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Disney’s John Carter Movie Fun Facts

I’m so excited to see Disney’s John Carter. Part of the movie was filmed in my home state of Utah so I know that scenery is going to be spectacular. I’ve made those facts BOLD below. ;)  It’s also one of the few Disney movies my husband mentioned wanting to see (without the kiddos’ input)!
March 9th is the release date nationwide.
Here are some Fun Facts about John Carter.
  • “John Carter” is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first novel, “A Princess of Mars.” An American writer, Burroughs was born in Chicago and is best known for writing and creating “Tarzan”—still one of the most successful and iconic fictional creations of all time.
  •  2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the character John Carter, the original space hero featured in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Barsoom” series. Heroic John Carter has thrilled generations with his adventures on Mars.
  • Since 1935, various filmmakers have attempted to make a movie based on “A Princess of Mars”—the first was intended to be an animated feature film by Bob Clampett of “Beany and Cecil” fame. If it had been made, it would have been America’s first full-length animated film, prior to Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” which premiered in 1937.
  • Academy Award®–winning director/writer Andrew Stanton directed and co-wrote the screenplay for “WALL•E,” which earned the Academy Award® and Golden Globe Award® for Best Animated Feature of 2008. He was Oscar®-nominated for the screenplay. Stanton made his directorial debut with “Finding Nemo,” garnering an Academy Awardnomination for Best Original Screenplay and winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of 2003. He was one of the four screenwriters to receive an Oscar nomination in 1996 for his contribution to “Toy Story” and went on to receive credit as a screenwriter on subsequent Pixar films “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Finding Nemo” and “WALL•E.”
  • A fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Barsoom” series of books since childhood, Director/Writer Andrew Stanton says he was inspired to bring “John Carter” to the big screen—in his first foray into live action—because he had always been attracted to the concept of a human finding himself on Mars, among the creatures of a strange new world.
  • The stellar ensemble cast is led by Taylor Kitsch (NBC’S “Friday Night Lights”, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) in the title role, Lynn Collins (“50 First Dates,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) as the warrior princess Dejah Thoris and Oscar® nominee Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man,” “Shadow of the Vampire”) as Martian inhabitant Tars Tarkas. The cast also includes Thomas Haden Church (“Sideways,” “Spider-Man 3”), Polly Walker (“Clash of the Titans,” “Patriot Games”), Samantha Morton (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” “In America”), Mark Strong (“Sherlock Holmes,” “Body of Lies”), Ciaran Hinds (“Munich,” “There Will Be Blood”), British actor Dominic West (“300,” “Chicago”), James Purefoy (“Vanity Fair,” “Resident Evil”) and Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”). Daryl Sabara (“Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” “Spy Kids”) takes the role of John Carter’s teenaged nephew, Edgar Rice Burroughs.
  • Michael Chabon, who won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature for his novel “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” is a writer on the screenplay along with Andrew Stanton & Mark Andrews.
  • “John Carter” screenwriters Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon discovered they had something in common when they met: they all still possessed the John Carter drawings and artwork that they had done when they were boys.
  • The award-winning below-the-line team includes Production Designer Nathan Crowley, Oscar®-nominated for both “Dark Knight” and “The Prestige,” and Costume Designer Mayes C. Rubeo, whose work is showcased in “Avatar” and “Apocalypto.”
  • Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino has received numerous accolades for his work on previous Disney•Pixar films “Up” (Oscar® winner, Best Original Score; BAFTA winner, Best Music; Golden Globe® winner, Best Original Score for a Motion Picture; GRAMMY® Award winner, Best Score Soundtrack Album), “Ratatouille” (GRAMMY Award winner, Best Score Soundtrack Album; Annie Award winner, Best Music in an Animated Feature Production; Oscarnomination, Best Original Score) and “The Incredibles” (Annie Award winner, Best Music in an Animated Feature Production; GRAMMY nomination, Best Score Soundtrack Album).
  • Filming of “John Carter” began in the UK on January 4, 2010. The bulk of the movie’s stage work (along with exterior sequences set on Earth) was filmed at Shepperton Studios, London and Longcross Studios in Chelburn, over a four-month period. Then production moved to Utah for an additional 12 weeks of shooting, with locations in Moab, Lake Powell, the Delta salt flats, Hanksville (where the US space agency, NASA, has tested robotic vehicles), and Big Water—a vast mesa of granulated shale and sandstone set before a towering ring of red cliffs that border the Grand Staircase National Monument.
  • On Saturday, June 5, 2010, crewmembers, working on location in Utah, found a large bone protruding from the ground. The Bureau of Land Management confirmed it was in fact a Sauropod bone—either a femur or scapula—from a dinosaur that could have been 60ft long. An excavation is currently taking place to retrieve the rest of the prehistoric skeleton discovered by the “John Carter” crew.
  • Battling the extreme conditions of the desert, the film unit worked in temperatures in excess of 120 degrees in Hanksville, Utah, and consumed over 360 gallons of water per day. 
  • Lake Powell, Utah, the location used for the River of Iss in the film, is over 180 miles in length and has over 2,000 miles of shoreline—more than the whole of the west coast of America.
  •  For the battle scenes between the Zodangans and the Heliumites, over 1000 extras were given a professional, if slightly darker than average, St. Tropez fake tan.
  • The Ancient Barsoomian typography carved into the walls of the sacred temples in “John Carter” took their original design from actual markings found on the surface of the planet Mars.
  • Working from the original source material, a linguist was hired to create the entire Thark Martian language, using just a few words mentioned in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels.
  • The actors playing the nine-foot tall, green Thark characters had to learn to walk on stilts to film the scenes with John Carter, giving the correct eye-line contact for the dialogue.
  • Over 120,000 Swarovski crystals were used in Dejah Thoris’ Zodangan wedding outfit, including her dress, the train, crown and cuffs, and each stone was applied by hand one by one.
  • Stunt Coordinator Tom Struthers was delighted and amazed that Taylor Kitsch did 98% of his own stunt work, including an 85-foot jump in the learning-to-walk sequence, a 65-foot jump in the arena, battling the ferocious white apes, and a 250- foot long series of jumps in the Martian wilderness.
  • Cinema audiences will be astonished to see actress Lynn Collins, when not donning her Dejah Thoris look, has strawberry blonde hair and fair skin.
  • The approximate number of costumes designed by Mayes C. Rubeo for the film was 1,800.
  • 383 yards of material were used for just one of Matai Shang’s silver Thern robes and the robe took approximately 250 man-hours to make by hand.
  • While filming in Utah, the film crew came across a small space center called the Mars Society Desert Research Station. No one was home but the Website reads: Teams of hard-working volunteers, working in full simulation mode in the barren canyon lands of Utah, continue to explore the surrounding terrain, cataloging more waypoints, and analyzing the geology and biology of this fascinating and remarkably Mars-like region.”


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