Andrew Stanton Talks John Carter
I had spent all my life reading the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs and imagining what it would be like to stand in the desert talking to the 9-foot tall creatures he wrote about so distinctively, so I wanted this movie to feel as real as possible. The Ape Arena in John Carter is a perfect example of this. We went all the way to Utah and found a big patch of sand where we built the throne area and the dungeon area for the scene. Everything else was green screen, but we built enough for Taylor Kitsch, Willem Dafoe and all of the other actors to feel like they were really there in the arena. We were always trying to strike a balance by building enough so that if we had to have green screen, the actors didn’t feel like they were standing in the middle of nothing.
What were the conditions like in the desert when you shot John Carter in Utah?
We got to Utah in April thinking it would be really warm, but it was freezing. It warmed up just enough for when we shot the scenes on the river – but then we got hit with sandstorms. The only thing that was helpful is that in Utah you can see for almost 100 miles, so you can spot any bad weather coming and you can plan for it. You can aim to get the shot done before the storm hits because you have a certain amount of warning. I was so adamant about staying on schedule and on time that I said, “We’re just going to shoot it whatever happens. If Clint Eastwood can do it, I can do it. If Clint Eastwood does one take, I can do one take. Let’s go for it!” And we’d jump in and do it. It was great.
So what’s next for you and Pixar?
I’m not working on any Pixar features right now. However, I have a Pixar short that I’m working on with Pete Docter. Plus, I’m working on a couple of other options. I’ve had lots of ideas over the years, so there’s always something bubbling around in my mind. We’ll just have to see where that takes me next.
JOHN CARTER is Available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray Hi-Def & DVD June 5th.