John Carter

Aug. 08, 2012 | 11:42 a.m.

Our favorite Martians: The red planet, a pop culture history

Carl Sagan once said, "Mars has become a kind of mythic arena onto which we have projected our earthly hopes and fears." Click through the gallery to see how that projection has glowed in pop culture and the arts.
After traveling 352 million miles, NASA‘s Curiosity rover is rolling into history amid the rust-colored ridges of Mars. But pop culture and the arts have been mapping an imaginary landscape on the Red Planet for centuries. So move over, rover, and let fiction take over — flip through the photo and image gallery above to revisit a planet that invades our dreams more than any other. – Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED ‘Twilight Zone': Step through a doorway… Mars as muse: The planet’s sci-fi history The Sci-Fi 50: TV’s greatest characters ‘John Carter’: Andrew Stanton’s Martian history Moebius: The Hero Complex interview Ridley Scott: Magic comes over the horizon ‘John Carter’ set visit: Martian dreams in Utah Jonathan Frakes light years past ‘Farpoint’ ‘Star Trek’: Benedict Cumberbatch lights up RARE PHOTO: When Spock met Hendrix
March 12, 2012 | 11:06 a.m.

‘John Carter’ and the bright red history of Mars as sci-fi muse

John Carter (Frank Frazetta) (featured image)
It was 100 years ago last month that author Edgar Rice Burroughs introduced the character of John Carter — an ornery Confederate soldier, mysteriously transported to Mars, who tangles with green men, and then red ones, from an ancient civilization. Over that century, Mars has been rivaled only by our moon when it comes to off-planet fantasies, and it’s maintained a mystique with no heavenly rivals. On the page and on the screen, our cosmic neighbor has been spun every way imaginable: “The Martian Chronicles,” “My Favorite Martian” and “Total Recall.” The list is growing in another direction as video games such as Red Faction and Doom draw audiences into the Red Planet’s gravitational pull. Disney’s just-released “John Carter” film, a tale of epic fantasy directed by Andrew Stanton at considerable expense, comes after centuries of Martian fascination. “Mars has […]
March 09, 2012 | 11:55 a.m.

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

'John Carter' (Disney)
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 […]
March 07, 2012 | 5:28 p.m.

‘John Carter': ‘Friday Night’ scored Taylor Kitsch a trip to Mars

Andrew Stanton has spent almost five years of his filmmaking career in the orbit of John Carter’s Mars, but even in the decade before that he was pondering the Red Planet’s cinematic possibilities — and the question of which actor could swing the hero’s sword in a feature film adaptation. The Hero Complex IMAX Screening Series brought Stanton and his new film, “John Carter,” to Burbank for a free, early screening of the Disney fantasy epic, and in the Q&A after the movie the director explained that, as a devoted fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character John Carter, he followed every twist and turn of the property’s convoluted path to the screen, even when it was Robert Rodriguez or Jon Favreau listed as director. In the video above, Stanton also said he locked in on Taylor Kitsch as a leading-man candidate all the way back in 2006 […]
March 03, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.

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

John Carter (featured image)
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 […]
March 02, 2012 | 8:57 a.m.

‘John Carter’ set visit: Martian dreams & Hollywood gambles in Utah

Taylor Kitsch, front, as John Carter, tries to avoid creatures in "John Carter." (Frank Conner / Disney)
The windstorm on the way was a nasty one — blinding dust clawing at the red sandstone cliffs, big rigs shuddering and shimmying on their way to the Arizona state line. But with his scarf, goggles and ginger beard, filmmaker Andrew Stanton had the aplomb of an Old World explorer willing to take some elemental beatings if there’s a chance he can put his name on the maps of the future. “On the really harsh days I just keep saying to myself, ‘OK, this is my David Lean moment, this will be the adventure I can look back on,'” Stanton said on that 2010 afternoon in Utah as the wind howled across the set of “John Carter,” the mega-budget fantasy epic that reaches theaters Friday. “This is an adventure and something like this shouldn’t be easy.” Any explorer knows that you […]
Feb. 29, 2012 | 4:10 p.m.

‘John Carter': Andrew Stanton’s ‘time machine moment’

John Carter (featured image)
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 […]
Feb. 27, 2012 | 2:18 p.m.

‘John Carter,’ Marvel-style: New comics aim for ‘epic emotions’

John Carter: The Gods of Mars (featured image)
“John Carter,” the film, arrives on March 9, but that’s only one way to visit the red ridges and valleys of Barsoom. On March 21, Marvel Comics will release the first issue of  “John Carter: The Gods of Mars,” written by Sam Humphries (“Sacrifice”) with art by Ramon Perez (“Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand”) and created in collaboration with the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. This adaptation is considered part of canon — a fact that is not lost on Humphries, who was interviewed recently by Hero Complex lead writer  Geoff Boucher. GB: Writing for canon is exciting but also intimidating. What was your starting-point philosophy as far as expressing your own ideas but also matching the spirit of the Edgar Rice Burroughs bookshelf? SH: The characters were my north star. There’s so many awesome ideas and kick-ass, stand-up-and-cheer moments in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ […]
Feb. 23, 2012 | 10:09 a.m.

‘John Carter’ director Andrew Stanton to skeptics: ‘Trust us’

Writer and director Andrew Stanton arrives at the premiere of "John Carter" on Feb. 22, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles / Associated Press)
“John Carter” will arrive at theaters with something to prove — the Disney fantasy epic is expensive, the trailers haven’t won over the Comic-Con crowd and early polls of moviegoer interest aren’t very pretty at this point — but director Andrew Stanton said his years at Pixar working on projects like “WALL-E” and “Toy Story” taught him to ignore the early skeptics. “That’s always been the case,” Stanton said on the red carpet before the film’s Wednesday premiere in downtown Los Angeles. “People don’t remember how much naysaying there’s been on how much of the other stuff we’ve worked on. You just gotta trust us. We really put our heart and soul into making movies that you’re going to have a real good time watching.” “John Carter,” based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs bookshelf hero who debuted a century ago, opens on March 9. Taylor […]
Feb. 22, 2012 | 4:00 a.m.

‘John Carter': See an early (and free) IMAX screening on Feb. 27

john carter
The rest of the world is waiting until March 9 to see “John Carter” but thanks to the Hero Complex IMAX Screening Series you can visit the kingdoms of Mars on Feb. 27 in Burbank. Even better? It’s free. Space is limited so RSVP right now for our screening, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at AMC Burbank 16. “John Carter” director Andrew Stanton will be on hand for the event, too, and after the movie he’ll be interviewed onstage by Hero Complex lead writer Geoff Boucher. With “John Carter,” the two-time Oscar winner is making his live-action film debut after a sparkling run at Pixar, where he wrote and directed “Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E.” “John Carter” is a digital-era epic but the title character is celebrating his 100th birthday this year.  The adventure hero was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Barsoom series — […]
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