John Carter of Mars Is Coming to the Silver Screen

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[redacted]’s impassioned post regarding Almuric got me to thinking about that novel’s primary inspiration and the fact that The Cimmerian has yet to even mention the forthcoming screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic novel, A Princess of Mars.

The live-action production, which will be called John Carter of Mars, has been in the works for years. For quite some time, this film has looked like a serious, A-list project. When the picture was still at Paramount, Jon Favreau was slated to direct. He expressed enthusiasm for the job, but left for Iron Man after Paramount decided to concentrate on Abrams’ Star Trek. Disney had once held the rights to the property and regained them at that point. The studio brought on Andrew Stanton, fresh from success as the director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E. Stanton has stated several times since then that he is a life-long fan of ERB’s Barsoom series.

Lynn Collins

A weak link in the production could be Mark Andrews, the primary screenwriter (along with Stanton). His resume is a bit thin, though most of his work has been in the sci-fi/fantasy ballpark. Andrews’ resume does appear refreshingly free of utter crap, which can’t be said for the  Doppenheimer boys on the Conan film project. Back in April, it was confirmed that Michael Chabon (an ERB and REH fan) has been hired as a script doctor. Chabon is on record as stating that the script was “strong” to begin with.

The cast boasts some respectable talent. Willem Dafoe will portray Tars Tarkas. Dominic West and Polly Walker are also confirmed. However, two relative unknowns have been cast for the leads. Taylor Kitsch, primarily known for his role as Gambit in the recent Wolverine movie, will portray John Carter. Lynn Collins, who also appeared in Wolverine, is cast as Dejah Thoris.

Kitsch is going to have to convince me. He definitely does not look like the John Carter I’ve always envisioned. However, from some reports it appears that he is taking this role very seriously. As for Ms. Collins, she certainly looks the part. Nobody knew who Carrie Fisher was in 1976, either.

Saunders' concept art

We seem to be on firm ground as far as production design is concerned. Rafael Kayanan (whose Barsoomian art heads this post) was attached to the project early on. Recent glimpses from concept artist Phil Saunders look quite encouraging.

All in all, I’m guardedly optimistic about this film. Everyone from the studio on down seems to be taking the project seriously. Judging from the cast list so far, it appears that the movie’s plot will strongly resemble the novel it’s based on. I wish portents for the upcoming Conan flick looked half so promising.