Utah, Utah, Utah… you’ve been busy.
While Hollywood filmmakers continually tap the likes of Los Angeles, New York and Australia as shooting locations, the Beehive State has been quietly amassing a list of high profile projects of its own — most recently this summer’s “Star Trek,” and now yet another science fiction project.
According to an article in today’s Salt Lake Tribune, “John Carter of Mars,” the long-developing (like, ancient long) movie project from Disney and Pixar based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel series, will film partially in Utah from November to July 2010.
Most recently, Utah moonlighted as the ill-fated planet Vulcan for J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek.” Now, it’ll double as Mars for the Andrew Stanton-directed film. Stanton’s career is primarily rooted in animation, but his job as the director of “WALL-E” more than proved that he’s got the chops to take on “Carter.” In fact, Stanton has said that the movie will combine live-action and animated effects, making him an ideal candidate for the job.
If you’re scratching your head wondering what the film is even about, here’s a primer: “John Carter of Mars” focuses on the titular American Civil War veteran who is majestically transported from Arizona to Mars, where he discovers newfound enhanced strength thanks to differences in gravity. Carter later falls in love with Dejah Thoris, a Martian princess. Romance, adventure and space battling ensues.
Certainly, Utah has cause to celebrate the happy arrival of the “Carter” production team — Utah Film Commission executive director Marshall Moore says that it is “the biggest movie we’ve ever used incentives on,” speaking of the tax credit that the production will receive.
But the real winners here are the fans. A wide variety of attempts to bring “John Carter” to theaters have failed in the past, despite interest from film industry notables such as Robert Rodriguez, Jon Favreau and even Ain’t It Cool News webmaster Harry Knowles.
Now, it looks like the movie will actually happen, and soon. The novel-turned-film begins lensing in November, according to The Tribune — leading me to speculate that Utah will be serving turkey for several rabid “Carter” fans come Thanksgiving.
Are you excited to hear that “John Carter of Mars” is finally gearing up for production, or are you concerned that the once ill-fated project will fall into old habits?