Alexander Skarsgård has been teetering on the verge of movie stardom for a while now, but even as peers like Tom Hardy and Henry Cavill have found their way to comic book tentpoles, Skarsgård’s mostly been alternating between TV roles (Generation Kill, True Blood), indies (Disconnect, What Maisie Knew), and supporting parts in higher-profile pics (Battleship). Not a bad path, but not quite the A-list career his fans have been predicting.

That may be about to change, though. Skarsgård is reportedly the frontrunner to lead David YatesTarzan, WB’s long-gestating adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ classic character. He could be starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson, who’s being considered for another key character. More details, including a plot description, after the jump.

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When you’re coming off four massively lucrative installments of one of the most successful cinematic series of all time, where do you go next? If you’re Harry Potter helmer David Yates, apparently, to the African jungle.

The filmmaker has just committed to Warner Bros.’ live-action Tarzan, one of several films in the works based on Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ character. And he’s wasting no time getting the pieces together, meeting with up-and-coming talents like Henry Cavill, Charlie Hunnam, Alexander Skarsgård, and Tom Hardy for the lead role. More details after the jump.

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Briefly: How do you like your Tarzan? On the page? Maybe in old serial adventure form? Since I saw Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan as a kid, I’m still a bit partial to the serious live-action thing — the Batman Begins version of Tarzan — but maybe you like the Disney animated version. No matter what the answer is, I’m not sure how people will respond to a CG animated version in which Kellan Lutz (Twilight) will perform a mo-capped version of the old Edgar Rice Burroughs character.

There are some updates: Tarzan’s parents are killed in a plane crash, and ultimately the jungle-raised guy comes up against the new CEO of Greystoke Energies, an oh-so modern villain, who even has a mercenary army. Jane will likely be played by Spencer Locke (Resident Evil, Detention), and the character is the daughter of an African guide, and an avid conservationist.

Reinhard Klooss will direct; he wrote with Yoni Brenner and Jessica Postigo. Constantin Films, which produced the Resident Evil films and the recent The Three Musketeers, is making this one, so that should clue you in on what to expect. [THR]

With exactly ten days left until the opening of John Carter, Disney has released what I’m assuming is the final trailer for the film. And while I haven’t loved all of the previous marketing, it appears the team has learned from its mistakes because this is probably the best one they’ve released so far. The new trailer is heavier on menacing Mark Strong, eye-popping action, and plot, and lighter on Taylor Kitsch‘s stilted readings of generic dialogue. Watch the video after the jump.

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We’ve seen what seems like a fair amount of footage from John Carter already, between its various teasers, trailers and TV spots, but today we’ve got a somewhat longer two-and-a-half minute clip to show you — plus another two minutes from a new sizzle reel. The scene sees the titular hero (Taylor Kitsch) and Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) battling white apes in a huge arena, while the reel that includes some new bits we haven’t seen yet. Check it out after the jump.

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Trivia: Tom Cruise Could Have Been ‘John Carter’

John Carter‘s journey to the big screen is, quite possibly, even more interesting than the actual journey the character takes in the story. And that’s saying something when you’re talking about a Civil War hero transported to Mars to fight with nine-foot-tall aliens. The property has gone though dozens of different versions with various stars, filmmakers and even studios hellbent on adapting the influential Edgar Rice Burroughs property for the big screen. Consequently, because it took so long, films that draw heavily on the material, like Star Wars, Blade Runner and Avatar, are all considered to be slightly more innovative than they actually are. (I said “slightly”!)

And while it’s fairly well-documented that filmmakers such as Jon Favreau, Guillermo Del Toro and Robert Rodriguez all tried to tackle John Carter at one point, a pairing that isn’t so well-known is Die Hard director John McTiernan and star Tom Cruise. Yup. They were both interested in the material in the late eighties/early nineties.

After the jump, read what the current film’s producer, Jim Morris, revealed about the pairing and an account of what might have gone wrong. Read More »

One of the major obstacles Disney is currently facing with their massive blockbuster John Carter is explaining how and why this movie, which looks so similar to so many others, was made at all. It’s based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, first published in 1917, that has become so engrained in the popular conscious it has almost lost its identity. Burroughs’ vision was so ahead of its time and influenced so many things that came after, those properties have long since taken ownership. But the fact of the matter is, without John Carter, there’s no Star Wars, no Avatar, no Blade Runner, almost no sci-fi in general.

Aiming to fix some of that, Disney has released a 90-second featurette reintroducing the world to John Carter. They’ve also thrown in a bunch of new footage to sweeten the pot. But not too much. The Andrew Stanton-directed film starring Taylor KitschWillem DafoeMark Strong and others will be released March 9. Check it out after the jump. Read More »

/Film Visits The Set of ‘John Carter’

I visited Mars almost two years ago. It was April 2010 and the film set was in the middle of nowhere. Finding Nemo/WALL-E director Andrew Stanton was making his live-action debut John Carter, a big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘s novel A Princess of Mars. There had been many failed attempts to bring the material to the big screen, but somehow Stanton was able to convince the studio heads to let him be the one to make the adaptation at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Disney flew a group of journalists into the Las Vegas airport, where we boarded a shuttle bus to a location five hours away. A location so far away that we were no longer in Nevada. Located at the center of the Grand Circle, Big Water Utah has a population of only 417 people (which probably explains why you didn’t see many John Carter set photos). The set was located out in the middle of a desert.

You wouldn’t have any idea a big Hollywood production was being shot in town, aside from small yellow signs that read “BARSOOM” which help crew members find the small dirt road which leads to the set. And by set, I mean a few structures which have been constructed on the grey dirt in the middle of these large brown hills made of sandstone. Barsoom, of course, is what the Martians in the books call their home planet.

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