie.

After a screening at the Dolby Theatre, guests filed into the Tropicana club at the Roosevelt Hotel, which was dressed up to look like an African jungle with a village in its center (which was erected over the hotel’s covered pool).

On one end of the scene was helmer David Yates, best known for directing four of the Harry Potter films, who was ready to wax philosophically about the current box-office climate.

“It’s a weird time for everybody, and huge movies are struggling,” he noted, as the premiere came off a weekend where Fox’s expensive Independence Day: Resurgence was the latest movie to come up short at the cineplex. “We’re all programmed to look at that first weekend. Did we hit our mark? In the current climate, given how many films have belly-flopped, it’s the wrong way to look at it. Is it valid? Is it good? Are audiences connecting? Those are the questions that should be asked."

Yates was in postproduction on Tarzan, set to open Friday, when he also began working on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Warners' upcoming Harry Potter spinoff that will hit theaters Nov. 18. There were rumors that Tarzan wasn’t getting the attention it deserved, but the filmmaker pooh-poohed the notion.

Tarzan was pretty much in the bag up until we got to the reshoot and we just needed to adjust. Nothing abnormal for these big, complicated, expensive movies,” he said. “Honestly, it was completely manageable. I made these Harry Potter movies on top of each other, I did Deathly Hollows Part 1 and 2 back to back, so I’m used to that work load."

Robbie, meanwhile, was the belle of the ball — or Jane of the jungle, it you will — at the premiere, with admirers and well-wishers constantly circling. The actress has a big summer ahead as she also stars in Warner Bros.’ highly anticipated Suicide Squad, which bows Aug. 5, in which she plays Harley Quinn, one of the most popular DC Comics characters.

“Despite the releases being a month apart, I did do [the Tina Fey comedy] Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in between the two movies,” said Robbie. “The characters are at opposite sides of the spectrum, but I didn’t go straight from Jane into Harley."

And while the actress is very aware of the many comics fans who will be eyeing her portrayal of Quinn closely, she felt no such pressure playing Jane. Robbie explained: “You want to do justice to a well-known story and you want fans to feel satisfied by you recreating it, but we’re doing a modern, very 2016 version of Tarzan.”

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