SA YouTube star swings for Tarzan role

De Wet du Toit, 26, a bodybuilder and actor, has always had a fascination with the character that came alive in the books he read as a child, and since his self-created Tarzan YouTube clip went viral more than two years ago, he has not looked back. By Yolande Stander

His ultimate dream is to play the lead in director David Yates's remake of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan. Filming for this Warner Brothers movie is expected to start next year.

Yates was responsible for four of the Harry Potter movies.

Du Toit is not deterred by rumours that True Blood star Alexander Skarsgard is a favourite for the role.

"I am going to America next month to convince film-makers that I should be Tarzan," Du Toit said.

Du Toit, who has added about 10 more Tarzan YouTube videos, which have had more than 1 million views, also has his hands full with other Tarzan-related projects. "I have just done a book trailer for English author Andy Briggs's series of Tarzan novels. This video is also on YouTube."

Du Toit was also appointed recently as the Africa representative of the environmental education organisation, A-Team for Wildlife, and part of his job is to produce short anti-poaching awareness videos as Tarzan.

These clips are being filmed by the crew of the US television series SAF 3 - about a Malibu air, sea and fire rescue team - starring Hollywood actors including Dolph Lundgren.

"I am a stand-in for two of the actors. During my time on set, I spoke to the producers, who also worked on Baywatch, and they agreed to help me film these videos."

The series will be aired on DStv.

A-Team for Wildlife executive director Ken Jones said having Tarzan on the team would teach children that he was not just a cartoon character but the world's "most venerated and popular guardian of the jungle".

"He loves and respects nature. Tarzan makes the perfect spokesman against poaching of endangered wildlife," said Jones.

Du Toit's dreams have also caught the attention of the owners of Canadian film company Chic.TV, which came to South Africa last year to film him for a series of films about people with unique ambitions.

Some of the filming was done in Cape Town where Du Toit now lives with his twin Rudolf, while other shots were done in George, the Knysna Elephant Park and the Plettenberg Bay Elephant Sanctuary, as well as sanctuaries near the Crags.

"This film will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival next year," said Du Toit. "The reason for all of this is because I am truly passionate about the outdoors and want to be one with nature. I also have a love for fitness and bodybuilding, so it is only natural to see Tarzan as the ultimate combination of these two passions."

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