The Legend of Tarzan opens Friday in the United States. Samuel L. Jackson stars as a soldier who eventually joins Tarzan on a return trip to the place where the ape-man grew up: Africa. Jackson’s role is based on the real-life George Washington Williams, who strategically made up things about himself to achieve certain goals.

The 67-year-old actor said Wednesday on Good Morning America that the historical figure lied about his age in order to get in the army and fight in the Civil War. After going through that experience, Williams fought in the Mexican-American war and even managed to get into the Congo and expose the actions of King Leopold by pretending he was an emissary for the President or the United States government, as Jackson explained on the TV show.

The Legend of Tarzan
The Legend of Tarzan opens Friday and Samuel L. Jackson stars as a soldier based on George Washington Williams who eventually joins Tarzan on a return trip to the place where the ape-man grew up: Africa. Credit:

Leopold is shown as a colonialist evil and Williams appears in London persuading Lord Greystoke (the civilized and wealthy Tarzan) to accompany him to Africa to find out what Leopold is actually doing there.

Jackson, who thinks Williams was a “really interesting man” in the history of America, said he hoped moviegoers would be interested in finding more out about the soldier’s life and about what King Leopold did in the Congo.

The actor also opened up about his recent BET Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I was a little shaky up there. You don’t normally get awards like that,” Jackson said on the television show. “To realize I’ve had some kind of impact in this business and on a lot of people’s lives, it’s really wonderful to walk around the world and people say, ‘I really love your work.’ Not just say, ‘I like you,’ but ‘I love your work.’ That means that I’ve done my job and entertained a lot of people.”

The new version of Tarzan’s story

Directed by David Yates, this movie might be the best live-action Tarzan film released in a long time. It is set at the beginning of the colonization by Belgian King Leopold II in the Congo in the 1880s. The Legend of Tarzan is Yates’ first directorial outing since the last Harry Potter installment. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Potter follow-up, also directed by him, opens Nov. 18.

The muscular wild child is shown with giant apes who teach him the ropes long before he travels to England to awkwardly assume his new life as a wealthy man, played by Alexander Skarsgård. Tarzan marries to the blonde and beautiful Jane (Margot Robbie) and then engages in the cause of fighting Leopold’s enslavement of locals and exploitation of his colony located in central Africa. The main character eventually defends with all of his heart his boyhood home and everyone he grew up with.

The Jane of this story was also raised in Africa. She was born in America and is a sharp-minded woman who has a deep connection with the culture and the people she grew up with.

It will be interesting to see how the global audience welcomes the new perspective of this tale. The most financially successful among the modern versions of the story still is Disney’s animated 1999 Tarzan and Hugh Hudson’s 1984 Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, remains as the most serious.

Alexander Skarsgard and his role as his father’s favorite character

The Swedish actor told Men’s Health magazine in an interview that he wanted to impress his father Stellan Skarsgard, who not only is a big fan of Tarzan but is also a man who started a famous acting dynasty. He is best known for portraying Bootstrap Bill in Pirates of the Caribbean and also for his role as Doctor Erik Selvig in Thor and The Avengers.

The widely acclaimed 65-year-old actor introduced Alexander to the lord of the jungle, as his son told the magazine. His other sons Bill, Gustaf, Sam, and Valter are also in the entertainment industry, but Alexander is the most famous thanks to his role as vampire Eric Northman on True Blood.

Bill appeared on the TV series Hemlock Grove and is set to perform Pennywise the evil clown in the big screen adaptation of It by Stephen King. Gustaf played Floki in History Channel’s Vikings, and Sam and Valter are best known for screen vehicles in Sweden.

Alexander, 39, revealed in the interview for the magazine’s August issue that he was mostly concerned about not looking too muscly because that would not have been natural.

“I wanted to get bigger than I was. But I didn’t want to look like a body-builder. It was important that every single fiber and every muscle was there for a reason. In the wild, everything has a purpose, otherwise nature gets rid of it,” he told Men’s Health.

He will first appear as the man who has spent several years far away from the jungle with his beloved wife, knowledgeable Jane. His role as the legendary figure promises to propel him to super-stardom worldwide.

Source: ABC News