LOS ANGELES, March 30 (UPI) -- Margot Robbie will portray a strong and independent version of Jane in The Legend of Tarzan.
Director David Yates praised the 25-year-old Australian actress in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, saying Robbie was the perfect choice to play a new and capable incarnation of the character.
"It was very important that we didn't want it to feel archaic or dated, where it's like, tough guy has to save the poor girl," Yates explained. "You have to feel that she's strong and independent, and when you cast Margot, you'll definitely get that."
"If you enter the jungle with anybody, you want to go with Margot Robbie," he added. "She's practical, and she's smart, and she's resourceful. And she can take care of herself."
True Blood star Alexander Skarsgard will play Tarzan, who is already married to Jane in the movie. Yates revealed the 39-year-old Swedish actor left the set bruised after he instructed Robbie to punch Skarsgard during a sex scene.
"I said, 'Just slap Alex while you're making love,'" the director recalled. "It was a sort of earthy, sensual moment of her enjoying sex with Alex, and the only bruise he picked up during the entire shoot was probably that punch ... which says a lot about her feistiness."
The Legend of Tarzan will see Tarzan return to the jungle as a trade emissary for the British parliament. The movie co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou and Christoph Walz and opens in theaters July 6.
"[Jane is] in no way a passive partner to Tarzan," Yates previously told USA Today. "She's a really strong, assertive, beautifully knowledgeable, very sexy modern woman who can more than look after herself."
Robbie is known for playing Donna on the Australian soap opera Neighbours and Laura on ABC series Pan Am. She has since appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street and Focus and will star as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad.