If athletes weren't brave enough to star in films, we wouldn't have the fantastic piece of cinema art that is Space Jam. There would be no Kazaam, which is a gift or a curse depending on how you see it. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar once fought Bruce Lee in 1978's Game of Death and coached Jim Varney in Slam Dunk Ernest. Yeah, that was a thing. Soon, however, Michael Phelps may be joining the ranks of athlete turned actor with the news that he is in talks to star as the ape-man Tarzan in a new remake from Warner Bros.
Having an Olympic swimmer portray Tarzan is no new thing, however. Back in the 20's, MGM snagged Johnny Weissmuller, a swimmer with five medals and sixty seven records under his speedo, to play the famous literary character for twelve films. The studio has yet to solidify anything, but the David Yates (director of Harry Potters 5-8) helmed project has expressed interest in the record-shattering athlete. Already Phelps is set to participate in a Golf Network produced series, The Haney Project, which will see him being trained by famed golf coach Hank Haney who also worked with Tiger Woods and Ray Romano on their game. Watch him succeed at that too.
Initially, the idea of Michael Phelps being on camera for prolonged periods of time seemed a bit wince-worthy. Interviews he's done don't exactly set him up as the most eloquent orator; he acts and speaks like an athlete, which is far from anything negative. I suppose, though, the role of jungle man Tarzan is mostly comprised of grunts and huffs, so his physical presence should be enough to carry him through. I just can't wait to see his interpretation of the guttural cry while he beats his chest. Priceless.