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Craig Brewer to give ‘Tarzan’ a makeover in planned blockbuster movie
Aims to stay faithful to text but also 'reboot' character
Commercial Appeal, Memphis ~ June 2, 2011
The most famous movie Tarzan was Johnny Weissmuller, the Olympic-swimmer-turned-actor who appeared in 12 Ape Man features between 1932 and 1948. Memphian Craig Brewer is poised to swing from modest budgets and Southern themes into the exotic kingdom of the Hollywood blockbuster as the writer-director of a new movie about one of the most famous and popular heroes in fiction, Tarzan of the Apes. Offering his own variation of the famous Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan yell, Brewer confirmed Thursday that he is developing a new Tarzan movie for Warner Bros.
Brewer, 39, said his film would draw from the writings of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs to present a believable, serious jungle hero, "without necessarily the usual tropes of loincloths and swinging from a vine." The studio hopes a new Tarzan movie could restore the Ape Man to a place of prominence in the pop-culture consciousness and movie marketplace, alongside Harry Potter, Batman and the other fantasy and comic-book heroes who currently dominate cinema schedules.
Brewer said his pitch to Warner Bros., which he made about a month ago, was inspired in part by themes in the early Burroughs novels (before the author introduced dinosaurs and "ant men" into the stories), from "Tarzan of the Apes," which made its debut in All-Story Magazine in 1912, through at least the seventh book, "Tarzan the Untamed," published in 1920 and set during World War I.
"That's a fascinating time in Africa's history," Brewer said. "The books and the early films are kind of a result of this idea of the 'romance of colonialism,' but there was a darker side that wasn't always shown." In the Tarzan saga, "I just saw a story and a tapestry that would really be respectful to the original literature but could, in a sense, reboot the character," he said. "It could be a great epic tale of a man who is trying to reconnect to the love of his life, who is Jane, and his home, which is Africa."
"Tarzan the Untamed," for example, features a vengeful Ape Man, motivated by the apparent death of his wife, Jane. The romantic, desperate heart of such a storyline would connect it to Brewer's previous films, "Hustle & Flow" (2005) and "Black Snake Moan" (2007). Brewer's remake of "Footloose," set to open in theaters Oct. 14, also begins with tragedy and heartbreak.
Tarzan is rivaled only by Sherlock Holmes and Count Dracula as the most popular character in film history. Close to 100 Tarzan movies have been produced, from "Tarzan of the Apes" with Elmo Lincoln in 1918 to the Disney cartoon "Tarzan" in 1999. The critically reviled 1981 release "Tarzan, the Ape Man" starred Memphis' Miles O'Keeffe in the title role, but most of the publicity at the time focused on the nude scenes featuring Jane, played by Bo Derek.
Memphis also was home to the late Darrell C. Richardson, a Burroughs scholar who owned an extensive collection of paintings and drawings by such original Tarzan artists as J. Allen St. John. The most famous Tarzan, of course, is Weissmuller, the Olympic-swimmer-turned-movie star who appeared in 12 beloved Tarzan features from 1932 to 1948.
The first few Weissmuller movies were glossy, big-budget MGM productions. However, the Weissmuller depiction of Tarzan as a monosyllabic man-child who palled around the jungle with an adopted son named Boy and a chimp named Cheeta bore little resemblance to the sophisticated, cultured and polysyllabic hero of the Burroughs books, who was revealed to be an English heir, Lord Greystoke, raised from infancy by the she-ape, Kala, after his parents died in the African jungle.
Although the Tarzan of the novels is a friend to all nonvillainous people, the books contain racist and imperialistic elements that make direct adaptations difficult. The suggestion in the novels that a transplanted white Westerner would become Africa's greatest hero has been something of a stumbling block to previous attempts to revive Tarzan for modern audiences. However, this is in essence the same idea behind James Cameron's "Avatar," the biggest box-office hit of all time. Warner Bros. last attempted a major Tarzan movie in 1984. "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes," with Christopher Lambert, was directed by Hugh Hudson, after his 1981 "Chariots of Fire" won the Oscar for Best Picture. Jane was portrayed in the film by Andie MacDowell, who appears in Brewer's "Footloose."
