10 Things You Never Knew About John Carter
Pssst! Want to know the hottest on-set secrets about Disney’s epic new movie, John Carter? We catch up with actors Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins, as well as the film’s director Andrew Stanton, to bring you the low-down on the jaw-dropping, action-packed adventure…
JOHN CARTER SECRET ONE: TAYLOR KITSCH READ HUNDREDS OF CIVIL WAR LETTERS TO RESEARCH THE ROLE!
“The start of the movie takes place during the Civil War,” explains actor Taylor Kitsch, who plays John Carter. “To research the role, I sat down with historians at the University Of Texas, which was very interesting. I also sat down for nine hours with a historian who was incredibly informative. I went to his house and we went through what Civil War books I could read and what movies I should watch. I also read hundreds of letters that Civil War soldiers wrote home. I attached myself to a few of those that really stood out for me, and that was how I got into character!”
JOHN CARTER SECRET TWO: LYNN COLLINS SPENT UP TO FIVE HOURS IN THE MAKEUP CHAIR EVERY DAY!
“I play a warrior princess called Dejah in John Carter,” reveals actress Lynn Collins. “Dejah is from Barsoom [aka Mars], which meant I had to wear a lot of red makeup and have crazy tattoos painted on my body for the role. In the beginning, it took up to five hours in makeup. I am Irish and freckly, so they had to pile on layers and layers of fake tan and bronzer to make me look like a Martian princess. It took forever, but it looked fantastic!”
JOHN CARTER SECRET THREE: THE CAST’S FAKE TATTOOS TOOK HOURS TO SCRUB OFF!
“I also had to wear a fake tan and have tattoos painted on to my skin for my Martian character, Sab Than,” reveals actor Dominic West. “Thankfully, you can wash off the tan quite quickly, but I can’t say the same for the fake tattoos. After spending three months covered in tattoos, they were incredibly tough to scrub away, so I let them fade naturally. My kids thought it was ridiculous when they spotted them on my arms and legs weeks after we’d finished shooting the movie!”
JOHN CARTER SECRET FOUR: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA WAS A BIG INSPIRATION BEHIND THE MOVIE!
“I was inspired by a lot of movies when I was working on John Carter,” admits director Andrew Stanton. “I looked at two Westerns called Jeremiah Johnson and The Outlaw Josey Wales for a darker, somber sense of the gritty west; I looked at The Last Emperor for a beautiful sense of a large-scale city in its dying days; I looked at Heaven’s Gate for its cinematography; and I also looked at Lawrence Of Arabia because it’s the ultimate desert film. You reference a million things on a project like John Carter, but I never tried to follow any singular movie.”
JOHN CARTER SECRET FIVE: THE CAST AND CREW TACKLED VIOLENT SANDSTORMS DURING THE FILM SHOOT!
“I had a lot of fun filming John Carter,” reveals actor Willem Dafoe, who plays Tars Tarkas in the movie. “We shot half the movie in England, which was fun, and the other half in Utah, where the weather was a bit of a problem. We were in the desert, so we never faced any problems with rain – but we did experience a number of sandstorms. They were horrible! During sandstorms, we would wear goggles, but you would almost choke from the sand. It was really extreme and scary. We’d wrap up in scarves and wish for them to go away quickly!”
JOHN CARTER SECRET SIX: TAYLOR KITSCH WORE A FAKE BEARD IN THE MOVIE!
“My character is fairly hairy in the movie, but I’ll let you into a little secret: I wore a fake beard for some of the scenes,” chuckles Taylor Kitsch. “I never wore a wig; I had a lot of fake hair on my face, but never on the top of my head. I had a fake beard that was glued on during certain parts of the movie – but that was all. After 14 hours in glue, you want to rip that stuff off your face, but you can’t. It was tough!”
JOHN CARTER SECRET SEVEN: WILLEM DAFOE SPENT MUCH OF THE MOVIE WITH A MAN HIDDEN BEHIND HIS BACK!
“It was an interesting challenge to play a 9-foot-tall Martian, which is why I spent most of the movie shoot performing on huge stilts,” admits Willem Dafoe. “My character has four arms, so I’d often have a stunt guy standing behind me dressed in green; he provided the other two arms. Sometimes that would seem ridiculous, but you just have to accept it and forget about it. It’s all part of being an actor!”
JOHN CARTER SECRET EIGHT: THE MARTIAN ALPHABET IN THE MOVIE IS BASED ON SYMBOLS FOUND ON MARS!
“The Martian alphabet in our movie is based on real symbols found on the surface of the planet Mars,” explains producer Jim Morris. “If you stare at the planet closely, it looks like there are huge, almost Arabic letters in certain places. We now know these are frozen carbon dioxide deposits, but if you look at them through a telescope, the markings look like giant, man-made objects. We styled the Barsoomian alphabet in our movie after them.”
JOHN CARTER SECRET NINE: A SPEECH PATHOLOGIST HELPED THE CAST WITH THE LANGUAGE IN THE MOVIE!
“My character spends the beginning of the movie speaking Thark, which is very different to English,” reveals Willem Dafoe. “We don’t use the Thark language too much in John Carter, but the cast got together to learn it when we first started work on the project. Some of the words are tough to pronounce, but we met with a professional speech pathologist to learn how to say everything properly. It was a very interesting process!”
JOHN CARTER SECRET TEN: ANDREW STANTON WAS A HUGE PRACTICAL JOKER ON THE SET!
“I really enjoyed working with Andrew Stanton on John Carter,” admits Dominic Carter. “He is a great practical joker! Taylor Kitsch used to walk on set with a handheld piece of gym equipment to pump up his muscles before the cameras started to roll. Well, for one of his jokes, Andrew decided to secretly buy the special piece of equipment for every member of the crew. When we had a big scene and Taylor walked on to the set with his special gym gear, we all pulled out our equipment and did it, too. Taylor was in hysterics when he realized what was happening! Moments like that are pretty surreal when you’re shooting a movie. It was hilarious!”
JOHN CARTER is Available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray Hi-Def & DVD June 5th!