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Holy Crap!! Rodriguez Just Can't Stop!! First SIN CITY, And Now... PRINCESS OF MARS!!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

This has been one of those holy grail/what if/maybe someday when technology catches up sort of projects for as long as people have been trying to make fantasy films, and it feels like the time is finally right.

First of all, am I allowed to say how happy I am that Robert is not writing this film? I enjoy the movies he's been making lately... ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, the SPY KIDS films... but they're all minor pleasures, simple goofs that fade as soon as you step out of the theater. And I think he's a better filmmaker than that. Like Kevin Smith, he's a talented guy who is plagued by one fatal flaw. In Smith's case, it's the fact that he has about as much visual acumen behind the camera as Ray Charles would. In Robert's case, it's the fact that he sometimes shoots faster than he thinks.

This time out, he's working from a script by Mark Protosevich, and despite my on-the-record hatred for THE CELL, I think this guy's got the goods. His I AM LEGEND script is one of the most highly-regarded unfilmed scripts in recent Hollywood memory for a good reason. It's epic and personal at the same time, and it does a hell of a job of turning a familiar piece of material into something fresh.

And what I'm hearing about this script is that he did the impossible and really brought the Edgar Rice Burroughs original up to modern standards, dramatically. Burroughs was a great pulp writer, but A PRINCESS OF MARS was the first novel he ever published, and even though it's obviously powered by a huge imagination, it's not his best book. It's always been one of those properties that was ripe with potential, and filmmakers have tried desperately to crack the thing and bring it to the screen.

The trades are running the story today about Robert signing his deal to direct this film as soon as he's finished with SIN CITY, but so far, as best as I can tell, they've only got some of the story. For example, VARIETY lists Alphaville partners Jim Jacks and Sean Daniels as co-producers along with Robert and his wife Elizabeth, who should be welcoming their new son into the world sometime today, so congratulations are in order on many fronts for the Rodriguez family today. As I understand it, there's another producing partner on the film that should be announced soon that is apparently in top secret negotiations, someone who has been close to this project for a while now. Hopefully, I'll be able to pin down some of these rumors in the days ahead.

I assume a lot of you don't know the John Carter books, since they're not exactly easy to find these days. All told, I found about eight out of the eleven books online to purchase, and some of those were only available used. If you want to get a handle on what the John Carter books are all about, you could start here, a fansite that gives a nice overview of what it is that draws people to the material. If you go poking around the Internet, though, you'll find all sorts of great material about the tortured development history that this project has suffered through en route to the bigscreen.

For example, Bob Clampett and John Coleman Burroughs attempted to make it 5 years before Disney produced SNOW WHITE. Had they succeeded, it would have been the first feature-length animated film, and it would have been radically different than the type of films Disney ended up producing. Who knows what the animation industry would look like now if they had succeeded. They actually made it to animation tests that Clampett animated, while John and his wife painted the cels, and these can be seen on the BEANY AND CECIL DVD. If you want to read more about this potential version of the film, you can do so right here.

Ray Harryhausen also took a crack at it, but he was frustrated by the scale of the story. He never managed to find a way to break it down to a feasible size, and had to give up on it eventually.

Walt Disney considered the property while he was alive, but it wasn't until much later that the Walt Disney Company spent millions of dollars in development costs trying to get PRINCESS OF MARS made. John McTiernan was attached to it for a while, and Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott wrote a script that attracted a lot of fans over the years, like Tom Hanks. Both Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts were rumored to be involved at various points. It was an incredibly expensive proposition, though, and McTiernan never managed to convince Disney to pull the trigger. I'm hoping these guys detail their development process on their excellent Wordplayer website sometime in the future.

