Friday, 8 July 2016

The Legend Of Tarzan: No Kissing!

Summer blockbusters. Don’t you just love them? With their eye-popping special effects, their breakneck action sequences and their weighty ruminations on the nature of racial politics and indigenous exploitation in the Congo Free State during the reign of King Leopold II of Belgium.

Oh yes. The new $180 million (£140 million) Warner Bros blockbuster The Legend of Tarzan is not your typical piece of pop ephemera. Nor is it close to any Tarzan you might recognise from nearly 100 years of faithful Edgar Rice Burroughs screen adaptations, all inevitably featuring butch white men in loin cloths, cowardly black people with bones through their noses and prissy, civilising female sidekicks...

Better still, there’s gay stuff here too. Waltz’s character Rom, for instance, has a moment where he goes all aquiver in front of Jane while thinking about Tarzan’s base nature. “Your husband’s wildness disturbs me more than I can easily express,” he says, almost drooling. Yates acknowledges the homoerotic subtext, and admits that they shot a stolen kiss between Rom and Tarzan (the latter is unconscious at the time), but removed it before the final edit. “We pared it back because it was almost too much,” he says. “It was this really odd, odd moment when Christoph kisses him. And we loved it at the time. But early test audiences were perplexed by it, and in the end it just felt too clever and overworked.”

The Times. 


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