When growing up Alexander Skarsgard thought Tarzan was the ultimate superhero.
Sure, the king of the jungle couldn’t shoot spiderwebs from his wrists or laser beams from his eyes. But he didn’t need special mutations or gadgets. He was willing to take on any beast or man, equipped only with his biceps.
Skarsgard and his father, the actor Stellan Skarsgard, would spend hours watching old black-and-white Tarzan movies together when he was little.
They were meaningful to Stellan, who’d grown up watching the films starring Johnny Weissmuller at Saturday matinees in Sweden. So when, just shy of 40 years old, Alex was offered the chance to play the character in a big-budget adaptation, he knew he had to do it. He had to make his dad proud.
But his father’s reaction to the news was, uh, a tad surprising/not entirely supportive.
“I laughed,” recalled Stellan, 65, calling from his native country. “And he laughed too. It was not meaningful at all. It was extremely comic. I can’t explain my kid being Johnny Weissmuller. But I’m sure it’s great. He’s a much better actor than Johnny Weissmuller.”