The idea of Rodriguez making a film that will cost well north of $100 million is intriguing since we know he gets a lot of bang for the buck. In his hands, it should look like three times that much money. And with Texas soundstages standing in for Barsoom, I'm curious about the film's look. I know that Rodriguez is a raving Frank Frazetta fan, and just recently had a chance to visit Frazetta at his museum, where they specifically discussed Conan and John Carter, two of the subjects Frazetta brought to such vivid life in his work. One can only hope that he'll follow the lead of Peter Jackson, whose choice to involve Alan Lee and John Howe in LORD OF THE RINGS helped define that trilogy's visual style early on. If Rodriguez was able to convince Frank Miller that he can reproduce SIN CITY's look onscreen, one can only imagine what would happen if he signed Frazetta to help steer the John Carter film's palette. After all, Robert did get Frazetta to do this poster for FROM DUSK TIL DAWN.

Personally, I can't wait to see 14 foot tall creatures with 4 arms, tusks, antennae and eyes on the side of their heads. I can't wait to visit Barsoom. I can't wait to see John Carter fighting with the dexterity and leaping ability of Spider-Man, but with a sword. I can't wait to see this wild Martian landscape brought to vivid life. This is one of those projects that has been a long time coming, and with all of these people in charge, I finally have faith that it might just get done right.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • March 2, 2004, 7:59 a.m. CST

    Science Fantasty or pure Fantasy?

    by zinc_chameleon

    One of the big problems is convincing today's audience that Barsoom could exist. After, we remote driving little vehicles on Mars right now. After that hurdle, earthlike creatures on a low-gravity planet should be a snap. Will they opt for the time-travel to Mars 1 billion B.C.? And alternate dimensional Mars? Just dropping him on Mars when we're already fixing flash ROM up there won't fly.

  • March 2, 2004, 8:08 a.m. CST

    Possible Producer

    by Mentok

    Pure speculation, but I remember lots of rumours about James Cameron developing a Mars picture, and I know RR is a devotee of the whole digital, 3-D, anything-but-film movement.....

  • March 2, 2004, 8:28 a.m. CST

    ERB movies?

    by Trik

    I just had an geekgasm. ... damn ... now I gotta change my short

  • March 2, 2004, 8:38 a.m. CST

    Beyonce Knowles as Dejah Thoris!

    by Trik

    As you can tell from the above pics it's definitely a booty job. <><><> Man, I'd love to have the thong concession on that production.

  • March 2, 2004, 8:41 a.m. CST

    I guess you could do worse, but...

    by victor laszlo

    The source material is so far above his talent it makes me sick. Mediocre at best is right. This could be a masterpiece in the hands of another, but instead all it will be is an entertaining $100 million waste of potential. One more summer disappointment on a long list. A Texas soundstage as Barsoom?!? Anyone who saw suffered through that sci-fi channel Dune miniseries knows how convincing bluescreened deserts look. Even Luca$ stills goes to Tunisia. Rodriguez makes movies, not films. What a film this could have been.

  • March 2, 2004, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Rodriguez should be directing TV...

    by Batutta

    ...not directing this movie. Jackson made Heavenly Creatures before LOTR, which was a mature work of filmmaking and showed he had the potential to deliver something great. Rodriguez has made dumb, b-grade shlock, and while this movie may end up looking 'kewl', it will probably have as much dramatic heft as the work of Stephen Sommers, and that's if we're lucky.

  • March 2, 2004, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Now, I'm not usually the sort of guy that thinks Bruce Campbell

    by rev_skarekroe

    But Bruce Campbell as John Carter? Perfect. Right after he's done with "Jason vs. Freddy vs. Ash". sk

  • March 2, 2004, 9 a.m. CST

    Mmmm, PULP

    by CellarDoor

    Check out the first issues of the second volume of Alan Moore's 'League of extraordinary gentlemen' for a neat addition to the 'mars' stories. Still, it begs the question how can a relative-hack like Burroughs get A-list Hollywood treatment while HP Lovecraft wallows in foreign schlock-hell (Dagon). Someone make me a faithful 'Shadow over Innsmouth' for Azathoth's sake!

  • March 2, 2004, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Rodriguez was at Frazetta's museum!?!?!?

    by RenoNevada2000

    FUCK! That's my end of the world. What I wouldn't have given to be walking down the street in East Stroudsburg and bumped into him! SHIT!

  • March 2, 2004, 9:13 a.m. CST

    "thecutestofborg" I lub you

    by Trik

    Hugh as Roland <><><> It'd werk. If he'd do it. <><><> I gotta go get the latest book....

