Continuing the coverage of what was a pretty excitement-packed Saturday morning at Disney’s D23 Expo, Director Andrew Stanton and the cast of John Carter made an appearance as well. This took place at the D23 Arena panel known as, “Building Worlds: Inside The Walt Disney Vault,” which was a place for all the upcoming Disney projects to be shown off or announced to the crowd. Just as audiences were treated to sneak peeks at films such as The Muppets, The Avengers, and Pixar’s Brave, everyone was able to see a behind the scenes look at the upcoming film adaptation of the famed pulp novel hero. Read on to find out more about the heroics of Tim Riggins and the height requirements for Willem Dafoe in John Carter.
The presentation for John Carter was similar to the others, but had more information to share. Director Andrew Stanton came on stage and explained what John Carter is, which included a brief history lesson of sorts about the legacy of this character and how the original novels, from which the character originated, have been the biggest inspiration for a majority of the science fiction properties known by everyone today. Stanton also explained a bit about what went into the making of the film. What I found most interesting was his process for filming the actors portraying 12-foot tall aliens. Rather than just dealing with that aspect in post-production, Stanton actually had the actors in motion capture suits, while standing and walking on stilts. By doing this, he would have both his alien characters and regular sized actors be able to act more naturally, given the correct eye line to play off of each other during their interactions.
Stanton then brought out three stars of the film, including Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins! from Friday Night Lights and Gambit from X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Willem Dafoe, and Lynn Collins (also from X-Men Origins: Wolverine). As the three arrived on stage and got to speak about being a part of the film, Stanton then announced that the audience would be treated to four separate scenes from the film. The first scene involved John Carter and Dafoe’s alien character, Tars Tarkas meeting for the first time and John discovering that he can leap great bounds on Mars. The second clip featured John Carter escaping from being bound inside of a cave, only to befriend a large Martian-type dog of sorts. The third clip involved John and Collins’ character discussing John’s decision about possibly remaining on Mars to help fight for what is right. The final clip looked like something out of the end of Attack of the Clones, as we found John and Tars facing off in a gladiator arena against a large creature.
The clips shown did enough to serve their purpose. I have a good enough idea of what the tone of the film will be at this point. What I have been most intrigued about concerning this film was the fact that Stanton, known for his work on directing Pixar films, would be handling his first live-action feature, which is an ambitious sci-fi adventure. From the trailer, I could not say I was more excited about the film. After seeing the footage, I am still optimistic, but it also did not raise my excitement. I am confident in the subject matter and the people involved however, so I can certainly get behind this film, just as I did when Tron: Legacy was the big upcoming live-action film from Disney the previous year.
Something nice about this panel was the actual participation from the cast in answering some questions and inviting a bit of conversation about the actual making of the film. While it was nice to have the other cast members of the other films that were present appear on stage and wave hello, I can appreciate having the cast actually involved in the film’s discussion on stage. I would have to say this is most likely due to the fact that John Carter is basically an unknown property as far as the general movie audience is concerned and it will need all the support it can get, once it arrives in theaters this upcoming spring 2012.
Here’s the official synopsis from Disney:
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E), JOHN CARTER OF MARS brings this captivating hero to the big screen in a stunning adventure epic set on the wounded planet of Mars, a world inhabited by warrior tribes and exotic desert beings. Based on the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ ‘Barsoom Series,’ the film chronicles the journey of Civil-War veteran John Carter (Taylor Kitch), who finds himself battling a new and mysterious war amidst a host of strange Martian inhabitants, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins).
John Carter will be released in theaters and IMAX 3D on March 9, 2012. Check out the trailer below: