While on the rounds promoting Daybreakers Willem Dafoe revealed to io9 that he will be heading to London next week to begin work on John Carter of Mars. Dafoe will be playing a 10-foot alien with four arms called Tars Tarkas.
What was the appeal in doing John Carter of Mars?
Andrew Stanton, the material, the idea that I’m going to play a 10-foot Martian Warrior. I live very much in the independent cinema world, which is great and that’s where we find a lot of great filmmakers and sometimes more freedom to make personal films. But the flip side of that is, sometimes there isn’t a lot of protection or care. There may be an emotional rigor, but sometimes you don’t have the the technical stuff to work with. You can have lousy lighting [and] no time to prepare properly. You are very vulnerable.
When someone asks you to make a movie directed by Andrew Stanton, with Disney behind, a big tent-pole movie… I know from making Finding Nemo how these Pixar guys work. They’re very thorough , they’re very rigorous, they really get it. It’s a real pleasure because you get so protected because they are so well researched. And you get so much help trying to make something. I think I got excited about that. I like to go back and forth, but it was time to do a big movie again.
Are you going to have to wear two extra prosthetic arms?
I’m not telling. And you know what, I can’t talk that much about it, because I don’t know yet. We don’t even start shooting next week it’s part of prep, I go to London and we do the things that we need to do to know how to start this project… I think officially production starts the 18th.
John Carter of Mars will be director Andrew Stanton’s first big live-action movie after working on Finding Nemo and Wall-E. As well as Dafoe, the cast includes Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins (Gambit and Kayla from X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Thomas Haden Church who played Sandman in Spider-Man 3, Mark Strong who we recently saw in Sherlock Holmes, Dominic West, James Purefoy and Samantha Morton.
Carter is an American Civil War veteran who goes to sleep in a cave after being chased by Apache Indians and wakes up on Mars, here called Barsoom. Formerly an Earthlike world, it became less hospitable to life due to its advanced age: as the oceans evaporated, and the atmosphere thinned, the planet devolved into partial barbarism with the inhabitants hardened and warlike, fighting one another to survive. Barsoomians distribute scarce water supplies via a worldwide system of canals, controlled by quarreling city-states. The Martian atmosphere is maintained by a power plant. Carter rescues a humanoid Red Martian princess, Dejah Thoris, from the belligerent four-armed Green Martians, whose respect he gains for his superior strength and fighting ability. He enlists the Green Martians’ assistance in winning a civil war, and saves Mars from destruction when its atmosphere plant malfunctions.