As the grand opening of the 3D epic, action-adventure “John Carter” gets nearer, Walt Disney Pictures released some interesting trivia about the making of this much anticipated film.
Set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars), “John Carter” tells the story of war‐weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.
- “John Carter” is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first novel, “A Princess of Mars.” An American writer, 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.
- 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the character John Carter.
- Since 1935, various filmmakers have attempted to make a movie based on “A Princess of Mars”—the first was intended to be an animated feature film by Bob Clampett of “Beany and Cecil” fame. If it had been made, it would have been America’s first full-length animated film, prior to Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” which premiered in 1937.
- 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. Stanton made his directorial debut with “Finding Nemo,” garnering an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay and winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of 2003.
- “John Carter” screenwriters Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon discovered they had something in common when they met: they all still possessed the John Carter drawings and artwork that they had done when they were boys.
- Crewmembers, working on location in Utah, found a large bone protruding from the ground. The Bureau of Land Management confirmed it was in fact a Sauropod bone—either a femur or scapula—from a dinosaur that could have been 60ft long. An excavation is currently taking place to retrieve the rest of the prehistoric skeleton.
- The Ancient Barsoomian typography carved into the walls of the sacred temples in “John Carter” took their original design from actual markings found on the surface of the planet Mars.
- Working from the original source material, a linguist was hired to create the entire Thark Martian language, using just a few words mentioned in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels.
- The actors playing the nine-foot tall, green Thark characters had to learn to walk on stilts to film the scenes with John Carter, giving the correct eye-line contact for the dialogue.
- Stunt Coordinator Tom Struthers was delighted and amazed that Taylor Kitsch did 98% of his own stunt work, including an 85-foot jump in the learning-to-walk sequence, a 65-foot jump in the arena, battling the ferocious white apes, and a 250- foot long series of jumps in the Martian wilderness.
- Cinema audiences will be astonished to see actress Lynn Collins, when not donning her Dejah Thoris look, has strawberry blonde hair and fair skin.
- While filming in Utah, the film crew came across a small space center called the Mars Society Desert Research Station. No one was home but the Website reads: “Teams of hard-working volunteers, working in full simulation mode in the barren canyon lands of Utah, continue to explore the surrounding terrain, cataloging more waypoints, and analyzing the geology and biology of this fascinating and remarkably Mars-like region.”
(Opening across the Philippines in March, “John Carter” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.)