The Disney adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ series of novels, John Carter of Mars, and hopeful trilogy of films said to be comparable in scale to Pirates of the Caribbean, has finally entered production. I say finally not because of scheduling issues but because this property has been close to development for several decades but no one could make it happen till now. Thank you, Disney.
If you think about it, John Carter first appeared in "A Princess of Mars" back in 1912 - nearly a full century ago. With the big budget adventure/fantasy set to be a mix of CGI and live-action epic proportions, the recent success and acceptance of Avatar can help make this popular. Or has it simply stolen its thunder?
John Carter of Mars will be rated PG-13 and directing the film is Andrew Stanton who will be making his debut into live-action with this project. The film will be absolutely littered with CGI effects to bring to life the various creatures depicted in the stories so he won’t be straying too far off the track he set with Wall-E and Finding Nemo.
I am very excited for this project, especially seeing the talented cast selected for key roles: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Mark Strong, Dominic West, Thomas Haden Church, Samantha Morton, Polly Walker, James Purefoy and Bryan Cranston.
IESB had a chance to speak with Bryan Cranston, who has won an Emmy for best leading actors two years straight for his series Breaking Bad, and they touched on his part in John Carter of Mars. Cranston says in the discussion that he plays the Colonel fighting alongside the title character John Carter for the Confederacy in the American Civil War when Carter finds the portal that sends him off to the red planet. He'll be joining the production once he wraps filming on the third season of his series.
Here are some of Cranston's responses which include what drew him into the film in the first place:
"With John Carter of Mars, I was taken in by the story and the enthusiasm of the director, Andrew [Stanton], and what he was looking to do. It's a fantastic story that Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote. I think he started writing it in 1913."
"I play the Colonel who John Carter (Friday Night Lights star Taylor Kitsch) is with, at the time he finds the portal to Mars. It's going to be exciting."
"I'm going to be wearing a wig. We haven't talked about what he is seeing, as far as this character. But, I got fitted for a wig and I don't know what the facial hair situation will be. We'll see."
And for more details on the production start for John Carter of Mars, here's the official press release:
WALT DISNEY PICTURES’ “JOHN CARTER OF MARS” BEGINS PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY IN LONDON
BURBANK, Calif. (January 15, 2010) – Principal photography is underway in London for Walt Disney Pictures’ “JOHN CARTER OF MARS.” Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton 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, who finds himself battling a new and mysterious war amidst a host of strange Martian inhabitants.
Produced for Walt Disney Pictures by Jim Morris (“WALL•E,” “Ratatouille”) and Colin Wilson (“Avatar,” “War of the Worlds”), the live action/animation film marks Academy Award®-winning director/writer Andrew Stanton’s (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”) first foray into live action. Stanton directed and co-wrote the screenplay for Disney•Pixar’s “WALL•E,” which earned the Academy Award and Golden Globe® for Best Animated Feature (2008); Stanton was nominated for an Oscar® for the screenplay. He made his directorial debut with Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” garnering an Academy Award-nomination for Best Original Screenplay and winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature (2003). He has worked as a screenwriter and/or executive producer on Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life” (which he also co-directed), “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Ratatouille” and “Up.”
"I have been waiting my whole life to see the characters and worlds of 'John Carter of Mars' realized on the big screen,” says Stanton. “It is just a wonderful bonus that I have anything to do with it."
The stellar ensemble cast is led by Taylor Kitsch (NBC’S “Friday Night Lights”, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) in the title role, Lynn Collins (“50 First Dates,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) as the warrior princess Dejah Thoris and Oscar® nominee Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man 3,” “Shadow of a Vampire”) as Martian inhabitant Tars Tarkas. The cast also includes Thomas Haden Church (“Sideways,” Spider-Man 3), Polly Walker (upcoming “Clash of the Titans,” “Patriot Games”), Samantha Morton (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” “In America”), Mark Strong (“Sherlock Holmes,” “Body of Lies”), Ciaran Hinds (“Munich,” “There Will Be Blood”), British actor Dominic West (“300,” “Chicago”), James Purefoy (“Vanity Fair,” “Resident Evil”) and Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”). Daryl Sabara (“Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” “Spy Kids”) takes the role of John Carter’s teenaged nephew, Edgar Rice Burroughs.
The creative team includes Oscar®-nominated production designer Nathan Crowley (“Public Enemies,” “The Dark Knight,” “Batman Begins”), costume designer Mayes Rubeo (“Avatar,” “Apocalypto”), cinematographer Daniel Mindel (“Star Trek,” “Mission Impossible III,” “Spygame”) and video effects supervisor Peter Chiang (“The Reader,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”).
OHN CARTER OF MARS
WALT DISNEY PICTURES
Release Date: TBD
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Daryl Sabara, Polly Walker, Bryan Cranston, with Thomas Hayden Church and Willem Dafoe
Director: Andrew Stanton
Producers: Jim Morris and Colin Wilson
Screenplay by: Andrew Stanton & Mark Andrews (credit not final)
Based on the story by: Edgar Rice Burroughs
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).
· Edgar Rice Burroughs was born in Chicago and is best known for writing and creating Tarzan – still one of the most successful and iconic fictional creations of all time. JOHN CARTER OF MARS is based on Burroughs’ first novel, “A Princess of Mars.”
· Academy Award®-winning director/writer Andrew Stanton directed and co-wrote the screenplay for “WALL•E,” which earned the Academy Award® and Golden Globe Award® for Best Animated Feature of 2008. He was Oscar® nominated for the screenplay. He made his directorial debut with “Finding Nemo,” garnering an Academy Award® nomination for Best Original Screenplay and winning the Oscar® for Best Animated Feature Film of 2003. He was one of the four screenwriters to receive an Oscar® nomination in 1996 for his contribution to “Toy Story,” and went on to receive credit as a screenwriter on subsequent Pixar films “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Finding Nemo” and “WALL•E.” He served as co-director on “A Bug’s Life,” and was the executive producer of “Monsters, Inc.,” the 2006 Academy Award-winning “Ratatouille” and the 2009 smash hit “Up.”
Set in the wounded planet of Mars, JOHN CARTER OF MARS 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).
Are you excited for John Carter of Mars coming to life on the silver screen?
Directed by Andrew Stanton, John Carter of Mars is tentatively scheduled to debut in 2012.