Brewer hopes to write his new Tarzan script swiftly, in the next couple of months. If studio executives approve the script, shooting could begin as early as next year, the Tarzan centennial. If Warner Bros. goes ahead with the movie, the project would represent a major leap for Brewer in terms of cost, publicity and production difficulty, not to mention remuneration. Presumably, much of the film would be shot on location outside the U.S. Previous Tarzan films have been shot in Africa, Brazil, Mexico and even India.~ Commercial Appeal, Memphis
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Kissing (Germany), June 7, 2011– The musical “Tarzan”, currently running at the Stage Theater “Neue Flora” in Hamburg, is one of Germany’s most spectacular musicals at the present time. For almost half of the time of the show, the actors are in the air, swinging over the heads of the audience on nylon ropes disguised as lianas – and held safely by reliable stage technology from Pfaff-silberblau. The entire upper stage machinery at the musical theaters in Hamburg contains individually produced and expertly installed lifting technology bearing the Pfaff-silberblau brand, from the product range offered by Columbus McKinnon Engineered Products GmbH, Kissing.
Swinging through the jungle with Pfaff-silberblau
Stage technology from Kissing is the secret behind spectacular flying scenes
in the “Tarzan” musical at the Stage Theater “Neue Flora” in Hamburg
The secret behind the actors’ seemingly effortless swinging on the liana ropes is a total of five flying systems above the stage and three flight paths of up to 30 meters in length running above the audience seating, by means of which Tarzan actor Alexander Klaws and his supporting cast cover up to 20 meters in height difference. Over 7,000 meters of extremely tough mountaineering rope, moved and secured by reliable, high-performance DELTA winches from Pfaff-silberblau, give a quality of near-weightlessness to the actors’ acrobatic musical performance. Taking care of safety in the “Neue Flora” theater is the job of the tried-and-tested heavy-duty winches produced by the stage technology specialist from Kissing: Even when idle, they sustain a load of up to 1,800 kg a great deal longer than other standard winches and therefore meet the extremely strict safety requirements for use in theaters.
Pfaff-silberblau installed both the flying systems in the Hamburg theater and a total of 25 launching points from which the actors jump in order to swing across the stage on ropes. Even the lighting technicians have the specialists from Kissing to thank for their safe positions, and have been equipped with their own workstations and repositioned nests in the auditorium. Numerous fly bar hoists in the upper machinery above the stage – which consist, among other elements, of a DELTA winch, rope pulleys and a load bar from Pfaff-silberblau – hold and move the scenery; their position can be adjusted flexibly on rails.
The team of Pfaff-silberblau engineers realized the project, including the steelwork, in a near-record time of just two weeks.
See our many pages on the
Premiere of Tarzan the Musical in Hamburg
"Tarzan" swings to Warsaw
Wagon Wheel production boasts new script, character
Journal Gazette ~ June 5, 2011
Disney’s “Tarzan,” the stage musical based on the animated hit, will make its regional debut Wednesday at the Ramada Wagon Wheel Theatre in Warsaw. The Wagon Wheel is the first non-equity theater in the country to produce the musical since it closed on Broadway in July 2007. The Wagon Wheel production will feature a version of the script that has never been seen anywhere before, says the theater’s marketing director, Will Dawson.
The Broadway run was known for elaborate acrobatics and stunt work. The Wagon Wheel version will be somewhat scaled down, says Brian Martin, who plays Lord Greystoke, aka Tarzan. “Our director, Scott Michaels, believes the flying elements and the huge production (in the original staging of the show) took away from the beautiful story that ‘Tarzan’ is,” he says. “That being said,” interjects Alex Finke, who plays Jane, “people climb all over the set (in our version) and there are vines to swing on.”
Martin is a Wyoming native who is attending Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., and Finke is a Dayton native attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. They have gathered in Warsaw, as top-flight acting talent always does each summer, for a chance to emote and sing in some of the best musical theater this region has to offer. Martin says it is “exciting to take on an iconic role. I am just eager to have a chance to embody the strong, athletic, charming guy that he is. That’s mostly what I am excited for.”
There is certainly a greater possibility in “Tarzan” for minor injury than there is in “The Importance of Being Earnest” and Martin says he has already suffered his share. But, “pain is beauty,” is how Martin looks at it. The role of Tarzan requires him to appear almost naked on stage, but even a casual glance at Martin while clothed lets a person know that he probably has nothing to worry about. “I am very comfortable in my skin,” he says. Martin says he loves the dreadlock wig designed by Jennifer Dow so much, he may try to grow dreadlocks himself.