  • March 2, 2004, 9:13 a.m. CST

    I've liked Jim Caviezel for Roland of Gilead for a long while...

    by Yossarian

    Tall and lanky and kinda weary. the passion of the christ just kinda confirms it further.

  • March 2, 2004, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Robert Rodriguez is GOD

    by Fuzhi

    Anyway hasnt he also some children animated 3d movie he co created with one of his sons in production ? btw I wonder what his next child will be named, his first three sons are named Rocket, Racer and Rebel

  • March 2, 2004, 9:41 a.m. CST

    "noah wyle"

    by Trik

    Isn't his butt wider than his shoulders? <><><> I think the actor has a lot more to show us (at least I hope so) Hopefully he will find or create a new role for him self soon. ER is all about dying now, chars and actors. *** next seasons shock second will be a live code brown. they'll pay some guy to taske a crap right in front of you. ... And you will watch, which is the sad part....

  • March 2, 2004, 9:41 a.m. CST

    What about Madman?

    by Cerebud

    Harry, you've got the connection to Robert, so what's up? It sounds like Madman's never going to get made? This is bull! If there was ever a good time for a Madman movie, this is it. Superheros rule right now! Still, a John Carter Warlord of Mars movie sounds cool too.

  • March 2, 2004, 9:42 a.m. CST

    victor lazlo

    by perryfarrell

    whatever you think about robert rodriguez, please shut the hell up with this "this is a movie, not a film" bullshit. i'm sorry but that's not a real distinction, you just pulled that out of your ass. there are bad films and good films, and bad movies and good movies, and there's no difference.

  • March 2, 2004, 10:02 a.m. CST

    This will all come down to art design and cinematography. Perio

    by FluffyUnbound

    If they can duplicate the visuals from the old Burroughs covers and illustrations, they win. If they don't, they lose, and suck. It's really very simple. They need to go out and find some crazy guy who has spent his life being the Alan Lee of Edgar Rice Burroughs' work. // In terms of how to get past the fact that everyone knows that Mars is a dead rock, there was an interesting take on this in the Dozois anthology a couple of years back. Sort of a Schopenhauer "the world as will and representation" thing. The conceit is that, when everyone THOUGHT Mars was inhabited, it was. It was only when we collectively decided that Mars was uninhabited that it became so. In the story, we send astronauts to Mars, and they are so far away that they become their own psychic "world" of just three dudes, with their own "will and representation" that turns Mars inhabited again. Get the Wachowskis to make that notion nice and incomprehensible, and you've got your high concept. Well, since the W's aren't attached to this production, I guess you have to get someone to mimic them - but there have to be 1000 guys in LA trying to do that right now anyway.

  • March 2, 2004, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Stainless Steel Rat, dammit!

    by ron2112

    Dammit! If I could spend one minute with any director working today, it would be Robert Rodriguez, and I'd spend that minute handing him a copy of Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat" and a headshot of John Leguizamo. 'Tis a dream of mine. Alas, I fear Rodriguez will have blown that particular load and moved on long before I ever get that blessed opportunity.

  • March 2, 2004, 10:17 a.m. CST

    I want to read the I AM LEGEND script

    by Johnny Smith

    Is it online?

  • March 2, 2004, 10:23 a.m. CST

    NOOOO! This needs to be more LOTR not Spy Kids!

    by ebolamonkey

    Good God he could really screw this up! John Carter was one of those series I treasured as a kid and inspired me to get into storytelling and then filmmaking. There is NOTHING on Rodriguez's resume that would lead me to believe he can do this. In the right hands this could be Indiana Jones ultra-cool pulp, so why give it to someone who's going to try and do the effects himself, write the music himself and generally fuck it up himself???!!!

  • March 2, 2004, 10:24 a.m. CST

    " want to read the I AM LEGEND script"

    by Trik

    Is this a remake or the vincent price thingy? ... I don't know if we need a remake of that story, its been done to death. ...

