Legend of Tarzan hit theaters this weekend and is a film that was helped made possible by Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson. You may be curious how all of that came about… I know I was… so when I had a chance to interview Mr. Richardson last month I asked him that very question. This is just part of the interview, the whole thing will be in the next Bleeding Cool Magazine.
DW: You are an executive producer on the new The Legend of Tarzan film that stars Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie and Samuel L. Jackson. How did you and Dark Horse become involved I the film and how is it different than other versions of Tarzan we’ve seen?
MIKE RICHARDSON: It came about because of my friendship with Danton Burroughs, who is Edgar Rice Burroughs grandson. We’ve talked about many things we’ve wanted to do and I told him that we would do Tarzan the right way. People who only know Tarzan through the existing films and not the novels only know a distorted version of the character. Tarzan was fluent in multiple languages, was educated and the heir to a fortune. Not the ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane’ version that was made famous by the Johnny Weiswmuller films. Those movies are fine but they don’t represent the literary character. My intent was to do a Tarzan that did justice to the original books.
Initially there was an unfinished manuscript written by Burroughs that Danton had never released before. There were some issues with the book that arose through the culture at the time. I promised Danton we would correct those issues and we did. The book was a success and over the years we published a number of Edgar Rice Burroughs characters and Danton always trusted us.
I was then called by Alan Riche who told me Warner Bros might be interested in a Tarzan film. He knew that I knew Danton and asked if I thought I could get the rights. I went to Danton who gave us the authority to sell it to Warner Bros. We spent about 10 years working on it. Dark Horse was instrumental in putting together a script that finally did the character justice and that the studio was excited to make.
I think the film is the most accurate Tarzan film made as far as the character and I think it’s a really terrific movie that people will enjoy. I hope so after 12 years of trying to get it made.