willem dafoe john carter of mars

Willem Dafoe is out promoting Antichrist, but a few people have also got him to talk a bit about his upcoming role in John Carter of Mars, the hybrid live-action CGI animation Disney feature to be directed by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton. We know the basic story, that Confederate officer John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is transported to Mars and initially finds himself among the green, four-armed Tharks. Dafoe plays Tars Tarkas, a Thark warrior. Now we’ve got a few more details on what to expect from the film; even though it’s all very early stuff, having seen some of Avatar we can draw some conclusions.

The key quotes come from an AICN interview. The first pertinent line should clarify a point that I think some people have found confusing: this is primarily a Disney movie, not a Pixar one. (Though Pixar will likely be involved in the animation process — again, this is a hybrid film.) Says Dafoe:

This is Disney, anyway, but it’s Andrew Stanton. And, I’ve seen a lot of the designs and things, and I’ve just started to do prep work now… [I've] starting doing scans and things like that, but it’s going to be a real full-on… Well, I’m nine feet tall with four arms, but, just from the scheduling, I’m going to do the stuff.

A further statement makes the approach sound very much like Avatar‘s. What we’re seeing in James Cameron’s movie is likely to be the new humanoid effects paradigm, where actors are recognizably (to some degree) blended into a CGI character.

…they’ll use my face, but they’ll enhance it in a way–both after and before–in a way that I may not be recognizable. But, I’m good with that. It’s particularly cool, because he’s a creature, but he’s got this huge range of character. And, he does cool things in the movies.

Dafoe also says he and other actors will soon be going to ‘Thark school’ to work on “the language and the movement” required to make the characters believable.

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