‘John Carter’: Creating Woola, lizard-dog Lassie of Mars

March 09, 2012 | 11:55 a.m.

Never work with children or animals, the Hollywood adage goes, because they steal every scene. A fantastical addendum for the Martian action-adventure epic “John Carter” might be: Never work with a 10-legged, giant lizard dog either. Woola, the homely, Martian canine creature called a Calot in director Andrew Stanton’s new Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation, was little-seen in the promotion or marketing for the film, but has emerged as an early fan favorite.

“It’s sort a boy and his dog,” Stanton said, explaining Woola’s appeal. “Who wouldn’t want a dog that could run like the Roadrunner in the Warner Bros. cartoons and go that fast?”

A kind of Barsoomian man’s best friend, Woola quickly cottons to Taylor Kitsch’s flinty Confederate Civil War veteran, following him loyally across the Red Planet’s sandy dunes. Like his master, Woola travels with unearthly speed. The trick for Stanton and his team was calibrating the precise degree of ugly-cuteness for the creature, who is central to the Burroughs books.

The photo gallery above includes an early attempt at the Martian answer to Lassie in a piece of concept art, as well as stills from some of Woola’s finer moments in the film. Really, nothing makes you say awwww like three grinning rows of teeth.

— Rebecca Keegan

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Comments


20 Responses to ‘John Carter’: Creating Woola, lizard-dog Lassie of Mars

  1. Jordan says:

    I loved the movie the dog in it moola reminded me of my bulldog so bad I was cracking up about it every time I seen it great movie

    • Bomber1j says:

      Ha!! It reminds me of my Staffy, Lucy! With the big head and playful and surprisingly fast!! :D

    • STEPHEN SOPKO says:

      THIS MOVIE which got a thumbs down right before release from the hollywood "shills' told me right there that it was good…as it turns out it was GREAT and beyound major thumbs up regardless of your return disney this team that put this together far surpassed the avatar which i also like but no comparison "BRAVO"

  2. Lynn says:

    Just saw the Movie. Loved it. I think it is better than Avatar. It has a better plot, more character development and a spectacular vision of Mars. Woola the "Lizard-dog" is wonderful.

  3. Horace Austin says:

    Saw the film tonight. Woola is a cool pooch!

  4. Susan Friel-Williams says:

    Hello,

    We saw John Carter last night. Loved the movie but especially loved Woola, who reminds us 'exactly' of our pugs. Whoever created this concept must either be a pug owner or fan!

    Susan Friel-Williams
    Cape Coral, FL

  5. Firannion says:

    Am I the only viewer of 'John Carter' whose immediate response to Woola was, 'This must be where Terry Pratchett got the idea for the Luggage in the Discworld books'?

  6. Paul says:

    The Woola reminds me of a dog-like character from a cartoon in the late 50s/60s. Speedy and everywhere. Does anyone else recall character?

  7. @KriBoc says:

    How i loved woola can't wait to have a stuff toy like him! i really loved animals no matter what the looks as long as its good to its human besftriend! John carter movie was great! watched it with my bf :D

  8. taya says:

    woola is very very cute. I really really love him.

  9. sha says:

    loved woola! cant wait to have a stuffed toy like him!

  10. Sarah says:

    Woola captures the endearing traits of dogs to perfection. He reminds me of my Chow, and I hope to have a model of him in the near future!

    • ajolivette says:

      I agree… he is exactly like my chow chow. He drops to the ground like my chow, acts like my chow, and the color of the tongue is pretty close to the unique chow colored tongue. I wonder if that was on purpose.

  11. brandy says:

    I loved the woola and always love you woola

  12. Shahid Zeb says:

    Hi,
    I Saw the John Carter so really its a Fantastic Movie.It’s amaizing !
    And Specially I LOVE WOOLA :) !
    Woola is so Cute and Lovely.

  13. cltaylor12 says:

    Where is the petition to get Disney to create a Woola plush toy?? I want one, NOW.

  14. Aimee says:

    Someone create a plush of Woola! Just viewed the movied and adored the dog-like creature that was John Carter's companion. It would be a huge success!

  15. Jojo says:

    Woola is the cutest thing I have ever sean! I want one!

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