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John Carter Early Poster Teases, Does Not Inform

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 17, 2011 at 4:11AM

Hitfix's Drew McWeeny doesn't like the early teaser poster (below) for Pixar writer-director Andrew Stanton's long-in-the-works live-action debut, the sci-fi adventure John Carter, arguing that the Mouse House has plenty of rich visual material to work with--why go so stark?
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Thompson on Hollywood

Hitfix's Drew McWeeny doesn't like the early teaser poster (below) for Pixar writer-director Andrew Stanton's long-in-the-works live-action debut, the sci-fi adventure John Carter, arguing that the Mouse House has plenty of rich visual material to work with--why go so stark?

Disney is clearly planning a long strategic campaign that will try to avoid alienating folks who may not respond to colorful Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars adventure illustrations like the one above. They already took "Of Mars" off the title. This is a teaser poster that is designed to be mysterious and provoke moviegoers to ask for more. Disney has plenty of time to reveal the world to discreet market segments, as the movie doesn't open until March 9, 2012 (against Playing The Field and John Cusack's Untitled Raven Project). With an immersive digital environment and performance captured four-armed Green Martians, this movie is expensive; Disney is going to recruit as wide a following as possible, not chase the core. This is a tentpole, one that Paramount inexplicably put in turnaround, whereupon Disney/Pixar animation czar John Lasseter promptly plucked it up. A teaser trailer is expected soon.

The cast, poster and more details are below.

Thompson on Hollywood

Ambience of Media lays out the cast nicely:

▪ Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) – Confederate veteran of the Civil War.
▪ Lynn Collins (Dejah Thoris) – A Red Martian princess.
▪ Willem Dafoe (Tars Tarkas) – High ranking warrior member of the Tharks, one of the Green Martian tribes, who ultimately allies with Carter.
▪ Samantha Morton (Sola) – The daughter of Tars Takas, who has an unusually soft side for her species and must hide it.
▪ Dominic West (Sab Than) – The prince of the Zodangans, which is a tribe of the Red Martians.
▪ Polly Walker (Sarkoja) – A tyrannical Green Martian who delights in having Dejah as a prisoner.
▪ Thomas Haden Church (Tal Hajus) – An ambitious Thark, one of the tall four-armed Martians, waiting for his chance to be ruler.
▪ James Purefoy (Kantos Kan) – A Red Martian captain of a floating warship.
▪ Mark Strong (Matai Shang) – Ruler of the Therns (descendants of the White Martians) with godlike status.
▪ Ciarin Hinds (Tardos Mors) – Grandfather of Dejah Thoris and leader of their tribe.
▪ Bryan Cranston – A fellow veteran of the Civil War accompanying John Carter at the story’s beginning.
▪ Daryl Sabara (Edgar Rice Burroughs) – Fictionalized nephew of John Carter.

Pixar's Mark Andrews co-wrote the adaptation of the 1912 serial that spawned eight novels. This first Martian Novel sends a dying Confederate soldier to the red planet, where lower gravity gives him super-strength, which helps to attract humanoid Red Martian Princess Dejah Thoris. Pixar fave and Oscar-winner Michael Giacchino (Up) is also on board. I'm excited about this one.

This article is related to: Genres, Studios, Stuck In Love, In Production, Marketing, Production , Sci-fi, Action, Disney , Screenwriters, Digital Future, Sound and Score


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.