"Mummy" director unwraps new "Tarzan"

Tue Sep 2, 2008 11:37pm EDT
 
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By Jay A. Fernandez and Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The director of the first two "Mummy" movies is taking a swing at Tarzan.

Stephen Sommers is in negotiations with Warner Bros. to bring a new version of the classic Edgar Rice Burroughs creation "Tarzan, Lord of the Apes," to the big screen.

The project was first announced two years ago with Guillermo del Toro attached to direct. But Sommers will get his shot now that Del Toro is committed to a four-year stint choreographing dwarves in New Zealand for the "Hobbit" movies.

Over the decades, Tarzan has come in for any number of epic treatments, from John Derek's 1981 Jane-driven "Tarzan, the Ape Man," to the 1984 drama "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes," which famously earned pseudonymous screenwriter Robert Towne's dog, P.H. Vazak, an Oscar nomination. Disney released its take on the jungle king in 1999, replete with an incongruous (but Oscar-winning) Phil Collins soundtrack.

Sommers and the project's screenwriter, Stu Beattie ("Collateral"), are developing an entirely new approach, though more details beyond that are being kept under wraps tighter than Tarzan's loincloth.

With the "Mummy" movies, "The Scorpion King" and "Van Helsing," Sommers has become a connoisseur of the big-budget, effects-driven spectacle. He recently finished shooting "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra," which Paramount will release next summer.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter