The Great Unmade? Kerry Conran’s John Carter Of Mars


John Carter (Of Mars) is a property, based on the century-old Edgar Rice Burroughs high fantasy/science fiction adventures, that was knocking around for some time, waiting for someone to lick it into shape. Director Andrew Stanton’s take (Wall-E, Finding Nemo) sadly failed to connect with a mass audience, and the rights have now slipped out of Disney’s reins, signalling a death knell for any future entries.

Below is a video pitch from director Kerry Conran (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) that predates Stanton’s involvement. Conran was one of several directors the baton was passed to during development hell; others included Robert Rodriguez and Jon Favreau.

Kerry Conran’s brother Kevin, who served as¬†production and costume designer on Sky Captain recently recounted the attempt to get the Conran John Carter made:

We worked on that for almost a year. Paramount gave us a fair chunk of money to hire a bunch of guys and put some test footage together. We were actually all prepared to fly to Australia for it and scout locations. We were going to shoot some of the live-action stuff down there. It was right around that time that [CEO] Sherry Lansing left Paramount, she had been our champion. The new regime, as is often the case, just scuttled everything that was in the mix. We were tabled for a while and didn’t know our fate. It left us and of course ended up going to Disney, who made the film.”

He believes it could have trumped Jim Cameron’s Avatar:

“I tell my friends, had we been able to finish John Carter and get it released, it would’ve changed Hollywood history in a really profound way. Avatar came out a year or two after we would’ve been released, and it’s a similar story – Earth warrior goes to alien world, falls in love and leads an uprising. We had things in our version of John Carter that are actually in Avatar, the flying mountains and four-winged lizard creatures. All this kind of stuff, we had in our early prep work.

“It’s weird. If we’d come out a year-and-a-half ahead of Avatar, they would’ve had to scramble and change some things. We were close, we were on the way to Australia and had spent three-and-a-half million bucks doing tests and hiring people. We thought we were going to do it.”

The presentation reel is a fascinating insight into how his film may have looked, featuring a mix of concept art, animation, live action and CGI pre-viz alien interaction, linked by a narrative outlining the basic plot. Some of the designs may look familiar from trailers for Stanton’s John Carter: he inherited quite a bit of the pre-production designs when he took over the reigns, adding his own twists. The video is below. Click here for a load of concept art as well.

Originally posted 2015-04-11 15:31:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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