The filmmaker became a fan of the American Civil War captain as a child after reading all about the fictional character's adventures on Mars in his friends' comics and author Edgar Rice Burroughs' Bursoom series, and he eagerly anticipated the stories being one day adapted for film.
The movie came close to being made by Iron Man director Jon Favreau in 2006, but he subsequently dropped out of the project when Paramount Pictures lost the rights to the film.
So Stanton decided to start campaigning to take John Carter's story to Hollywood himself.
He tells WENN, "My brothers and I all could draw and we'd always go over to friends' houses who could draw. They were drawing what I now know are Tharks, these four-armed tusk characters (from John Carter comics). I'd be like, 'What the heck are those?' and they told me about the comic books and so I started reading them and then I got led to the books.
"From then on until about 2006, we're talking almost 30 years, I pretty much spent that time just waiting for somebody to make the movie. I just wanted to see it. I never planned I was going to make movies. When it got close to being made with Favreau I was one separation away from artists that were making it and getting the scoop that it was gonna happen and getting really excited about it.
"When it fell through and went back to the estate, I was really crestfallen. I just happened to have had a serendipitous phone call while making Wall-E with the head of Disney at the time. I said to him, 'Maybe if I'm not a one-hit wonder after I finish Wall-E, would you consider have (sic) me make it (John Carter) and if you don't you should buy it and have somebody make it. It would be a crime if it's not out there.' A month later they bought the three books and asked me to do it! It was a long time coming; I would never have expected it."
Stanton's John Carter features Taylor Kitsch as the title character, alongside Willem Dafoe, Lynn Collins and Dominic West, and is due to be released in March (12).
Disney is ramping up the hype in advance of the March 9 release of John Carter, releasing two new clips of the upcoming sci-fi epic today. The first clips arrives via Yahoo! Movies, and is notable for the portentous voice declaring "And now, a special look at John Carter..." which harkens back to the Dan LaFontaine glory days:
The second clip, courtesy of Comingsoon.net, proves that Mark Strong can be plenty menacing without moving a muscle or raising his voice -- a rare gift indeed:
John Carter stars Taylor Kitsch, Lynne Collins, and Willem Dafoe, and is directed by Andrew Stanton.
Click on the image below to view our fabulous Taylor Kitsch gallery:
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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Two years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to London to visit the set of John Carter, Disney's epic sci-fi flick set to premiere in exactly one month. The experience was mind-blowing—costumes, weaponry, giant studios filled with meticulously crafted airships, backdropped with green screen—the scale was grand, but the vision was grander. I met Taylor Kitsch, Friday Night Lights-star turned intergalactic hero. I met director Andrew Stanton, member of the Pixar mindtrust who gave us modern classics like Finding Nemo and WALL-E. And I met a bunch of giant, multi-armed aliens from Mars. They were pretty nice too.
You can read all about my exciting adventure across seas (and across space) over at UGO.com, but get a taste for what's in store with these brand new behind-the-scenes photos, featuring Kitsch, Stanton, the beautiful Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe on stilts and a large-scale movie production. If the wild ride of taking a peek behind the movie's curtain is as exciting as the final product, we're in for something special.
John Carter will answer the age old question: "Is there Life on Mars?" And, like the world-renowned asker of this question, the movie looks absolutely nuts...in a good way. We've seen a couple of pieces of concept art from the upcoming Andrew Stanton project prior, as well as some intriguing photographs. These new pieces depict an illustration of the titular hero, interplanetary traveler John Carter himself (Taylor Kitsch), some gripping views of the Martian scenery and technology, and a couple of creatures.
Considering the fact that Mars has been a pretty good neighbor to us for the past several millenia, the idea of giving it a visually stimulating portrayal in modern cinema is something we should all get behind. Venus, on the other hand...Venus can go to hell.
John Carter comes to theaters Mar. 9.
