John Carter of Mars Wraps Filming In Utah

Disney’s upcoming John Carter of Mars adaptation just wrapped filming in Utah after five months of production. For those unfamiliar with the project, this is Wall-E director Andrew Stanton’s first jab at live action in a planned epic trilogy starring Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as the titular John Carter.

This film is an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s 1917 pulp novel, A Princess of Mars, in which Carter (a freakin’ Confederate soldier!) inexplicably awakens on Mars after having fallen asleep in a cave on Earth. He then proceeds to fight martians and have sexy time with the princess. The John Carter character went on to star in a dozen or so novels and, later, several comic books, including brief appearances in Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

According to Utah Film Commissioner Marshall Moore, “This was an ideal project for Utah because of the unique landscapes we have within our borders. Lockheed Martin also recently used Utah as a double for Mars during an industrial shoot in 2009.” Other alien run-ins at these Utah locations include scenes from Galaxy Quest, Evolution, Planet of the Apes (both the original and Tim Burton’s version), and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek.

Production on Stanton’s film adaptation began in London in early 2010 before moving to Utah in April where production finally wrapped this past week. A lengthy post-production period for visual effects is expected, but it is unclear as to whether that will happen at Disney HQ or Stanton’s Pixar home base. Disney execs have already expressed their belief that the fantasy/sci-fi/adventure series will be their next Pirates of the Caribbean.

After seeing the emotion Stanton got out of an animated trash compactor, I’ll be curious to see what he can do with actual people. What do you think? Are you excited to see what Stanton will come up with? I’ve read A Princess of Mars and it is a fun young-adult read, but it is definitely dated. Will this pulpy turn-of-the-century fantasy appeal to today’s audiences?

Around the Web:

  • I’m pretty excited about this, and am sure that Stanton has found an angle that works.

    Interesting comment about being “the new Pirates” though, isn’t this supposed to be rated R? Might hurt their chances with that…

  • I hope–but, I’m probably kidding myself, that Disney is gonna do this right. Sure, JOHN CARTER OF MARS is “dated” (it was written during the early 20th Century, and like Jules Verne before him, Edgar Rice Burrows is a product of his time), but as a sci-fi adventure series, they were way-out reads (I’ve only heard about the novels, but DID–repeat, DID–buy the Marvel comic book versions in the late ’70s).
    The thing is, those Marvel versions kept the raciness of the female characters designs (I think the same guy who handled The Avengers at the time handled the artwork on the JCOM issues). I wonder if Disney will do the same. PIRATES’ was kinda “soft” in the sexiness of its female characters, but with a project like JCOM, if Disney IS to play it straight, a near-R Rating (just for the almost-not-there costumes) would have to do it.

    Lastly, 3-D. THIS is a film that calls for it. Just for the landscapes alone. Also, I think it would be fair if Disney keeps this as a “Confederate Soldier-transported-via-dimensional tunnel-to-Mars” scenario (just like Marvel did), and not update this to the current war situation. Keep it fantastical, just like Burrows did. (Right now, I wish that Britain’s Amicus Films was still a functioning studio, because they did Burrows right–a little bit campy–but, right!)

  • swarez

    I read the first book as a kid and absolutely loved it. I loved the wacky logic and reality it had, based on the limited knowledge people had of Mars at that time and purely making shit up.
    I’ve wanted to see a live action film based on this since I read it so I’m looking forward to seeing this finally. Just hope it’s good.

  • @swarez There is supposedly a 2009 adaptation starring Traci Lords, so if you are jonseing to see something…hahaha

  • paulm

    the 2009 version aired on SyFy a few months ago. it was fun for what it was. actually, I was surprised as how good some of the effects were, considering it was probably a ridiculously low budget. I can’t wait for the new one. My first exposure was the Marvel series, still have them, and have been a JC fan ever since…