For Finke’s part, she mostly has to appear in a Victorian dress, a prospect that has her giddy. “The way (costume designer Stephen R. Hollenbeck) fits everything to your body is beautiful,” she says. The simian characters in the show are approximated “Cats”-style, Martin says, with a unitard base and ape-like accents. He says they are more “like a representation of apes.” Finke says “they embody the sprit of the animal.”
Martin says he and many of his fellow cast members have had to take classes in ape behavior. Tarzan’s lack of acquaintanceship with the English language at first means Jane does most of the talking herself. But Finke says Tarzan, aka Martin, speaks volumes through body language. Unlike most of the venerable theatrical properties that regional theaters produce, this “Tarzan” is still very much in flux. Martin and Finke say they received an entirely new script on the first day of rehearsal with a new character that, obviously, hadn’t even been cast yet. The dramaturge from Disney will be in the audience of one of the shows to see what works and what doesn’t.
8 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, June 15, 16, 17 and 18; 7 p.m. Thursday and June 14; 2 p.m. June 12 and 16
Where: Ramada Wagon Wheel Theatre, 2517 E. Center St., Warsaw
Richard Rodgers Theatre ~ NYC
2006 Debut on Broadway
Tuacahn Amphitheatre ~ Utah
2010: All Sell-Out Performances
Station Casinos Gives Aristocrat's New Tarzan® Lord of the JungleTM Video Slot
a Jungle-Sized Welcome at 10 Properties as Game Makes Las Vegas Local Debut
New Game Debuts June 7th With Chance to Win $250,000
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ERB, Inc. President Jim Sullos with
Dejah, Linda and Llana Jane Burroughs
Film Tarzan Denny Miller meets Vegas Tarzan
TARZAN SWINGS INTO VEGAS
ERB IN PRINT
ERB's Mars Trilogy Now Available at Amazon
Let the adventures begin, as Captain John Carter finds himself transported to the alien landscape of Mars--where the low gravity increases his speed and strength exponentially. Taken prisoner by Martian warriors, he impresses them with his remarkable fighting skills, and quickly rises to a high-ranking chieftain. But the heroic Carter's powers thrust him right in the middle of a deadly war raging across the planet--and a dangerous romance with a divine princess.
About the Author
Author Andy Briggs launches new Tarzan book in Kilsyth
Cumbernauld News ~ May 25, 2011
KILSYTH was the scene for the relaunch of one of popular culture’s most famous heroes last week. It might be a far cry from the deepest darkest Congo, but nevertheless Tarzan, Lord of the Apes has had his career revived right here with the launch of a new book.
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the original Tarzan stories between 1912 and 1965. Wanting to celebrate the forthcoming centenary, the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate agreed to allow author and screenwriter Andy Briggs to “reboot” the character, bringing him up to date for a new generation of readers. But rather than a glitzy affair in London the book’s official launch was secured by small independent bookstore Scotia Books following meetings at industry events. Andy was keen to promote his books in Scotland and accepted an invitation from Scotia to launch his book with them. A tour of local schools followed with Andy meeting pupils and talking about Tarzan.
“Everyone knew who Tarzan is, he’s a big part of popular culture,” said Andy. “Most were familiar with the Disney version but didn’t know much about the other screen versions. “Certainly they’d never cracked open one of Burroughs’ books and read that.” And this, says lifelong Tarzan fan Andy, is why it was important to bring Tarzan up to date.
“He is still the Lord of Greystoke, and Lady Jane is still there too, but now she has an iPod and Facebook and is much more like the people who will read the story. Tarzan himself is also different - much as the Batman films changed him from the camp ‘60s version to something much darker, I have made Tarzan far darker, very animalistic.” The setting is also very much today’s Congo. “It is rife with illegal diamond mining, constant warfare and deforestation, a place full of danger which makes it the perfect setting for Tarzan,” said Andy.
Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy is available everywhere, including Kindle, and donations from every sale going to the EAZA Ape Campaign. This seeks to help save critically endangered ape species from poachers, disease and habitat loss.
