‘John Carter’: Andrew Stanton refuses to underestimate your intelligence

March 03, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.

Lynn Collins plays Dejah Thoris, left, and Taylor Kitsch plays the title character in a scene from "John Carter." (Frank Connor / Disney)

This post has been corrected, as detailed below.

“John Carter” director Andrew Stanton was motivated to make the Disney adventure film, which hits theaters March 9, out of “selfish fan desire,” he told a packed theater after an early screening of the film earlier this week.

Stanton, best known for directing the acclaimed and popular Pixar films “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E,” spoke during a Q&A after a free IMAX screening Monday hosted by Hero Complex’s Geoff Boucher, describing how he came to love the franchise through the John Carter Marvel comics, which led him to the original novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

“This idea of seeing this movie on the screen, I’ve had for 36 years — not as a filmmaker, but as a fan. The year I read it was the same year, later, I saw ‘Star Wars,’ and then I saw ‘Close Encounters,’ and then I saw ‘Alien,’ and I thought it was some invisible promise that meant this book was going to go on the screen next. And I just stood there, waiting, ready to be first in line, and three decades went by, and I just started to get really frustrated that it was never going to get made. And that’s all I ever wanted in my whole life was to see it before I passed from this earth, you know? … It’s purely out of fan desire, selfish fan desire, that I did this risky thing.”

Stanton also said he hopes the books’ present-day obscurity will work in the film’s favor; he doesn’t have to contend with the ire of a massive fan base (like “Harry Potter” readers) for every big-screen change he decided to make.

“It gives you a little license to improve upon it,” Stanton said.

He said he hopes the film will introduce “a whole new generation” to the stories.

“Nobody had invested in the actual details and romance and specific DNA of the 1912 aspect of that book,” Stanton said. “I mean, if I could be a kid in 1976 and fall in love with a book from 1912 for exactly its antiquated prose, then I had complete faith that somebody in 2012 could. To me that was what was somehow breaking the barriers of time about it. It’s not like you read ‘Moby-Dick’ and go, ‘Oh, we’d better put battleships and laser-guns in it, or else nobody’s going to want to watch this.’ I just feel like that completely underestimates the intelligence of the audience.”

Watch the video above to hear more about why Stanton decided to make “John Carter.” And watch the first video clip here.

– Noelene Clark

[For the record, 8:07 a.m. March 3: An earlier version of this post misstated Andrew Stanton's connection to the film "Toy Story." He was one of the writers of the movie but did not direct it.]


‘John Carter’ set visit: Martian dreams in Utah

‘John Carter’: Stanton brings new mojo

Stanton: Marvel’s Mars was my ‘gateway drug’

Stanton to ‘Burroughs’ fans’: ‘Trust us’ 

‘John Carter’: Stanton’s Martian history

‘John Carter’ fan: My Martian fascination

‘John Carter’: Marvel comics’ ‘epic emotions’

‘Tarzan and His Mate,’ the ‘Avatar’ of its era?

‘Flash Gordon,’ reconsidered

Harrison Ford: Today’s sci-fi films are soulless

Brad Bird: Hollywood afraid to copy Pixar


5 Responses to ‘John Carter’: Andrew Stanton refuses to underestimate your intelligence

  1. Hmm… Stanton directed "Wall-E", not "Toy Story".

  2. POW says:

    This is going to tank at the box office, not matter what he says.

  3. Fitzcarraldo says:

    The guy deserves to succeed. A Princess of Mars is a great story even if it is dated pulp fiction (I couldn't put the book down). Hopefully I can get to an IMAX to see John Carter soon.

  4. Fitz says:

    Stanton is already behind the eight ball because of people like Nikki Finke. The obsession with the film's budget is irritating.

  5. William says:

    He co wrote two of the toy story films…

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