The casting gods are always tricky beasts and you’d be surprised by the way some actors seemingly made for certain roles were not only not the first choice, but essentially lucked out in scoring the part due to extentuating circumstances.
The casting of “True Blood” hunk Alexander Skarsgard in the title role in this month’s “The Legend of Tarzan” seemed to make sense, especially considering the film is more of a sequel to the original novel than a direct adaptation.
However, at one time, the film’s producer Jerry Weintraub had someone else in mind – Olympic champion Michael Phelps. In a new piece in Vanity Fair, Weintraub said he had his eye on Phelps for the part and thought the casting would be a coup for the project: “It’s going to be like Johnny Weissmuller. the reporters are going to say, ‘Weintraub found the new Johnny Weissmuller.'”
There was just one problem – Phelps is an athlete, not an actor. Weintraub’s opinion changed after watching Phelps host SNL: “This isn’t Tarzan! This isn’t Johnny Weissmuller! He’s a goon! Why didn’t anyone tell me he’s a goon? Turn it off. Goddammit, turn it off.”
He has much more praise for actress Margot Robbie who ultimately took the role of Jane: “When I think of Margot Robbie, a single word comes to mind – Audrey Hepburn.” Weintraub passed away during post-production of “The Legend Of Tarzan”.