Warlord of Mars - Dynamite Comic #10
Cover art by Joe Jusko
Warlord of Mars - Dynamite Comic #10
Cover art by Parrillo
Warlord of Mars - Dynamite Comic #10
Cover art by Sadowski
Warlord of Mars - Dynamite Comic #11
Cover art by Joe Jusko
ERB COMICS ENCYCLOPEDIA
Tarzan on Mars . . . mmm
ERB Autograph Card from 1921
Olympic Star Johnny Weissmuller in 1924 - before Tarzan
Maureen O'Sullivan sketch by Chip Monk
ERB Artist Encyclopedia
Jeffrey Catherine Jones, celebrated artist whose work is best known from the late 1960s through 2000s was born Jeffrey Durwood Jones, in Atlanta, Georgia and died May 19, 2011 at home at the age of 67. Jones moved to New York City in 1967, and rapidly developed a reputation as an exquisite illustrator and graphic artist, painting over 150 book covers and creating the full-page comic strips Idyl for National Lampoon Magazine and Im Age for Heavy Metal.
JEFFREY CATHERINE JONES OBITUARY
In the 1976, Jones joined Michael Kaluta, Berni Wrightson, and Barry Windsor-Smith in The Studio, a group of artists who helped redefine modern book and comic book illustration. In 1976 Jones was awarded the Yellow Kid award from the Italian International Comics and Cartooning Exhibition. By 1986, when Jones received the World Fantasy Award in Art for Best Artist, he had moved away from commercial art to pursue fine art painting. Jones most recently received the Spectrum 2006 Grand Master Award.
Jones has been called a genius whose works appeared both effortless in execution and blinding in their beauty. World-renowned illustrator Frank Frazetta called him "the greatest living painter". Jones began gender reassignment therapy in 1998 after which Jones lived as Jeffrey Catherine Jones. Her studio was in the Catskill Mountains where she painted local landscapes. She continued drawing until her death.
Jones' work has been in continuous publication and her work is shown and enjoyed around the world. The documentary Better Things: Life & Choices of Jeffrey Jones is in production from Macab Films. She is survived by her daughter Julianna Jones Muth, and three grandchildren, Nikolai Muth, Adelaine Muth, and Merryn Arms. A memorial to celebrate Jones life and recognize her death, will be held on Friday, May 27th, from 6-9pm at Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home, 411 Albany Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Hero Initiative, 11301 Olympic Blvd., #587, Los Angeles, CA 90064.
ERBzine 0863: I AM A BARBARIAN
Tarzan and football in Algiers
Signs of an obsession with English football are everywhere in Algiers
- but does this indicate that other Western influences
such as democracy and the free market might be on their way?
BBC News, Algiers ~ May 21, 2011
I do not think I have given a thought to Tarzan of the Apes since the long-distant day when my voice broke and I realised I would never be able to impersonate his yodelling, ululating war cry. It was very much the fashion to try when I was growing up. In fact, his call was synthesized from the voices of an operatic soprano, a contralto and an Alabama hog-caller, so it is probably just as well that I gave up.
Tarzan is the scion of a noble British family who ends up being raised by West African jungle apes as one of their own. He develops the muscular prowess of a gorilla and the manners of a British aristocrat - although I always thought he would be a more interesting character if it had been the other way around. He had not crossed my mind for nearly 40 years, but I had not been in Algiers for more than an hour before he cropped up twice in conversation. “ Tarzan is not of the cloth from which good diversity officers are cut, being wearingly given to racial generalisation ”
Apparently, Hollywood producers of the 1930s used the city's botanical gardens in place of the real West African rainforest to shoot at least one of his adventures. You can see the attraction. The gardens do look a bit like a jungle and in the colonial 1930s the luxurious hotels of the old French city were near at hand with their snowy napkins and sunny balconies. An improbable relationship was born.