  • March 2, 2004, 10:28 a.m. CST

    RE: Stainless Steel Rat, dammit! *shhhhssh they'll hear you

    by Trik

    remember what they did with starship troopers?

  • March 2, 2004, 11:05 a.m. CST

    John Carter

    by Blue_Demon

    Hugh Jackman IS John Carter! Couldn't agree more. As for Roland of Gilead...hell man, that's a no-brainer. Look at the man! He looks like Clint Eastwood circa 1964! Finally Rodriguez has a good script to direct. And why has 'I Am Legend" not been filmed?!! I read the script a few weeks back, it's fantastic!! If you think you'd be afraid to live in the world of "28 Days Later..." let me tell you...The Infected are NOTHING compared to the Hemocites. Br-r-r-r-r-r.

  • March 2, 2004, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Bruce Campbell as John Carter or pack up and go home!

    by Silver Shamrock

    This is my BOOM-stick.

  • March 2, 2004, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Where are these artworks from?

    by Boxclocke

    Big Bouroughs fan here. The anthology I have that has Princess of Mars has none of these paintings. Someone wanna do me a big favor and tell me where they are from? Put "BOXCLOCKE" in the header to get my attention. Big thanks.

  • March 2, 2004, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Will Ferrell is John Carter

    by Anita Hummer

    No, wait, Jack Black is John Carter and Janet Jackson is Deja Thoris. Seriously, it should be more like LOTR than Spy Kids but if they bring on Frazetta and get the look right it is just a big shoot em up like desperado or the guitar guy. I just hope they don't fuck it up so that I can have John Carter movies every 3 or 4 years until I croak of old age.

  • March 2, 2004, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Swords And Sorcery

    by Barron34

    I am glad that pulp era material like this is getting made. The success of Lord of the Rings on film is enabling this, much as the success of the X-men films and Raimi's Spiderman has created a gold rush of superhero film projects. Yes, some of these projects will not turn out to be good films, but luckily some will. I am just glad that stuff like this is going to be made. I think that it is a really good time to be a fan of genre films and of science-fiction, fantasy, pulp, and comic books. The John Carter stuff is great pulp fiction. I would also love to see more pulp-style sword and sorcery. Where the hell is King Conan at this point, now that Arnie is busy being Governor? THAT is the sort of project that I personally would love to see: violent barbarians, deranged sorcerors, bloody-fanged demons, and uber-babes in chain-mail bikinis. Great stuff, especially if done in the right spirit. Anyhow, I am glad that John Carter is coming to the silver screen in some form. Barron out.

  • March 2, 2004, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Awesome! I just it doesn't turn into a steaming pile of banth do

    by morGoth

    Ugghhh, hope it doesn't get "Disney-fied" either. Walp, it's got a lot of potential and I hope it doesn't get the "lighthearted bantering" treatment that the script writers foisted on poor Gimli in the LoTR movie. But hell yeah! Bring on Tars-tarkas!

  • March 2, 2004, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Hugh Jackman as John Carter...great idea!

    by morGoth


  • March 2, 2004, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Download the Books Here

    by DaNewf

    The books are in the public domain. At least they are in some countries in the world. So you can get them here, These are some of the first books I read online, including the Tarzan books. I don't think I made it all way through the series but I read four or five of them. They are seriously twisted, the literary equivalent of Pixie Sticks.

  • March 2, 2004, 12:13 p.m. CST

    i was excited enough about him doing sin city with frank miller

    by mansep

    this princess of mars could be awesome. i'm actually excited about a film more than i have been since... well, LOTR.

  • March 2, 2004, 12:18 p.m. CST

    I understand that Rodriguez is a nice, geek-friendly guy...

    by Anti-fanboy

    But that doesn't make him a good director... or a potentially-good director... Maybe if he were somehow able to alter his entire method of filmmaking, which is one of the fastest in the industry, with obvious, unspectacular results... I'm really hoping someone else directs Madman -- Richard Kelly would be perfect for the weirder, darker aspects of MM...

