John Carter

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I've posted a few items about this at my blog, including speculation that Pixar was planning a trilogy (Oct 2007) and speculation that Disney might be looking at this as a franchise to replace Narnia (Mar 2008), but we don't seem to have a thread on it here yet. At any rate, today The Pixar Blog claimed that "Andrew Stanton has personally confirmed that he is currently writing John Carter of Mars. More details to come."

Interestingly, three years ago, the director attached to this project was Jon Favreau, who at the time was putting the finishing touches on Zathura. He has since made Iron Man, instead.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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I loved these books growing up. Seriously--forget "Transformers" (which I never played with) and "G.I. Joe" (which I never knew there was a story-line/character-line on)--this was my early passion, along with the Pellucidar books. Great, great stuff. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing this.

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I thought this might be of some interest. Here's some test footage of a proposed series of John Carter shorts that animator Bob Clampett worked on in the 1930's.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

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FWIW, Stanton says the film will be a Disney film, not a Pixar film, because Pixar films are for "all ages" whereas Disney films, apparently, are not. (Maybe it will be a Touchstone film?)

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Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins blast off to 'Mars'

Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins will star in "John Carter of Mars," the adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs book series that Andrew Stanton is directing for Disney.

The story centers on a civil war who veteran finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars, where his involvement with warring races of the dying planet force him to rediscover his humanity.

Kitsch will play the title character, Carter, while Collins is playing Dejah Thoris, the heir to the throne of Mars' Helium kingdom. . . .

Hollywood Reporter, June 12

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Utah will be stage for Mars in new Disney Pixar film

First as the planet Vulcan and now the red rocks of Mars, Utah has become Hollywood's destination spot for depicting exotic intergalactic worlds.

Disney and Pixar, makers of classic animated movies such as "Toy Story" and the recent hit "Up," are expected to partly film the pulp science-fiction adventure "John Carter of Mars" in Utah from November to July 2010. . . .

Salt Lake Tribune, June 12

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Willem Dafoe will star alongside Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins in "John Carter of Mars," the Walt Disney Pictures fantasy epic to be directed by "Wall-E" helmer Andrew Stanton.

Dafoe will play the role of Tars Tarkas, a fierce green Martian warrior, who's unusual among his savage race for his ability to love. Tars develops an alliance with John Carter in the first film, which is based on "A Princess of Mars."

Full story here.

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Threesome on journey to 'Mars'

English actors Samantha Morton, Dominic West and Polly Walker have joined "John Carter of Mars," Disney's adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs book series that Andrew Stanton is directing. . . .

Morton plays Sola, the daughter of Dafoe's Tars Tarkas, who must hide her softer side from her warmongering race.

West plays Sab Than, prince of the Zodangans who believes he is entitled to rule Mars.

Walker plays Sarkoja, a merciless, tyrannical Thark. . . .

Hollywood Reporter, August 23

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Mark Strong on his character.

(May contain a slight spoiler--I've hidden it just in case)

"There's some filming in Utah, but most of it is in a studio outside of London," Strong said. "My character doesn't actually get involved in any of the motion-capture stuff. All the stuff is live action.

Although I can shift my shape, so I have to be photographed by a 360-degree camera. I can adapt into anything.

That's going to be my particular talent."

Thing is--and it's been years since I read the books--I don't recall any

shape-shifting

per se in the books--the Therns are the "white men" of Mars and are degenerate and corrupt, and primarily powerful because they've

preyed on the religious beliefs of the red and green men of Mars.

So, this seems like a departure.

Incidentally, I just realized recently that the religious ceremoniesof the citizens of Mars bear a distinct resemblance to the end-of-life ceremonies described by Lewis in Out of the Silent Planet. I think I recall reading that Lewis admired Burrough's work; either way, it's an interesting connection.

[EDIT: Also, it seems pretty clear that they're basing the movie on the first three (Princess, Gods, Warlord) Barsoom novels, since the White Martians (IIRC) don't show up until the second book. Strange, too; the first two books have first-rate gimme-more endings that seem designed to carry a franchise.]

Edited by NBooth

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Bryan Cranston heading to 'Mars' for Pixar

"Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston has joined the cast of Walt Disney's "John Carter of Mars."

Andrew Stanton is directing the production, which goes before cameras next week. . . .

Cranston plays a Civil War colonel who comes into conflict with Carter. . . .

Hollywood Reporter, January 13

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From the most recent press release:

Daryl Sabara (Disney's A Christmas Carol, "Spy Kids" films) takes the role of John Carter's teenaged nephew, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Seems kind of meta. Is there a precedent for this anywhere? Does Burroughs claim, in his books, to have known the fictitious characters, the same way that, e.g. C.S. Lewis claimed to have known some of the characters in his space trilogy?

