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Robert Rodriguez to helm Burrough's "John Carter of Mars"

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Robert Rodriguez to helm Burrough's "John Carter of Mars"

Old 03-08-04, 11:52 AM
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Robert Rodriguez to helm E.R. Burroughs' "John Carter of Mars"

ROBERT RODRIGUEZ: WARLORD OF MARS


Paramount Pictures has signed Robert Rodriguez to helm sci-fi adventure-actioner "A Princess of Mars," with an eye to developing a tentpole franchise for the studio.

Par-based Alphaville Prods., partnered with Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios, plans to begin shooting early next year. Pic is based on the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-volume "John Carter of Mars" series. Producers will be Alphaville toppers Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks with Rodriguez and producing partner Elizabeth Avellan.

Scripted by Mark Protosevich ("The Cell"), the film may be called "A Princess of Mars" or "John Carter of Mars." Cast has not yet been set.

The "John Carter" series is replete with time travel, fantastical creatures both friendly and ferocious, epic battles, rescues, escapes and romantic derring-do. Budget will top $100 million due to extensive CGI with the goal of matching the scale and scope of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

"After 'Lord of the Rings,' this is probably the last well known fantasy classic yet to be made, and that's because it wasn't possible until technology caught up," Rodriguez said. The film's otherworldly visuals will greatly tax the technological abilities of his production facility in Austin, where the film will be made. That, too, was a major attraction for Rodriguez.

"I will get an opportunity to expand my Texas operation much the way Peter Jackson did in New Zealand," Rodriguez added. "I've got an infrastructure now with stages and a special effects company, but this is such a big movie everything will be taken to the next level."

Rodriguez, who's repped by ICM, will prep "Mars" while he shoots "Sin City" for Dimension on those stages.

Alphaville carries strong credentials in the fantasy f/x arena, having produced U's successful trio of "The Mummy," "The Mummy Returns" and "The Scorpion King." The three films generated a combined worldwide gross over $1 billion.

Deal for "A Princess of Mars" is a departure from Paramount's usual risk-averse strategy, particularly in light of last year's middling perf from high-priced adventure pic "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life." In recent months, Par's also shaken up its exec team and signed high-profile deals with Adam Sandler for "The Longest Yard" and Charlize Theron for "Aeon Flux."

Par has been pursuing Rodriguez in recent weeks, with studio topper Sherry Lansing winging to Austin to meet with the helmer of the "Spy Kids" series and the trilogy of "El Mariachi," "Desperado" and "Once Upon a Time in Mexico."

"We are working off one of the great fantasy/adventure stories of all time," Jacks said. "It's very challenging because the 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings' films have set the bar so high."

"A Princess of Mars" is the first adventure of American Civil War veteran John Carter, triggered when he retreats to a cave to avoid capture by Apache Indians. He is transported via a time portal to the planet of Barsoom, which he believes is Mars, and is taken prisoner by 12-foot-tall Green Men.

The first three volumes in the Mars series by Burroughs originally appeared between 1912 and 1914. Jacks credited Protosevich with excising the "creaky" aspects of Burroughs' storytelling from the script.

Though Burroughs is best known for penning "Tarzan of the Apes," the English writer's first book was "A Princess of Mars." At Alphaville's urging, Par obtained the rights to the series two years ago from the Burroughs estate for $300,000 against $2 million following a bidding war with Columbia.

Jacks said shooting "A Princess of Mars" would require extensive prep over the next 10 months. Shooting and post-production will be based at Rodriguez's studios in Austin.

Alphaville's other priority projects at Par include a pair of thrillers -- "The Book of Skulls," to be directed by William Friedkin, and a remake of "Pet Sematary." Michelle Manning, who ankled recently as co-prexy of the motion picture group to an exclusive producing deal with the studio, is working with Alphaville on "The Book of Skulls." (Story courtesy of Variety)

Last edited by B.A.; 03-08-04 at 09:15 PM.
Old 03-08-04, 11:54 AM
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Has anyone actually read these books? I am just curious because Rodriguez said, "After 'Lord of the Rings,' this is probably the last well known fantasy classic yet to be made, and that's because it wasn't possible until technology caught up." I have never heard of them and I was just wondering if it is just me...
Old 03-08-04, 12:02 PM
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Everyone knows of ERB, the author, but not all of his works. I think I might have those books somewhere with a bunch of other stuff I grabbed from a used book rack.

I think Rodriguez's style fits well for a good Burroughs adaptation. The director can churn out some good stuff with a low budget, I am interested to see what he can do with some real money.
Old 03-08-04, 12:06 PM
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Of course, I have heard of Burroughs, I just hadn't heard of these books and I was curious as to what people thought of how they might adapt to the big screen.

