Fresh from its supporting role as the planet Vulcan in Star Trek, the state of Utah is preparing for its role as Mars in Disney/Pixar's long-awaited live-action version of John Carter of Mars, which begins production there in November.
"Utah has become Hollywood's destination spot for depicting exotic intergalactic worlds.," notes the state's Salt Lake Tribune, citing the new Star Trek, the original Planet of the Apes, and now, the adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' pioneering Barsoom saga.. But while Star Trek spent just four days shooting in the Beehive State, the Tribune reports that director Andrew Stanton's (WALL-E) production will spend at least seven months there, including 45 days of filming. The state has other ties to Burroughs; he served as a railroad cop in Salt Lake City in 1904.
Burroughs' John Carter novels, about a Civil War vet who finds himself doing a lot of alien-fighting and princess-rescuing on the planet next door, are the source of what will be the first live-action movie for much of the Pixar team. The script, co-written by Stanton, got a recent polish from Michael Chabon. We've been waiting for a good John Carter movie since, oh, about 1917, so the prospect of Disney's 2012 release fills us with childlike glee. No doubt Utahns feel the same way; the $28 million and 400 jobs the production is expected to bring to the state should more than make up for losing the Footloose remake to Georgia. (With Chace Crawford instead of Zac Efron in the lead? Georgia can have him.)