By Jack Rico
Six months before it’s release, Disney has put together an impressive private event to tout its new big 2012 movie ‘John Carter’ which they are banking all the marbles on. I was one of the select few that was invited yesterday to see early footage from the film, as well as props from the actual set and other elements from the production like concept art and life size monster models.
As soon as you walked in, there was a hallway full of set props from the film that were very detailed and accurate from the tales of the Edgar Rice Burroughs 11 series books. There was everything from monster mannequins of Tharks – a tribe of fictional Green Martian warriors on the fictional planet of Barsoom – aircraft sketches and models, clothing, weapons and books from Carter’s home and martian culture.
After the hallway glancing, you entered the screening room where director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall*E) and his 3 main stars: Taylor Kitsch (The Bang Bang Club, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) who plays John Carter himself, Lynn Collins (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) who will play Princess Dejah Thoris and Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, Antichrist, Melancholia) who will be the alien Tars Tarkas, were chatting and socializing amongst themselves. About a dozen Disney publicists and execs were everywhere, including an in-house production unit behind me covering the action.
About 10 minutes later, producer Jim Morris took the mic to talk about the difficulties of making ‘John Carter’ in Hollywood and how the many failed attempts at bringing it to the screen where mainly due to a lack of technology. According to Morris, Tom Cruise was at one point attached to star in the mid 80’s, but it fell through. He then introduced Andrew Stanton to an applause from the guests. Stanton began by presenting an educational, historical keynote introduction of John Carter from the early novels to the Marvel comic books to the CGI integration to the selection process of the cast. He then proceeded to unveil the first 5 clips of the movie that the even the cast had not seen until then. Regrettably, we’re not allowed to give a formal written narration of the scenes I saw, but hopefully near release.
After the clips were shown, we were invited to stay for a Q&A with the Stanton and cast, and afterwards we were allowed to mingle with them and ask them questions one on one. I interviewed Stanton and will have that posted some time this week.
Here then are 13 exclusive behind-the-scene pics of the props and items from the private screening that were on display for viewing:
‘John Carter’ will be released March 9th, 2012 which happens to be Andrew Stanton’s first live-action film. The pressure is on for him to deliver on what is Disney’s hopeful future franchise.
For those unaware of the plot, ‘John Carter’ is set in the devastated planet Mars where John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a soldier in the Civil War, is thrust into a mysterious new war with a strange army of Martians , among which are Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). The film is based on the Martian series of American author Edgar Rice Burroughs.