By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 24, 2009 at 6:48AM
I was brought up in Manhattan by a single Dad. His best pal Jerry Rubenstein's idea of a birthday present for an eight-year-old, girl or boy, was Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I scarfed it up and read every single book ever written by Burroughs, especially his Barsoom Martian novels. I read The Chessmen of Mars over and over. Burroughs took you into an exotic world, much as Burroughs fan James Cameron does in Avatar, or Wall-E writer-director Andrew Stanton will do in his first live-action feature, a film take on John Carter of Mars. In both stories, an American visits a faraway planet inhabited by strange creatures. In John Carter of Mars, co-written by Mark Andrews, Civil War hero John Carter is transported to the red planet Barsoom, where he must adapt, and meets a princess.
John Carter of Mars starts at the first of the year. Stanton's a terrific writer-director, but at my February writers panel in Santa Barbara, admitted to feeling some anxiety about working in a strange medium away from his Pixar comfort zone. His cast is shaping up. In June, Disney announced the two leads: Wolverine stars Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins. Now they are adding supporting cast: Dominic
Cooper West (300, The Wire), Polly Walker (Rome) and Samantha Morton (Minority Report). I have high hopes for this one.