There’s no denying that 39-year-old True Blood star Alexander Skarsgård is hot, but for his lead jungle-centric role in The Legend of Tarzan, the actor has everyone seriously breaking into a sweat. In the first image (below) from the highly anticipated 2016 iteration of writer Edgar Rice Burroughs’s classic story, Skarsgård proudly flaunts his well-defined abs, toned physique, and tan complexion in a rainforest downpour that we’re sure will become a favorite scene for all.
So, how exactly did the Hollywood favorite transform for the role? Director David Yates thought Skarsgård’s height (he stands at 6’4”) was perfect. “Tarzan needs muscles, but it’s more a leaner, longer, more vertical modern man than the square-jawed stereotype we’re used to,” Yates told USA Today. To get into full Tarzan shape, the actor reportedly spent four months focusing on training. “I basically didn’t see my family or my friends,” he revealed, admitting that the tough process “was definitely worth getting up at 4:30 in the morning.”
According to both Yates and Skarsgård, the motion picture is different from previous versions of the story. “It’s almost the opposite of the classic tale, where it’s about taming the beast,” he told USA Today. “This is about a man who’s holding back and slowly as you peel off the layers, he reverts back to a more animalistic state and lets that side of his personality out.”
The Legend of Tarzan hits theaters on July 1, 2016.