In one of the later novels, of which I now have a copy, Tarzan visits Algeria, and I found myself in the long, humid sleepless nights following his voyage of discovery in parallel with our own. The book has not dated well, it would be fair to say. Tarzan is not of the cloth from which good diversity officers are cut, being wearingly given to racial generalisation. The French are impulsive, Arabs do not like foreigners, and so on. He is also better in the small handful of situations which can be solved by hitting other people, rather than in the greater number which call for more subtle analytical skills. More>>>
© BBC 2011
The Word of the Day:
clew \KLOO\ noun
1 : a ball of thread, yarn, or cord
2 : clue
3 a : a lower corner or only the after corner of a sail
b : a metal loop attached to the lower corner of a sail
"They had followed immediately behind him, thinking his actions might prove a clew to my whereabouts...." -- From Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel A Princess of Mars, 1917
"I crawled back and slacked the halyard a foot or two, dropping the sail. Out again to snap loose a couple of hanks, pull the clew in, and pack it behind the rail at the forepeak." -- From Brogan Steele's 2010 book From the Jaws of Death: Extreme True Adventures of Man Vs. Nature
Did you know?
The "ball of thread" meaning of "clew" (from Middle English "clewe" and ultimately from Old English "cliewen") has been with us since before the 12th century. In Greek mythology, Ariadne gave a ball of thread to Theseus so that he could use it to find his way out of her father's labyrinth. This, and similar tales, gave rise to the use of "clew" for anything that could guide a person through a difficult place. This use led in turn to the meaning "a piece of evidence that leads one toward the solution of a problem." Today, the spelling variant "clue," which appeared in the 16th century, is the more common spelling variant for the "evidence" sense, but you'll find "clew" in some famous works of literature. "Clew" is also the only choice for the sailing senses.Follow Merriam-Webster Editor at Large Peter Sokolowski on Twitter.
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A Definitive List of Science Fiction
Rank Year Title Author
1 1953 Demolished Man, The Bester, Alfred
2 1953 More Than Human Sturgeon, Theodore
3 1965 Dune Herbert, Frank
4 1951 Foundation Trilogy, The Asimov, Isaac
5 1960 Canticle for Leibowitz, A Miller, Walter M.
6 1968 Stand on Zanzibar Brunner, John
7 1969 Left Hand of Darkness, The Le Guin, Ursula K.
8 1895 Time Machine, The Wells, H. G.
9 1898 War of the Worlds, The Wells, H. G.
10 1953 Childhood's End Clarke, Arthur C.
11 1950 Martian Chronicles, The Bradbury, Ray
12 1953 Space Merchants, The Pohl & Kornbluth
13 1957 Stars My Destination, The Bester, Alfred
14 1970 Ringworld Niven, Larry
15 1974 Dispossesed, The Le Guin, Ursula K.
16 1949 1984 Orwell, George
17 1952 City Simak, Clifford
18 1954 Mission of Gravity Clement, Hal
19 1962 Man in the High Castle, The Dick, Philip K.
20 1932 Brave New World Huxley, Aldous
21 1956 City and the Stars, The Clarke, Arthur C.
22 1961 Stranger in a Strange Land Heinlein, Robert A.
23 1971 To Your Scattered Bodies Go Farmer, Philip Jose
24 1973 Rendezvous with Rama Clarke, Arthur C.
25 1975 Forever War, The Haldeman, Joe
26 1977 Gateway Pohl, Frederik
27 1930 Last and First Men Stapledon, Olaf
28 1948 World of Null-A, The Van Vogt, A. E.
29 1953 Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury, Ray
30 1958 Case of Conscience, A Blish, James
31 1962 Hothouse Aldiss, Brian
32 1966 Moon is a Harsh Mistress, The Heinlein, Robert A.
33 1966 Flowers for Algernon Keyes, Daniel
34 1972 Dying Inside Silverberg, Robert
35 1937 Star Maker Stapledon, Olaf
36 1946 Slan Van Vogt, A. E.
37 1949 Humanoids, The Williamson, Jack
38 1962 Clockwork Orange, A Burgess, Anthony
39 1963 Way Station Simak, Clifford
40 1968 Camp Concentration Disch, Thomas
41 1980 Timescape Benford, Gregory
42 1818 Frankenstein Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
43 1949 Earth Abides Stewart, George R.
44 1967 Lord of Light Zelazny, Roger
45 1980 Book of the New Sun, The Wolfe, Gene
46 1917 Princess of Mars, A Burroughs, Edgar Rice
47 1924 We Zamiatin, Yevgeny
48 1968 Do Androids Dream of Electri... Dick, Philip K.
49 1970 Solaris Lem, Stanislaw
50 1981 Downbelow Station Cherryh, C. J.
Classics of Science Fiction
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