  • March 2, 2004, 12:32 p.m. CST

    With this film and Narnia going into production

    by TimBenzedrine

    I think Hollywood has finally gotten over its "fear of fantasy", but I guess over a billion dollars in ticket sales for Lord of the Rings has a lot to do with it. If RR signs Frazetta as his concept artist , he's off to a flying start. Now the most important question, how are they going to handle all the noooodity?

  • March 2, 2004, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Good luck to Robert...

    by Manaqua

    I've been a fan since day one and Robert has inspired me to dream bigger, but his last several films leaves one to question his ability to pull these off. He seems to be too much into his toys and new technology and is forgetting what makes a good film. OUATIM was atrocious and it is encouraging that he is not writing the script for MARS. Lets hope he spent some time on Sin City to get it right. Please Robert, don't pull a Lucas adn lose sight of what matters. Effects and digital technology are only a tool to tell a story. The story is the thing. The technology should serve the thing, not become the thing. That is why LOTR works where all others fail. Story and character were placed first. Hear that? STORY AND CHARACTER. And that doesn't mean an array of cool 'characters'. And for the love of god man, put down teh camera and pay attention to your actors. Peace. M

  • March 2, 2004, 1:16 p.m. CST

    OLD NEWS. And it's old news from this site!!

    by riskebiz

    AICN reported this back in January, didn't they? That's why I wondered where Sin City was coming from because you reported it was John Carter From Mars. That said, I'm looking forward to Salma Hayek as the Princess. She's perfect for it (if she can stand the red paint). I'd still like Tom Cruise as John Carter, but I think Billy Zane would be a good John Carter, too. THOUGH ... since John Carter is from the Civil War era, I think Kevin Costner might be appropriate too. I'd like to see him in something other than a western or baseball film again. Also, I know RR is big on D.I.Y., but in this case, I hope he employs WETA to do his CGI to make it flawless. RR's CGI in Spy Kids tends to look to unreal. He should totally get the LOTR crew in pre-pro.

  • March 2, 2004, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Speaking of Krull

    by Manaqua

    The Cinerama here in seattle is having its yearly retrospective of various films and one of the selections is Krull! How cool is that?! Krull showing on a huge fucking screen! Not to mention Lawrence of Arabia, 2001, Ghostbusters, Oklahoma, How the West Was Won (actually showing in the 3 projector cinerama presentation)! Gonna be a good week coming up! M

  • but you have to respect the choices he's making now. Maybe he's poised for greatness. I hope so and I will give him the benifit of the doubt, at least until he releases a statement saying Banderas is playing Harv.

  • March 2, 2004, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Djimon Hounsou as Tars Tarkas

    by chrisd

    Thomas Jane or Hugh Jackman as John Carter.

  • March 2, 2004, 1:36 p.m. CST

    So this is basically about ...

    by Glen Quagmire

    a well-built guy in a speedo who lunges at people with a sword! Well ... I guess it's still head & shoulders above the upcoming Catwoman movie. I think Tom Welling could do a good job as Mr. Speedosword ... but he's going to have his hands full flinging energy beams at spikey haired weirdos. Ohhhhhh Riiiiiight.

  • March 2, 2004, 2 p.m. CST

    You can read Princess of Mars FOR FREE!!!!!!!

    by Arch_Stanton

    Since its copyright expired long ago, it is on Project Gutenberg: Many of Burroughs' other works can be found there, as well...

  • March 2, 2004, 2:36 p.m. CST

    I must admit, the females they drew for these issues had ass for

    by Terry_1978

    Get that chick from the Starsky and Hutch trailer with the huge boo-tay...good lord.

  • March 2, 2004, 2:39 p.m. CST

    I was just a little kid when I saw VAMPIRELLA #1 on the newstand

    by FrankDrebin

    ...which is why I've always thought THAT'S how a woman should look. Not yer Gwyneths and Calistas.

  • March 2, 2004, 2:41 p.m. CST

    I wish he would stop god damnit!

    by Jon E Cin

    He cant direct this! Let someone else that actually knows how to direct a movie!

