In the never-before-seen clip from “John Carter,” the titular hero plays a little hard to get with the Princess of Mars, Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). Carter needs to find a way back to Earth after his unintentional trip to Mars, or Barsoom, depending on which planet you call home, but he’s not exactly trusting of the Martian princess.
The plot may seem a bit convoluted, but Kitsch said that it all boils down to a story about a man. “The core of it is truly a guy that’s been broken,” he said. “He lost his family and gets transported on to Mars, as you do, and has this opportunity in front of him. The people, a woman, Dejah Thoris, pulls it out of him. To use clichés, puts that light back on within himself. He finds that cause again.”
The story of “John Carter” began with an 11-book series by “Tarzan” author Edgar Rice Burroughs, initially released “almost 100 years to the day, by the way, which is incredible to this release,” Kitsch said. A handful of directors have attempted to adapt the classic stories, but none was successful until Andrew Stanton, director of “WALL-E” and “Finding Nemo,” created this version.
As soon as Kitsch met Stanton, he knew that he needed to be a part of the project. “I had an amazing first general meeting with Stanton. You walk into this room, and it’s floor-to-ceiling preparation,” Kitsch said. “The beauty of this meeting — and that’s when you know you’re safe as an actor — is that he didn’t talk about budget, didn’t talk about the grandeur of it all, the scope. It was truly just the character of Carter. I walked out of that meeting and was like, ‘OK, my hat’s in the ring. I’m going to do whatever I’ve got to do to get this role.’ ”
Getting the role was only the beginning of Kitsch’s work. He quickly went on a strict routine in order to prepare for his mostly shirtless role. “It was the diet and training regimen, start to finish, for about 11 months, and then it was sword training, wire work and just trying to stay in that shape for seven months is a tough go,” he said.
But even that kind of physical prep wasn’t enough to ward off some of the injuries that come from jumping around Barsoom. Kitsch listed his injuries for MTV News, of which there were many. “High ankle sprain. Both groins were pulled. Hamstring pull. Arm went numb. Shoulder strain,” he said. “Chest got cut open quite intently. It was a bloody mess. Then you got Stanton going, ‘Action. Let him bleed.’ ”
The movie lands in theaters March 9.
Check out everything we’ve got on “John Carter.”
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