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Tarzan stars hoping film will shed light on historic oppression


Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie promoting The Legend Of Tarzan in London

Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie promoting The Legend Of Tarzan in London

Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie promoting The Legend Of Tarzan in London

Margot Robbie praised director David Yates for not shying away from darker themes of colonialism and exploitation in new film The Legend Of Tarzan.

The action-adventure is a reboot of Edgar Rice Burroughs famous tale, in which Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) is called back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary for the British Parliament after years of living among English aristocracy as Lord Greystoke.

Back in the jungle, he is caught in a deadly plot masterminded by Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) who is overseeing diamond mining in the area on Belgian King Leopold's orders.

As she walked the red carpet in London's Leicester Square for the film's European premiere, Robbie, who plays Tarzan's wife Jane, said she hoped audiences would investigate more into the bloody past of King Leopold's founding and exploitation of the Congo Free State in 1885 after watching it.

Speaking about Yates's success at tackling the dark themes in the action-adventure, she said: "It's always nice to know that maybe the film you're working on could have a positive impact other than just providing entertainment, so if even one out of 20 people google King Leopold and make themselves familiar with what happened, then we've got something positive from it."

Djimon Hounsou, who stars as Chief Mbonga in the film, similarly praised Yates' ability to "diplomatically and subtly address some of those issues of colonialism and the indoctrination of that country (that happened) for a long, long time".

Yates said that he wanted audiences to ask questions about a period of history he said was "washed away".

He said: "I like the contradiction of making a movie that's out there for a big general audience to watch that also has a trojan horse in the middle of it, a piece of politics that very few of us really know about.

"I certainly didn't know anything before I started to make the film and it opened my eyes to a period that is kind of washed away. It isn't a polemic, we wanted to make an entertaining film but that politics exists within the film.

"Some (viewers) will only take it at face, some will ask questions about that period of history."

Skarsgard and Waltz also walked the red carpet in London, where filming for the movie took place.

The Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, was transformed into the lush rainforests of the Congo, with a working waterfall built on set and CGI used to create all the animals.

:: The Legend Of Tarzan is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday.

PA Media