John Carter of Mars cast shaping up nicely

Willem Dafoe joins Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins in the Disney live-action film adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars. The Hollywood Reporter and other news sites broke the news this weekend that Dafoe had signed on to play the giant green man of Barsoom.

Tars Tarkus befriends John Carter, who appears on Mars mysteriously after “dying” in a cave on Earth. The Green Men are completely hostile to the more human-like Red Men of Barsoom (Mars) and to each other. Carter nonetheless proves he is worthy of Tars Tarkus’ trust and friendship and together the two go on to tame the warlike civilizations of the dying planet.

Some people wonder how Disney intends to portray the Green Men. Will they be reduced in stature? Will they have only two arms instead of four? I hope not. I think Disney has proven it has the technology to turn Willem Dafoe and a host of other actors into very tall, four-armed warriors. Whether Dafoe will turn to motion-capture technology to portray his character is an open question, but I think that’s a real option.

And it sounds to me like Disney is hoping to turn this movie into a franchise. Dafoe appeared in all three “Spider-man” movies so he is no stranger to fantasy film franchise work.

“John Carter of Mars” is scheduled for release in 2012, which would coincide with the 100th anniversary of the original publication of “A Princess of Mars”, the story that introduced John Carter, Dejah Thoris, and Tars Tarkus.


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