On a movie like John Carter, where so much has been – or can be – made of the budget, the effects and the first time director, the best source of information is the person who handles all that. The producer. One of the the producers on John Carter is Jim Morris, who produced Andrew Stanton‘s last film WALL-E . Before that, Morris was in special effects and worked on everything from Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Forrest Gump to Backdraft, Starship Troopers, Mission: Impossible and much, much more. So he’s worked on a Hollywood blockbuster or two. Or 52.

We spoke with Morris at a recent press junket and asked him why now was the time for John Carter to come to the big screen, how its effects compared to some of those films, its place in history, the budget controversey and where Stanton stands compared to some of the great directors Morris has worked with in the past. Check out the full interview below. Read More »

We’ve seen what seems like a fair amount of footage from John Carter already, between its various teasers, trailers and TV spots, but today we’ve got a somewhat longer two-and-a-half minute clip to show you — plus another two minutes from a new sizzle reel. The scene sees the titular hero (Taylor Kitsch) and Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) battling white apes in a huge arena, while the reel that includes some new bits we haven’t seen yet. Check it out after the jump.

Read More »

Trivia: Tom Cruise Could Have Been ‘John Carter’

John Carter‘s journey to the big screen is, quite possibly, even more interesting than the actual journey the character takes in the story. And that’s saying something when you’re talking about a Civil War hero transported to Mars to fight with nine-foot-tall aliens. The property has gone though dozens of different versions with various stars, filmmakers and even studios hellbent on adapting the influential Edgar Rice Burroughs property for the big screen. Consequently, because it took so long, films that draw heavily on the material, like Star Wars, Blade Runner and Avatar, are all considered to be slightly more innovative than they actually are. (I said “slightly”!)

And while it’s fairly well-documented that filmmakers such as Jon Favreau, Guillermo Del Toro and Robert Rodriguez all tried to tackle John Carter at one point, a pairing that isn’t so well-known is Die Hard director John McTiernan and star Tom Cruise. Yup. They were both interested in the material in the late eighties/early nineties.

After the jump, read what the current film’s producer, Jim Morris, revealed about the pairing and an account of what might have gone wrong. Read More »

John Carter hasn’t even been released yet, but a lot of early talk has already focused on potential sequels. Which makes a certain sort of sense. The film, directed by Andrew Stanton, is based on the first in a huge series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. While this film serves as an origin, once that’s established the real fun can begin. (See Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight, The Empire Strikes Back, etc.)

However, Stanton and his team have been working on this film for almost six years and though he’s started outlining the potential sequel, nothing is set in stone. Will Stanton direct? Does he want to? Will Disney pony up the cash? Can John Carter make enough money to warrant such an expenditure?

In a recent interview I conducted with Taylor Kitsch, aka John Carter on screen, he flat-out said he wouldn’t do a sequel unless Stanton directs. I’m sure the Disney lawyers might say otherwise but you can read his quote, and Stanton’s response, after the jump. Read More »

Disney’s John Carter has had a rough go of it on the marketing front — a tracking report leaked last week showed “shockingly” low public interest in the film, and you don’t need statistics to know that the trailers and teasers so far have been kind of a mess. Such a mess, in fact, that one particularly devoted fan was able to create the movie’s best trailer yet using clips that had already been released.

But their latest tactic actually seems like a clever way of attracting the attention of the cool-geek crowd. The studio has teamed up with Mondo for a gorgeous new poster, which will be handed out for free to moviegoers who attend the midnight IMAX screening of Andrew Stanton‘s sci-fi adventure when it opens on March 9. Check out the full image after the jump.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Disney has been struggling with the marketing for Andrew Stanton‘s John Carter, which opens in a couple weeks but still seems to face an uphill battle establishing itself even for audiences that should be pretty receptive to an old-school sci-fi film based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.

There have been a couple trailers now and quite a few clips released, and while each has various charms no one trailer or clip has really hammered home what the movie is.

So a fan took a lot of the released footage and cut a non-official trailer. It’s a lot better than any of the others, both from the perspective of laying out the story, and for showing the scope of the film. After the break, you can see this John Carter edit, as well as a quick fan-made teaser for a live-action version of Akira. Read More »

No one ever thought Disney’s John Carter was going to be a cheap movie. To create a world worthy not only of author Edgar Rice Burroughs but director Andrew Stanton and the studio behind the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, lots and lots of money was going to have to be spent on the effects, the sets and much more. But as production rolled on over several years, reports pegged John Carter as an almost runaway train with an out-of-control budget. One article even said the film would have to make $700 million to be considered for a sequel.

According to the film’s director and producer, those rumors are false.

At the film’s press junket, Stanton and producer Jim Morris both emphatically denied these allegations and, in fact, said the film came in on time and under budget in some places. Read more after the jump. Read More »

The first major interview with John Carter director Andrew Stanton has landed and, fittingly, it’s with Harry Knowles from Ain’t It Cool News. Knowles himself produced the property with four different directors over seven years before Paramount lost the rights and Stanton scooped them up. So he’s got a pretty good grasp on the material. His interview with the filmmaker gets incredibly geeky and detailed about the movie itself but is also very forward looking to the second, and even third, books in the series by Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Gods of Mars and The Warlords of Mars. (Stanton also revealed he’s developing a new short at Pixar with Up director Pete Docter).

Stanton spoke in depth about his fears about tackling those stories, but also revealed that he’s begun the adaptation process and thought long and hard about what story elements, characters and major plot points will appear in the films. If they end up happening at all.

After the jump, read a bunch of quotes from Stanton on the subject of John Carter 2 and 3. Read More »

One of the major obstacles Disney is currently facing with their massive blockbuster John Carter is explaining how and why this movie, which looks so similar to so many others, was made at all. It’s based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, first published in 1917, that has become so engrained in the popular conscious it has almost lost its identity. Burroughs’ vision was so ahead of its time and influenced so many things that came after, those properties have long since taken ownership. But the fact of the matter is, without John Carter, there’s no Star Wars, no Avatar, no Blade Runner, almost no sci-fi in general.

Aiming to fix some of that, Disney has released a 90-second featurette reintroducing the world to John Carter. They’ve also thrown in a bunch of new footage to sweeten the pot. But not too much. The Andrew Stanton-directed film starring Taylor KitschWillem DafoeMark Strong and others will be released March 9. Check it out after the jump. Read More »

While on the Utah set of John Carter, a group of journalists (including myself) has the opportunity to interview to the cast and crew. On the following pages, you can read the interviews we conducted on set, transcribed in full:

Read More »