On the shirtless hunk watch: the Skarsgård Tarzan

The illustration:


From a piece in BuzzFeed yesterday, “the first images of the live-action film, The Legend of Tarzan, have been released and they are quite simply [hot hot hot]” by Kimberley Dadds:

The first official stills, featuring Alexander Skarsgård as the main man Tarzan, were released on Wednesday and they’re heavenly.

(Hat tip to Mike McKinley.)

Skarsgård has always kept himself in great shape, but here his body is extraordinarily (even unnaturally) ripped, along the lines of the photo I posted a couple of days ago of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

Shirtless hunks are a recurrent theme on this blog. In fact, there is a Page on “Shirtless postings”, with the note:

excluded, for the most part: photos of men who are shirtless by virtue of their occupations — pornstars, underwear models, models for male photographers, swimmers and divers, dancers

There are some postings on the Page with photos of men in the generally excluded groups, but mostly the photos there are of actors (like Skarsgård and Jackman) and athletes other than swimmers and divers (tennis players, soccer players, baseball players, etc.).

A note: the adjective ripped in NOAD2:

informal   having well-defined or well-developed muscles; muscular: through his slightly-too-tight shirt you could see he was ripped | they’re going to the gym daily to get buff pecs, ripped abs, and tight buns.

Massive musculature is not necessarily the main point here, but a high level of fitness combined with extremely low bodyfat is, and in today’s world, abs have taken center stage (see the 8/2/13 posting “It’s all about the abs”, with 5 photos from a Hunk of the Month calendar), while in earlier days men focused primarily on their pecs and biceps.

On to Skarsgård and then to Tarzan.

The actor. From Wikipedia:

Alexander Johan Hjalmar Skarsgård (… born August 25, 1976) is a Swedish actor. He is best known for his roles as vampire Eric Northman on the HBO series True Blood, Meekus in Zoolander and Brad Colbert in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. He is the son of Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård.

Ah, the vampire connection; these days, vampirism (like lycanthropy) is associated with intensely sexy masculine shirtlessness.

Here’s Skarsgård, displaying his body and offering an armpit, in a sexy shot from somewhat earlier in his career.


He’s harder-core now, more developed, and scruffier too, as here (where he is, however, fully clothed):


The Tarzan story. From Wikipedia:

Tarzan (John Clayton, Viscount Greystoke) is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani great apes; he later experiences civilization only to largely reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan first appeared in the novel Tarzan of the Apes (magazine publication 1912, book publication 1914), and subsequently in twenty-five sequels, several authorized books by other authors, and innumerable works in other media, both authorized and unauthorized.

… The Internet Movie Database lists 200 movies with Tarzan in the title between 1918 and 2014. The first Tarzan movies were silent pictures adapted from the original Tarzan novels, which appeared within a few years of the character’s creation. The first actor to portray the adult Tarzan was Elmo Lincoln in 1918’s Tarzan Of The Apes. With the advent of talking pictures, a popular Tarzan movie franchise was developed, which lasted from the 1930s through the 1960s. Starting with Tarzan the Ape Man in 1932 through twelve films until 1948, the franchise was anchored by former Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller in the title role. Weissmuller and his immediate successors were enjoined to portray the ape-man as a noble savage speaking broken English, in marked contrast to the cultured aristocrat of Burroughs’s novels.

With the exception of the Burroughs co-produced The New Adventures of Tarzan, this “me Tarzan, you Jane” characterization of Tarzan persisted until the late 1950s, when producer Sy Weintraub, having bought the film rights from producer Sol Lesser, produced Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure followed by eight other films and a television series. The Weintraub productions portray a Tarzan that is closer to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original concept in the novels: a jungle lord who speaks grammatical English and is well educated and familiar with civilization.

… There were also several serials and features that competed with the main franchise, including Tarzan the Fearless (1933) starring Buster Crabbe and The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935) starring Herman Brix.

A poster for the 1933 movie, with Buster Crabbe (another Olympic swimmer, who had a long career in movie serials — as Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers — as well as in single movies):


(I’m very fond of Crabbe, much more than Weismuller.)

The Jane is Jacqueline Wells, who later changed her name to Julie Bishop.

Note that Crabbe is hunky, but mostly in the pecs and biceps (plus big shoulders).

Then to Weissmuller, Tarzan’s New York Adventure (1942):


Cheeta the chimp, Boy (Johnny Sheffield), Weissmuller as Tarzan, Jane (Maureen O’Sullivan)

Well-developed pecs and biceps, powerful shoulders, but no work on the abs.

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