  • March 2, 2004, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Use William Stout since he already worked with McTiernan on desi

    by Declan_Swartz

  • March 2, 2004, 3:18 p.m. CST

    Frank Miller is so going to be so involved in SIN CITY that he w

    by Reedster9898

  • March 2, 2004, 3:26 p.m. CST

    CELLBLOCKE: art credits

    by jds1339

    While there are some of the original magazine and book covers there, I assume you're asking about the Frazetta drawings and paintings. They are from the Science Fiction Book Club editions of the Mars series--they published the 11 books in six volumes back...when? The late 1970s, I think. You can also find them in Frazetta's own art books.

  • March 2, 2004, 3:46 p.m. CST


    by Prankster

    Did I just hear someone complaining that this TEXAS-based filmmaker would be unable to find a desert to film on? Because if so, that's pretty damn funny. While Rodriguez isn't my favourite filmmaker either, I think he may be ready to move up the way PJ moved on to LOTR and Sam Raimi went up to Spiderman. Granted, I like PJ and Raimi's pre-blockbuster filmographies better than Roriguez's, but RR is making some good choices already--having Protosevitch write the thing (second the love for his I AM LEGEND script), getting a good budget, and drawing on Frazetta's art. And since it's Rodriguez, we'll almost certainly get La Selma as Dejah, which is pretty darn good casting. And we know he has no compunction about dressing her in skimpy outfits (a must for a John Carter movie). I also agree with Hugh Jackman for Carter--remember, he's a southern gentleman as well as a sword-swingin' badass, so he can't just be played by The Rock (though that wouldn't be utterly terrible casting either...I mean, if Arnold can play Conan...)

  • March 2, 2004, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Protosevitch's I AM LEGEND script is dogshit.

    by Cash Bailey

    The fact that it was set to star Arnie tells you all you need to know.

  • March 2, 2004, 4:49 p.m. CST

    Great news

    by DocPazuzu

    I was worried that this would fall through once again. The John Carter books were very formative in my early teen geek years and I've dreamt of seeing Barsoom on the screen for 20 years. A few words of advice for senor Rodriguez: 1) No tall guys with rubber arms for the tharks -- use CGI. 2) Tom Welling certainly looks the part of Carter. Use him. 3) Do it as a period piece and play it straight -- no "alternative dimension" or "prehistoric Barsoom." 4) Yes, by all means think Aria Giovanni when it comes to casting Dejah Thoris. However, don't actually CAST her. Cast a woman with those looks (and Frazetta bod) who can also ACT. 5) Poledouris or Silvestri for the score, mmm'kay?

  • March 2, 2004, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Robert Rodriguez!

    by Danger Mouse

    coooool! Why has no one made these in to films before?!?!? Spose it's easier to do now.

  • March 2, 2004, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Princess of Mars

    by William Stout

    Thanks for thinking of me, Declan! I'd love to work on Princess of Mars --- but this time really do it right (no badly disguised camels and elephants for thoats and zitidars --- Aaaargh!). I've got a thousand visual ideas to deepen and expand Burroughs' vivid text visions without violating the wonderful integrity of what ERB wrote. According to the Unwritten Rules of Hollywood, though, this probably means I won't get the job...The more perfect you are for the gig, the less likely it is that it will happen... Jackson's "King Kong" comes to mind... Hey! At least I got to design The Muppets Wizard of Oz!

  • March 2, 2004, 5:43 p.m. CST

    Too bad

    by TheGame

    Rodriguez is a terrible filmmaker.

  • March 2, 2004, 6:01 p.m. CST


    by Snake Pliskin

    you know it to be true!

  • March 2, 2004, 6:04 p.m. CST


    by Snake Pliskin

    you know it to be true.

