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Suddenly the John Carter of Mars news is flowing like crazy. Thomas Haden Church said on Reel Talk with Jeffrey Lyons that he’d be joining the film, in what he calls a ‘very dramatic role’. He’ll work alongside Taylor Kitsch (as John Carter) and Lynn Collins (as Dejah Thoris, heir to the Martian kingdom). Andrew Stanton will make his live-action directing debut with the film, which is written by Stanton and Mark Andrews, with additional recent work by Michael Chabon.

The actor said specifically that he was “probably going to do a huge science fiction drama at Disney called John Carter of Mars.” We’ve wondered exactly where on the Disney/Pixar line this project would fall, as it hasn’t been anywhere on Pixar’s announced slate. Increasingly, as reports of impending work in Utah have come out, it seems that this is primarily a Disney picture, even if it has Pixar talent. (Stanton and Andrews and, since we still understand that it will feature animation, possibly some other Pixar staff?) Work is set to begin in Utah in November, and Haden Church said that he’d be working on the film in the spring, so that gives some idea of the production timeline.

Based on the novel A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, this should indeed be a huge film. Collins isn’t the most inspiring cast, but Thomas Haden Church is reliably fantastic, and blessed with the sort of old-school character actor face that seems to exist in far fewer numbers these days. And hell, I liked Kitsch in Wolverine and will be interested to see if he’s got the quality necessary to carry a big sci-fi opera like this one.

The movie will follow Civil War vet John Carter, who is transplanted to Mars, where he discovers a lush, wildly diverse planet whose main inhabitants are 12-foot tall green barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, who is in desperate need of a savior.

[via ComingSoon]

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