Filming looks set to commence this November on John Carter of Mars
, the live-action science fiction adventure from double Oscar-winning Pixar writer-director Andrew Stanton. And it seems that the rugged topography of Utah has been cast as stand-in for the Red Planet itself, with a report in the Salt Lake Tribune indicating shooting in the Beehive State will continue until July 2010. This would then leave a suitably lengthy period for all that post-production computer jiggery-pokery, ahead of the movie’s scheduled 2012 release date.
Based on the cycle of pulp paperbacks by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter of Mars
is a project which has been threatening to lurch into life for the majority of this millennium, with the posteriors of Robert Rodriguez, Sky Captain
-helmer Kerry Conran and Jon Favreau all having temporarily occupied the director’s chair while it was over at Paramount.
Now at Disney, Stanton’s flick utilises a screenplay which – unlike the proposed Paramount version – is solely based on the first in Burroughs’ 11-book series, A Princess on Mars
, with the story depicting an at-a-loose end Confederate soldier being transported to Mars in mysterious circumstances. Once there, he encounters bold warriors and scantily-clad royalty, in a tale which meshes elements of fantasy and science fiction.
There appears to be plenty of scope for Wall-E
director Stanton to have some fun with his material, with the potential to deliver something in the playful, reflexive mould of Flash Gordon
. The script has been given the once-over by Michael Chabon, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning comic book deconstruction The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
suggests that the screenplay for John Carter of Mars
should be suffused with a keen awareness of the conventions and history of pulp heroics.
No word as yet on casting, and the first special effects shots - whenever they emerge - will undoubtedly be critical in hoiking up the level of buzz around the project. But Utah seems a decent call for those Martian outlands, having stood in for Vulcan in this year’s Star Trek
movie, as well as providing exteriors for Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes
back in 1968. Although in the latter case of course, it wasn’t filling in for an alien world, because... that was our planet! You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell! (pounds beach before riding off to make cameo in lacklustre sequel)
Sources: Ain’t it Cool, Dysnomia, Filmaps