Alexander Skarsgard Ate 7,000 Calories A Day To Prepare For Tarzan

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With an all-star cast, a talented director, and a $180 million production budget, Warner Bros. was hoping The Legend of Tarzan would set off some fireworks during this Independence Day box office weekend. Its $38.1M three-day total was good enough for second-place and came in higher than the low $30 million it was projected to do. How well (or poorly) the film performs going forward will largely hinge on how audiences respond to Alexander Skarsgard's performance in the title role.

In order to get his body in tip-top shape to play the muscle-bound King of the Jungle, the 39-year-old actor began an intense diet and exercise program three months before filming. He consumed 7,000 calories a day, which is three times his usual intake, and lifted heavy weights.

Mr Porter reports: "Once he got to the green screens of Warner Bros’ Studios in Leavesden, just outside London, for eight weeks of preparation followed by four months of filming, he embarked on a very strict sugar-, gluten-, wheat-, dairy- and alcohol-free diet of six smaller meals per day alongside his twice-daily training sessions in order to chisel his eight-pack."

Even his co-star Margot Robbie sympathized with Skarsgard's bland, no thrills diet. "I remember the day that he was allowed an apple, and he kissed the apple," Robbie told EW . "It hit me how deprived you are if you're that excited to see a piece of fruit."

It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Margot Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Captain Leon Rom (Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.

Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) stars in the title role, and he's joined by Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, the Captain America films), Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad), Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Gladiator), Oscar nominee John Hurt (The Elephant Man, the Harry Potter films), with Oscar winner Jim Broadbent (Iris), and two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained).

David Yates (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) directed The Legend of Tarzan from a screenplay by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer, story by Brewer and Cozad based on the Tarzan stories created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Jerry Weintraub produced the film, together with David Barron, Alan Riche and Tony Ludwig. Susan Ekins, Nikolas Korda, Keith Goldberg, David Yates, Mike Richardson and Bruce Berman served as executive producers.

The Legend of Tarzan is playing now!