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He actually does. A Princess of Mars begins with a Foreword in which Burroughs explains the origins of the manuscript and a little of John Carter's history before the events of the book. Carter is set up as being some sort of an uncle (although the connection is vague since

Carter has lived many hundreds of years and cannot remember his own childhood.)

The whole text of the novel (and, indeed, of the first few Mars novels and a couple others) can be found online at Project Gutenberg. Here is A Princess of Mars.

He did this in most of his series, IIRC--in the Pellucidar books he operates a telegraph linked to the center of the Earth, getting his stories that way, and the first Tarzan book begins "I got this story from a man who had no business telling it to me," or something like that.

Edited by NBooth

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Disney has released a synopsis.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton (”Finding Nemo,” “WALL-E”), JOHN CARTER OF MARS brings this captivating hero to the big screen in a stunning adventure epic set on the wounded planet of Mars, a world inhabited by warrior tribes and exotic desert beings. Based on the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Barsoom Series,” the film chronicles the journey of Civil-War veteran John Carter (TAYLOR KITSCH), who finds himself battling a new and mysterious war amidst a host of strange Martian inhabitants, including Tars Tarkas (WILLEM DAFOE) and Dejah Thoris (LYNN COLLINS).

...except that if they're doing the first novel, there shouldn't be any White Martians. IIRC, they don't show up until the second book.

[EDIT: I do recall correctly. Mark Strong's character is not listed in ERBzine's character listings for Princess, but he is for Gods. What this means in terms of adaptation is, of course, more than anyone can say at this point. If they're really planning a trilogy, perhaps they want to establish a single villain--and since Matai Shang shows up in the third book as well, I guess slipping him in early makes sense.]

Edited by NBooth

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James Purefoy talks briefly about John Carter (starts around 18:47 and ends around 20:00 or so). He mostly talks about working mo-cap and his uncertainty about what, exactly, Stanton has in mind for effects.

There's also a bit where the interviewer asks about the similarities to Avatar and Purefoy responds that it's different, because John Carter is more low-tech. Which strikes me as a kind of weird thing to say, since (as he points out) the Barsoomians certainly do have technology--flying ships, incubators, etc. I would suggest that the difference is the age of the worlds--Pandora's primitive, a nontechnological world, while Barsoom is old. The various peoples are living on the remains of a dead civilization beside dead seas and the only things keeping the air breathable are these huge atmosphere factories.

The rest of the interview is interesting, but it doesn't really deal with John Carter at all.

Edited by NBooth

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MovieScore Magazine reports that Pixar regular Michael Giacchino is doing the score for this film (and not, interestingly, Thomas Newman, who scored Andrew Stanton's previous two films).

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If you can't wait until the 2012 release, then you can sit back and enjoy this...

Oh, and it's available on Netflix instant play!

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Pixar Planet notes that the newly announced release date for John Carter of Mars -- June 8, 2012 -- is only one week before the existing release date for Pixar's Brave (i.e. Pixar's only upcoming non-sequel, Pixar's first movie for girls, and Pixar's first fairy tale). That's a little ... odd.

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FWIW, various sites are reporting that Disney has moved this film's release date to March 9 -- the same day Prometheus (aka The Film Formerly Known As The Alien Prequel) is scheduled to open -- which means it will no longer be competing with the Pixar movie that comes out in June.

It also means John Carter of Mars is no longer being envisioned as a summer tentpole. Is this a problem...?

Well, maybe not, actually. Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland opened on March 5, 2010, and went on to gross a billion dollars worldwide. But, of course, that was a Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp, and one that was based on a very well-known story.

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Seems kind of risky to be positioning it opposite another big s.f. movie, particularly one with the pedigree Prometheus has. I hope this means that, even at this early stage (filming wrapped, post-production ongoing), they're fairly confident in the movie they've got. I get the feeling that, given the relative obscurity of Burroughs lately, they would be wiser to hedge their bets. But who knows.

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Seems kind of risky to be positioning it opposite another big s.f. movie, particularly one with the pedigree Prometheus has.

A little bit. But from what I've been hearing about PROMETHEUS, it's unlikely to catch on with audiences in a big way.

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Andrew Stanton talks John Carter of Mars

FWIW, I immediately thought of Peter when I came across this quote:

“I’m not in post-production — I’m in digital principal photography now, which goes on for the rest of 2011, so I’m only halfway through the movie.”

...which suggests that Stanton is approaching John Carter as an animated movie (with all the flexibility that entails?) as much or more than he's seeing it as a live-action film.

Edited by NBooth

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Yeah, I wasn't sure what to make of that quote. Does he mean the actors' schedules are so flexible that he can bring them back again and again and again, all throughout the year, to reshoot scenes at will? (Most movies have a few weeks set aside for reshoots, sure, but to call what he's doing "principal photography", digital or otherwise, suggests something bigger than that.)

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I suspect it means they have the actors saved to a hard drive so they don't have to come back for reshoots...

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