I am also intrigued to see what Rodriguez can do w/ a huge budget.
Old 03-08-04, 04:05 PM
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its been a while but i have read the books. from what i remember they are pretty entertaining and fun to read. what i'm wondering though, is if rodriguez will keep carter as a civil war veteran or place him from more modern times. i think it would ruin the fantastical spirit of the series if he changes it. i'm also hoping this won't be all about huge explosions, but i am looking forward to see what he will do with it.

now when will somebody pick up moorcock's elric of melnibone series and make 'em into movies? i would love to see that! or maybe even his jerry cornelius novels? i'm waiting...
Old 03-08-04, 04:22 PM
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Here's hoping Rodriguez A) shoots on film and B) uses good special effects instead of cheapy digital ones.


Also, I almost had a heart attack when I first read the thread title because I just saw "Rodriguez to direct Burroughs" and I thought they meant he was adapting William S. Burroughs.
Old 03-08-04, 08:21 PM
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I have read all of these books. They are a very entertaining mix of sci-fi and fantasy. I can say one thing about Rodriguez, he's got good taste. He's doing Sin City too. I hope he can pull it off.
Old 03-08-04, 08:35 PM
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I collected the comic book "John Carter, Warlord of Mars " and I have read the 1st book of the series a few years ago as a eBook on my Palm. Both were very enjoyable and it makes me long for the day I can watch on the big screen and on DVD.

Here is the website shows the Comics from the 70's, though John Carter has been in comics since 1939:
http://home.comcast.net/~cjh5801a/Carter.htm

Another website that talks about the early (1939-1941) comics for John Carter:
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Quad.../comics17.html

They choose very wisely when picking Rodriguez as the director. He will make John Carter come alive on the big screen. Rodriguez has a very good understanding on how to use SFX and how not to over use them. Becuase of the big budget, he will be able to upgrade his equipment which will make the SFX even better.

Early predictions: BIG CROWDS at the movies

Last edited by Iron_Giant; 03-08-04 at 08:40 PM.
Old 03-08-04, 09:10 PM
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RR sucks nowadays...
Old 03-08-04, 09:16 PM
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Originally posted by QuiGonJosh
RR sucks nowadays...
Thanks for adding sooooooo much insight to the thread.
Old 03-08-04, 09:55 PM
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Geez, what ISN'T Robert Rodriguez directing these days?
Old 03-09-04, 01:56 AM
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Originally posted by QuiGonJosh
RR sucks nowadays...
Nice bullshit comment!
Old 03-09-04, 04:59 PM
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Originally posted by groovrbaby
Geez, what ISN'T Robert Rodriguez directing these days?

Yeah, I thought RR was doing Sin City next. ?
Old 03-09-04, 07:22 PM
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Cool, John Carter fighting a CGI Banth, I'm be seeing this.
Old 03-10-04, 07:07 PM
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Originally posted by B.A.
Has anyone actually read these books? I am just curious because Rodriguez said, "After 'Lord of the Rings,' this is probably the last well known fantasy classic yet to be made, and that's because it wasn't possible until technology caught up." I have never heard of them and I was just wondering if it is just me...
It's been over 20 years, but I read most of the 'John Carter' books (and several of ERB's other fantasy titles). I don't know how well this will translate to the screen today, but I hope the film does well. For what its worth, on the Beany and Cecil dvd there is some nice animation of a 'John Carter of Mars' film done by Bob Clampett. I guess that project never made it past the development stage; shame.
Old 03-10-04, 08:49 PM
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Charlize running around in the Aeon Flux outfit? Hot damn! John who ...?
Old 03-14-04, 02:26 AM
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I read the "Mars" series as a child (about 15 years ago) and it kept me captivated.... It was the first sci-fi "soap" that I had cut my teeth on. I am so looking forward to this release....
Old 04-08-04, 03:33 PM
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'Mars' out of Par's orbit? 04/07/2004
Tue Apr 6, 8:00 PM ET

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...t__04_072004_1

Online Staff, STAFF

Robert Rodriguez (news)'s resignation from the DGA has jeopardized Paramount's development of its tentpole pic "A Princess of Mars."

The problem: As a DGA signatory, Par is required to employ only guild directors.


Rodriguez's recent move to leave the DGA was triggered by his desire to co-direct "Sin City" for Dimension Films with Frank Miller, who created, wrote and illustrated the three-book graphic novel series on which the "Sin City" pic is based.

"We are in discussions with Mr. Rodriguez and are trying to come up with a solution," said Rob Friedman, vice chair and chief operating officer of Paramount's motion picture group.

Insiders close to Rodriguez insist that -- at least for now -- he is unwilling to rejoin the Directors Guild just to direct "Princess of Mars."

DGA rules dictate that there be only one director assigned to direct a motion picture at any given time, although the guild occasionally grants a waiver, such as with the Coen brothers.

