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G.I. Joe director talks sequel and Tarzan remake

Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on August 8, 2009

Caspar van Dien as Tarzan

Caspar van Dien as Tarzan

By David Bentley – CoventryTelegraph.net

WITH HIS new action-packed sci-fi flick G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra opening this weekend, director Stephen Sommers already has a sequel in mind.

And he’s also set to direct a remake of Tarzan, based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ famous ape-man most recently seen on screen in live-action form in 1984’s Greystoke (starring Christopher Lambert) and 1999’s Tarzan and the Lost City (pictured here, with Caspar van Dien in the lead role).

CineFOOLS reports that when Sommers was asked if the G.I. Joe cast were locked in for a sequel, he said “Yes, they are. Next summer.”

Of course it also depends on how the first film performs and Sommers told SuperheroHype he was all set to do a follow-up if Paramount gave it the green light. “I’ll take August off, but then sure, I’m right back in there”, he said.

So, where would the next film take us? Sommers said: “Larry Hama, who gave me the comic books, gave me a lot of the mythology of it. There’s so much more to tell just about these characters and where their relationships go.

“I think that even though this movie has a beginning, a middle and an end, you still want to know what’s going to happen to them. You want to know more about these characters which is the best thing about it. As great as the action is and all the special effects, I think people really fall in love with these characters. The key is that I have a lot of ideas and there’s a G.I. Joe mythology. If we get to do a sequel, there’s a lot more to tell.”

He also spoke about his Tarzan remake for Warner Bros: “It will be live action but we’ll contemporise it. It’ll still be a period movie, but it’s almost like The Mummy, it took place in Ancient Egypt and the 20s and 30s, but it felt more contemporary, that sort of deal.

“We’ll just stick with the book. What I want to make is our idealised version of a Tarzan movie. Seeing a guy talking to apes didn’t work 30 years ago with Greystoke so it won’t work now.”

The remake is being written by G.I. Joe screenwriter Stuart Beattie, who also worked on 30 Days of Night, Australia and the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Beattie was recently asked about the Tarzan project by Collider and said: “It’s at Warner Brothers. They’re deciding how much money… there’s like a battle over the budget of that. People do it one way, studio wants it another way and they’re just trying to find a middle ground.”

He said it could be Sommers’ next project if the budget was agreed.

Explaining his take on the story, he said: “It’s a period [story]. Tarzan, I think, is probably the most filmed story of all, so our belief in doing a Tarzan movie today was you couldn’t go tell the raised-by-gorillas and loincloths and ‘Me Tarzan and You Jane’ story because it’s been done so much and it’s just not interesting anymore.

“So it was much more big romantic action-adventure film with supernatural stuff and witch doctors and lots of really fun stuff.

“And mythic Africa, like that deep dark heart of Africa stuff, you know, where the trees are twice as big and the vines stretched forever and the canopy is a whole world in itself and just really cool-looking place to spend a couple of hours.”

He said it would be “big, fun summer spectacle” and would be set in 1932 or 1933.

Back in December 2006, it was announced by Variety that Guillermo del Toro was in line to make a live-action Tarzan movie.

Del Toro said at that time: “I’d love to create a new version that is still a family movie, but as edgy as I can make it. There are strong themes of survival of a defenseless child left behind in the most hostile environment.”

John Collee (Master and Commander) was in talks to write the screenplay but Del Toro’s commitment to The Hobbit put him out of the running and Sommers replaced him in September 2008.

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