Dafoe Takes Aim at “John Carter of Mars”


Willem Dafoe’s “Daybreakers” opens Friday, but on Wednesday he talked a bit about what attracted him to his next project, the hotly anticipated “John Carter of Mars,” in which he’ll play a four-armed giant.

Andrew Stanton, the material, the idea that I’m gonna play a 10-foot Martian warrior,” he said laughing. “When someone asks you to make a movie directed by Andrew Stanton, with Disney behind it, a big, tent-pole movie… I know from making “Finding Nemo” how these Pixar guys work. They’re very thorough, they’re very rigorous, they really get it. It’s a real pleasure because you get so protected, because they’re so well researched and you get so much help trying to make something.”

Dafoe recently met with Stanton to go over some preliminary things about the challenges of creating a character like Tars Tarkas from Edgar Rice Burroughs's 11-volume Barsoom series.

“He showed me some samples, just so I can understand what I’m in for… Mostly about ideas for how they are going to film these creatures next to human beings. ‘Cause we do play the scenes, its not like some people’s fantasies – they put you in a room and they sample you and then go off and they do this computer magic and nobody ever plays a scene. It’s not like that, we’re gonna play these scenes."

Ever the good soldier, when pressed for details on how Tarkas will be brought to life, specifically will the two extra limbs be prosthetics, Dafoe played coy and then played dumb.

“I’m not tellin’!” he bellowed good-naturedly. “I’m not telling, and you know what? I can’t talk that much about it, because I don’t know yet. We don’t even start shooting next week, it’s part of prep, I go to London and we start to do the things we need to do to know how to solve these problems. I think officially production starts the 18th."

Are we really gonna have to wait until 2012 for this?

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