John Carter’s cosmic adventure on Mars is a checklist of what every 11-year-old boy wants, Andrew Stanton told a packed theater Monday after an early screening of his Disney film “John Carter.” The IMAX screening and Q&A in Burbank, Calif., were hosted by Hero Complex writer Geoff Boucher.
The film, which opens in theaters March 9, follows a Civil War veteran who is transported to Mars, where he finds himself caught in the middle of a war between alien kingdoms. The story is based on the classic adventure novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
“When you’re 10 or 11 years old, and you’ve discovered girls, but they haven’t discovered you yet, and you’re reading about this ordinary guy that’s suddenly extraordinary on another planet, he’s got the coolest best friend, the coolest pet, and he’s winning the heart of the most beautiful girl in the universe, that’s like a checklist of everything you’ve ever wanted,” Stanton told the audience.
Stanton, best known for directing the Pixar films “Finding Nemo” and “WALL·E ,” said he was about that age when he first discovered John Carter, the adventure hero who battles aliens on Mars.
“My gateway drug was the Marvel comics of John Carter,” Stanton said. “My friends were drawing these four-armed creatures with tusks, and I said, ‘What are those?’ And they said, ‘Those are Tharks. This is Tars Tarkas,’ and then they threw the comic book at me. … By the time I was in high school finishing [the books], my girlfriends would call them my romance novels.”
Stanton also shared how, after nurturing a lifelong love of the John Carter stories, the film fell into his hands, saying that he never planned to direct the film, but was thrilled it happened.
“This is one of those time machine moments, where if you had a time machine, I wouldn’t use it to kill Hitler, I wouldn’t use it to save JFK; I’d go back to myself at 10 and I’d go, ‘Dude, don’t mess anything up, cause guess what?’ “
Hear the rest of Stanton’s story in the video clip above.
– Noelene Clark
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