Source: It's Art via Comingsoon
In the cinematic desert that is the January-February movie-release schedule one gains a greater appreciation for mere competence. And that’s precisely what you’ll get with Man on a Ledge a mid-budget thriller with modest aspirations and genuine popcorn appeal. Sam Worthington (Avatar Clash of the Titans) stars as Nick Cassidy a former New York City cop wrongly convicted for the theft of a prized diamond. After exhausting all judicial avenues for exoneration he takes the unusual and seemingly desperate next step of planting himself on a ledge outside the penthouse of midtown’s Roosevelt Hotel and threatening to jump. An NYPD psychologist (Elizabeth Banks) is summoned to talk him down unaware that Nick harbors an ulterior motive. From his perch above midtown he is secretly orchestrating a scheme to take revenge against the corrupt corporate chieftain (Ed Harris) who engineered his demise and prove his innocence once and for all.
Director Asger Leth making his U.S. feature-film debut with Man on a Ledge keeps the pace brisk and never allows the tone to stray into self-seriousness which is crucial for a movie whose premise is so devoutly ridiculous. The script from Pablo F. Fenjves provides enough feints and twists to keep us engaged. Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez aren’t the most believable of couples but there’s a screwball charm to their comic routine as amateur thieves charged with aiding Nick’s scheme. (Leth can’t resist inserting an entirely superfluous – but nonetheless greatly appreciated – scene of the criminally gorgeous Rodriguez stripping down to a thong in the middle of a heist.) Worthington makes for a likable populist protagonist even if his Australian accent betrays him on copious occasions and Harris’ disturbingly emaciated frame lends an added menace to his devious plutocrat villain.
The 1946 drama, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, picked up 18 per cent of the 3,000 votes cast in the survey by Britain's Radio Times.
The Muppet Christmas Carol came second with 10 per cent, while Love Actually, starring Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, placed in third.
A surprising entry on the list was Die Hard, which came in eighth place with four per cent of the vote.
Radio Times film editor Andrew Collins says, "As it is the season to be jolly, I won't disguise my rosy-cheeked joy that the poll named Die Hard one of the top 10 Christmas movies of all time.
"It's just as capable of producing festive tingles as the more traditional, December-released Muppet Christmas Carol or the cockle-warming Love Actually, which was literally gift wrapped in 2003 with a lovely red ribbon tied around its twinkling poster image."
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
I've seen with my own eyes the rich world of otherworldly detail in store for us when Disney's John Carter hits theaters (and I can't say too much now, but it's something to be excited about for sure). That said, the posters and recent images that have come out of the movie leave me a bit baffled. This is an epic movie, filled with various aliens and production design (weapons, aircrafts, cities) unlike anything you've seen on screen. So where is it?
The latest poster for Andrew Stanton's (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) is explosive in its monochromatic design—but leaves much to the imagination. The film's aliens are more of a suggestion, hidden in shadow, while our Civil War solider hero John (Taylor Kitsch) is dwarfed by his own name. Fans of the original source material may conjure up notions of famed artist Frank Frazetta's beautifully detailed renditions of the novel's Martian scenes, but the posters for the movie are all about RED.
Don't get me wrong, I am pumped for John Carter, but for a world that's this expansive, we've only seen just a sliver of what it has to offer. Is this enough to make the movie a must-see in 2012?
Some have expressed fear that the upcoming film John Carter will depict Martian life inaccurately, vying instead for the inauthentic, "Hollywood take" of the Red Planet. Well, fear not. Below, we can revel in images that assure us of the true-to-life story that director Andrew Stanton will tell in John Carter.
Tayler Kitsch plays John Carter, a man who finds himself on Mars for reasons we're not yet supposed to understand. There, he meets Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), who desperately needs Carter's help, the militaristic but compassionate Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe), and a kind of hybrid between Jabba the Hutt and Falcor from The Neverending Story.
In fact, we stuck an actual photograph of Mars' landscape at the end of this series of pictures, just to prove to you how little distinction there is. Bet you wouldn't have noticed if we didn't tell you!
...But then again, even if you somehow find flaw with that argument, it still looks like a pretty exciting movie.
The film opens March 9, 2012, and also stars Samantha Morton, Thomas Haden Church and the masterful Bryan Cranston.