A few years ago, Robert Rodriguez was attached to direct a movie of this name, but the opportunity to do so fell through when he quit the Directors Guild over the credits for Sin City (2005; my review). (Rodriguez’s two films since then — 2005′s Shark Boy & Lava Girl and this year’s Grindhouse — were both flops.)
Then the project went to Jon Favreau, who ultimately ankled the film and has since been working on the Iron Man movie.
And now … it’s a Pixar film!? Yup, according to ERBzine:
The Pixar creative team spent Tuesday morning exploring the massive Edgar Rice Burroughs archives in the ERB, Inc. offices on Ventura Blvd. Pixar’s Jim Morris (vp), Andrew Stanton (director), Mark Andrews (script) discussed the “John Carter of Mars” film project with Burroughs representatives, Danton Burroughs, Sandra Galfas and Jim Sullos.
All six members at the meeting expressed a deep commitment to the project, acknowledging that they had been inspired by Burroughs’ creations from a very early age. This is evidenced in the excitement held for the John Carter property and the plans for a film trilogy faithful to the Burroughs books. Projected release date is sometime before 2012.
A trilogy! Stanton, BTW, is the Oscar-winning director of Finding Nemo (2003) and the upcoming WALL-E, while Andrews has worked on all three of Brad Bird’s feature films, as well as one of my personal favorites, the non-Pixar Osmosis Jones (2001).
There are a striking number of “firsts” here, for Pixar.
First, this would seem to be the first Pixar film that was adapted from a book or some similar pre-existing work. So far, while some Pixar films have seemed a bit derivative of other movies, they have all been “original” stories in the technical sense.
Second, this would seem to mark the first time that Pixar has gone into production with the intention of making a trilogy. True, a second sequel is currently in the works for Toy Story (1995), but the original film was made as a stand-alone. If memory serves, the second film was originally conceived as a straight-to-video project, before it got promoted, while the third film was fiercely resisted by Pixar prior to the company’s acquisition by Disney — at which point the sequel that Disney had been developing on its own was scrapped in favour of a homegrown Pixar project.
Third, as reported by IESB.net back in June, this would seem to be the first Pixar film to mix live-action footage with animation — and depending on when it comes out in relation to Brad Bird’s 1906, it just might be the first Pixar film to use live-action, period.
Of course, these days, most live-action fantasy movies use lots of special effects that are computer-generated — so most fantasy movies mix live-action footage with animation anyway. It will be interesting to see whether the animation in this film goes beyond the traditional special-effects route, and if so, in what way.