The DGA issued the following statement: "When it comes to creative judgment, vision, leadership and decisionmaking ... co-directing generally does not work. Having said that, there are exceptional circumstances where two individuals have demonstrated an ability to reflect a singular vision through previous directing experience, which the DGA has always supported through the granting of waivers to bona fide co-directing teams."

Rodriguez, who is in production in Austin, Texas, on "Sin City," was not available for comment Thursday. When Rodriguez resigned last month, he portrayed his departure as reflecting his unorthodox plans for "Sin City" -- such as having Quentin Tarantino helm part of the film, possibly using a "special guest director" title that would not be available under DGA guidelines.

Rodriguez also quit the DGA a decade ago so he could take part in the Tarantino-orchestrated film "Four Rooms." He told Daily Variety last month that the co-directing credit for Miller would more accurately reflect how the film will be made.

"I didn't want Frank (Miller) to be treated as just a writer, because he is the only one who has actually been to 'Sin City,' " Rodriguez said. "I am making such a literal interpretation of his book that I'd have felt weird taking directing credit without him."

Par-based Alphaville Prods., partnered with Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios, plans to begin shooting early next year. Pic is based on the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-volume "John Carter of Mars" series. Producers will be Alphaville toppers Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks with Rodriguez and producing partner Elizabeth Avellan, as well as online movie industry pundit Harry Knowles.

Mark Protosevich is scripting; cast has not yet been set. Budget is said to top $100 million due to extensive CGI. Goal is to match the scale and scope of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

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Interesting to see where this leads. Protosevich wrote the fantastic but never made I Am Legend.
Old 04-08-04, 03:34 PM
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A Mars movie? Oh yeah, those are ALWAYS sure-fire hits, especially in the last few years.
Old 04-08-04, 10:55 PM
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The movie is gonna bomb big time. Don't do it Paramount, you're not even trusting this suicide project with a proven director.
Old 08-06-04, 12:47 PM
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Alphaville is in negotiations w/ a new director.

CONRAN PLANS A MISSION TO MARS

Alphaville's sci-fi adventure-action picture "A Princess of Mars" is closing in on a new captain: director Kerry Conran. Conran, whose "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," is set for release Sept. 17, is in negotiations to direct "Princess," a Paramount-based production, as his next project.

Conran entered the picture after former "Princess" director Robert Rodriguez resigned from the DGA earlier this year, making him ineligible to direct the Paramount tentpole. Based on the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-volume "John Carter of Mars" series, the property is being developed as a major franchise.

Alphaville's previous forays into the fantasy and f/x arena include "The Mummy" franchise and its spinoff "The Scorpion King."

Written by Burroughs, best known for "Tarzan of the Apes," "A Princess of Mars" follows the adventures of an American Civil War veteran who is mysteriously transported to Mars, whose inhabitants call it Barsoom. Mark Protosevich penned the script.

Rodriguez resigned from the DGA in order to give co-directing credit to property creator Frank Miller on his current Dimension Films project, "Sin City." Alphaville has been meeting with several directors over the past few months, once it became clear that Rodriguez would not be directing.

The brainchild of writer-director Conran, "Sky Captain" was filmed entirely against blue screens and features state-of-the-art special effects. The film marks Conran's first venture into feature films. Conran is repped by CAA.

Other upcoming Alphaville properties include William Friedkin's "Book of Skulls," for which the company just hired Australian screenwriter Terry Hayes; "The Naked Jungle," a remake of the 1950s Charlton Heston starrer, which Jonathan Hensleigh has signed on to write and direct; and a remake of "A New Leaf," which Barry Sonnenfeld is directing.


from: http://www.moviepoopshoot.com/news/aug04/12.html
Old 08-06-04, 01:40 PM
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I'm so excited about this. I've been a huge ERB and Barsoom fan since I was a kid. The idea of a movie franchise based on the characters is wicked bad.

I'm a bit worried about the CGI though. There are huge white apes, 7 foot tall green Martians with 6 limbs, a giant "dog," and all sorts of crazy aliens. I hope it's done right and not all cartoony.
Old 08-06-04, 02:01 PM
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Originally posted by James W. Powell
I'm a bit worried about the CGI though. There are huge white apes, 7 foot tall green Martians with 6 limbs, a giant "dog," and all sorts of crazy aliens. I hope it's done right and not all cartoony.
Alphaville carries strong credentials in the fantasy f/x arena, having produced U's successful trio of "The Mummy," "The Mummy Returns" and "The Scorpion King." The three films generated a combined worldwide gross over $1 billion.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Old 08-06-04, 02:27 PM
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As long as Kerry can pre-viz most of the film like he did with Sky Captain, I don't think it will turn out too badly.
Old 08-06-04, 03:08 PM
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Originally posted by keyed
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
That's exactly the paragraph that has me nervous.

I mean, I've read these books a few times and I'm a nut for ERB's books. They're classic. So I have high standards of what I'll accept.

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