The costars' candid answers to fan questions included cannibalism, crotch-sniffing, carb-loading and the crazy thing she did to feel closer to Harry Potter

By Scott Huver
June 26, 2016 11:45 AM
Jonathan Olley

When The Legend of Tarzan stars Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie swung by Saturday for a live Twitter Q&A that was broadcast on Periscope, the results were as revealing as Skarsgard’s shirtless wardrobe.

Not only did the costars, who put a fresh spin on the legendary Lord of Jungle and his equally capable mate Jane, demonstrate their fun-loving chemistry together, their unfiltered answers to the Twitter questions posed by PEOPLE’s followers revealed plenty of fun facts about the heroic duo.

Here are the 10 wildest things we learned about them on the film, which hits theaters July 1:

To achieve an appropriately Tarzan-like physique, Skargard spent nine months on a super-strict diet and exercise regimen that left little room for cutting loose – but Robbie was able to remind him what it was like.

“My weekends would consist of basically go to the gym eating my little box of food and sleeping,” Skarsgard, 39, said, “while Margot would go to crazy music festival in northern England and sleep in a tent, and wake up with a 15-year-old peeing on her tent; backpacking through Europe, sleep in hostels in Amsterdam. So every Monday I’d be like, ‘Margot, okay – what’s life like out there?’ ”

“He’d ask me ‘What did you eat? Tell me everything you ate,’ ” Robbie, 25, said with a laugh. “It was like food porn for Alex. I was like, ‘I had this and I ate that, and for dessert I had that.’ And he was, like, welling up Actually, I really felt bad. To begin with I was like, ‘Mmm, mmm, mmm, I’m eating cake and you’re not!’ And then after a while I felt really bad for him, so I’d eat my food somewhere else so he couldn’t see.”

“We both appreciate food a lot,” he added, “so Margot felt my pain when I was sitting there with my little Tupperware box of chicken breast.”

Also on the topic of food, they were quizzed over who would be the one to survive longest if they were stranded on a deserted island, and both actors were confident that Robbie had a game plan that would both ensure she’d be well-fed and eliminate the competition: “She would eat me,” Skarsgard offered immediately.

“I would eat him,” Robbie agreed. “I’d wait for him to turn around, and then I’d smack him over the head with a coconut and I’d have food for months.”

“She’s very pretty, but she’s a backstabber,” laughed Skarsgard.

When asked if there were any real gorillas on set during the filming of the movie, Robbie revealed that all of the apes – in fact, every animal featured – were actually computer-generated creations. “Not a silly question at all,” said Robbie, “because if I watched that movie, I would think, ‘I think they’ve got real animals there some of the time.’ But actually no, we didn’t.”

But away from set, “we did get to hang out with some gorillas,” said Skarsgard. “We went to a gorilla sanctuary in Kent, a couple hours outside of London, when we were doing prep for the movie. That was a pretty incredible experience. Because I fight these guys in the movie, being this close to a silverback made me realize I was quite thankful that I don’t have to fight them.”

Alexander Skarsgard in The Legend of Tarzan

After several fans were curious about the advice the actors might have for their teenage selves, Robbie had some very specific wisdom to share with the J.K. Rowling-obsessed Potterhead she used to be.

“I’d tell myself, ‘Don’t wear those ugly glasses, because you have 20/20 vision and lied to the optometrist to get a pair of glasses because you’re obsessed with Harry Potter right now,’ ” she said. ” ‘It’s ridiculous and you look disgusting!’ ”

Ironically, Tarzan director David Yates helmed the final four Harry Potter films.

Skarsgard’s father, Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard – best known for his roles in the Pirates of the Caribbean, Thor and Avengers films – is the one fan he most hopes to please.

“He is more excited than anyone I know,” said Skarsgard. “When I got the job, he was more excited than I was. My father is a huge Tarzan fan since he was a little kid.” The elder Skarsgard passed his love of the character, created by pulp author Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912, down to his son. “That’s how I fell in love with Tarzan. He would show me the old Johnny Weissmuller movies: We would watch those together, and I thought it was like the coolest character, loved the jungle and all the animals. I thought he was such a badass.”

“We’re actually going to Stockholm in about two weeks to do a premiere,” he added. “I’m a bit nervous about that. Like, I’m really excited to watch it with him, but that’s the one guy I really hope he likes it.”

Several fans of True Blood were eager to get Skarsgard’s take on who’d walk away the winner if his vampiric character Eric Northman had a throwdown with Tarzan, and the notion both intrigued and stumped the actor.

“I kind of want to see that now. I want to see them mud-wrestle,” he exclaimed. “Oh my god, it’s so hard! You can stake Eric, and there’s plenty of wood in the jungle for Tarzan to stake him [but] I can’t really answer that question. I have to go deeper and really explore this. It’d be an interesting fight to see.”

Robbie, however, knew whom she’d put her money on. “I think Tarzan would win.”

A question about Robbie’s hidden talents revealed an unexpected ability possessed by the slender star: “I can drink like a lot of water very quickly,” she admitted. “I can chug beer pretty quickly as well I can consume things quickly, I guess.”

“And you can eat a lot of spaghetti Bolognese,” Skarsgard pointed out. “A lot. You won the contest Against the dude who’s, like, 220 pounds.”

“I won,” she confirmed, recalling a contest she entered while working on the Australian TV series Neighbors. “I ate four kilos of spaghetti Bolognese in an hour. That’s a lot!”

Skargard claimed he had no hidden skills, but Robbie disagreed. “Interestingly enough, I think you’re good making spaghetti Bolognese,” she said, recalling how he cooked the dish for her. “And I’m good at eating spaghetti Bolognese. We’re kind of like a match made in heaven.”

“I made 8 pounds of spaghetti Bolognese, honey,” added Skarsgard, laughing.

In the film’s flashback sequence when Tarzan and Jane first meet in the jungle as teenagers, the young, animalistic ape-man demonstrates a tactile and somewhat invasive way of getting to know her better. “He’s literally, like, on my face and messes my hair up and it’s adorable,” chuckled Robbie.

“Butt naked,” Skarsgard clarified.

“Naked, too,” she nodded. “And I’m like, ‘That’s lovely – get off!’ ”

“And I try to sniff her crotch,” he added. “He doesn’t really know what’s okay and what’s not okay. The social norms don’t really apply here He’s exploring her. He walks up and I guess Jane is intrigued. It’s like, ‘Wow, this is quite unusual, but I guess this wild man, let him do his thing.’ But then he crosses the line. Unintentionally – he doesn’t know better.”

“And I kick you,” said Robbie. “Love at first sight.”

Asked who, of the dozens of actors who’ve played the Jungle Lord since his screen debut in 1918, was their personal favorite, Robbie revealed her clear winner: “There’s only one version of Tarzan in my mind,” she said, “and that’s Alexander Skarsgard.”

“I love Alexander Skarsgard!” her costar agreed, tongue in cheek. “Who would have thought? I was surprised when I saw the movie I was always a fan of Johnny Weissmuller, but then I saw this and I was like, ‘Wow, Alexander Skarsgard – such a bold, interesting choice!’ ”

Joking aside, however, Skargard freely admitted that playing the iconic pulp hero was one of the biggest treats of his career. “The first moment I got to swing on a vine was pretty amazing,” he said. “It felt like a childhood dream, and you’re like, ‘This is actually happening.’ “

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