Not just anyone can be John Carter. Taylor Kitsch found that out the hard way while auditioning for the role, his first big movie as the lead. And even though he had been unfamiliar with the John Carter books before, the role was, according to Kitsch, something he was "willing to do anything for."
In the upcoming adaption of Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved "A Princess of Mars," Kitsch plays a Civil War veteran who finds himself transported to another planet. The Martians task Carter with saving the planet and rescuing the captive princess, played by Lynn Collins. The production finally came together recently after lingering in development for years and losing Jon Favreau, who was once attached to direct.
The journey began by meeting with the director Andrew Stanton, best known for his work on Pixar films. "I knew of Stanton, of course, and I was a huge fan," Kitsch says. "He was a big fan of Riggins, my 'Friday Night Lights' character, so right away we kind of pushed each other because we were so excited about just meeting one another."
After their initial meeting, Stanton took Kitsch through some of the preproduction work that the director and his team had already finished. "It's literally floor-to-ceiling in prep and pictures, storyboards, arc of John Carter, arc of the Tharks, Dejah," Kitsch said. "It's not overwhelming, but it's like, OK, this guy's not screwing around."
That first meeting was just the beginning for Kitsch. The producers put him through "a lot," but he understood that it all needed to happen. "It's such a grand movie, and John is in every shot of this film, so of course it's a big gap. You go on film, and you read for him a couple times and then you get to the screen test and you're starting to battle through this," Kitsch said.
But Stanton was there for his eventual star every step of the way, especially during the two-day screen test. "This really says a lot about who he is. He takes you the day before and does a walkthrough," Kitsch said. "He just puts everything level when you get there on the day. That just helped me settle in a lot."
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