  • March 2, 2004, 6:07 p.m. CST


    by Snake Pliskin


  • March 2, 2004, 6:31 p.m. CST

    NEW RULE: Geeks need to quit pretending that dime novels like Jo

    by Bill Maher

    This isn't Henry James or Edmund Wilson's Hecate County. It's a fucking series of dime novels! If this flops, blaming Mr. Spy Kids for it is like blaming Ronald McDonald for the lousy food served under the golden arches. The studio will call the shots. That's why they hired the guy in the first place! Do you nerds think Francis Coppola or Ingmar Bergman will do a Martian Chronicles movie? Coppola accused George Lucas of slumming by doing Star Wars. Rodriguez might be perfect for this. The only problem is that he only got Salma Hayek to whip 'em out in Desperado because the studio forced him to do it and didn't get her to whip 'em out at all in From Dusk Till Dawn -EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS PLAYING A STRIPPER! Is this guy a fag or something? I hope not. It would take a straight, red-blooded male who worships the Franzetta-style big round bouncy womanly ass as we straight males tend to do in order to do justice to John Carter. Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet, Beyonce Knowles would be ideal for Deja Thornis. But I think Rose McGowan would be best of all. I wonder if this chick is available: Now that's a Frank Frazetta-style ass!

  • March 2, 2004, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Harry and Mori read the talkback titled "Princess of Mars" from

    by Declan_Swartz

    Wow, William Stout! I grew up with your comic and film work. Besides being a muppet fan already, your contribution to Muppet Wizard of Oz has sealed the fact that I will be there opening day.

  • March 2, 2004, 7:40 p.m. CST

    Once Upon a Time in Mexico SUCKED

    by DomisInnerChild

    He's on a downward turn. Started out strong, and has been getting worse ever since. He's fine if he gets a good script, but when it goes it alone and tried to be all gorilla filmmaker guy he struggles now.

  • March 2, 2004, 7:48 p.m. CST

    He's like a good, book version of Uwe Boll

    by Archduke_Chocula

    thats a compliment btw.

  • March 2, 2004, 7:48 p.m. CST

    New rule Bill Maher!...

    by morGoth can't leave out Catherine Zeta Jones! Rose McGowen, o could work! As for dime novels, well, YEAH! They're great memories for a lot of old geezers but I'm sure all the young gits can get into it too. Why, in my day...

  • March 2, 2004, 8:10 p.m. CST

    Isn't that the problem? Rodriguez doesn't spend ENOUGH time on a

    by jackburton2003


  • March 2, 2004, 8:33 p.m. CST

    Rob Schneider IS John Carter!!

    by jules windex

    Gigolo of Mars

  • March 2, 2004, 8:57 p.m. CST

    Princess of Mars

    by erbzine

    Nicely done piece and pics. An update on the reference to ERBzine #934: For more reliable service that Webpage was moved to: ... found in the archive of our ERBzine Weekly Online Fanzine

  • March 2, 2004, 9:32 p.m. CST

    Books Free

    by BabaFoo

    his books are so old it's out of copywright I think ... you can find his books here ... or just search @googles BabaFoo out ... peace! =8^)

  • March 2, 2004, 9:44 p.m. CST

    You asked for it Ebonic!

    by Bill Maher

    I know some of you racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and anti-Italian motherfuckers try to oppress minorities by ridiculing my fight against internet bigotry. You think you're being clever by bringing up Deja Thornis, a strong, proud crimson piece of ass. You fuckers aren't even close to fooling me! Just as I saw through Charlize Theron's attempts to pass herself off as white, I can see through all of you. I know full well that there aren't any chicks on Mars. I also know that even if there were, it wouldn't guarantee that they are solid red and have the kind of ass that makes you want to get on your knees in awestruck devotion. But even if all of this was so, it's a ruse. John Carter (a Confederate soldier!), like Justin Timberlake and Thomas Jefferson, is just another racist, sexist white guy who thinks he has a right to exploit chicks of color. Edgar Rice Burroughs made Thornis red instead of black to try to sugarcoat his racism. This is the guy who wrote Tarzan, goddamnit! He might as well paint blue and white stars and bars on Deja's ass to make it look like a fucking Rebel flag. FUCK JOHN CARTER!

  • March 2, 2004, 10 p.m. CST

    Blood Klot: Rodriguez just isnt a very good director.

    by 9000rpm

    How right you are. While on one hand this is great news, with Rodriguez directing we are pretty much guaranteed a lame-ass embarrassment along the lines of the 70s version of Doc Savage.

  • March 2, 2004, 10:21 p.m. CST

    So, will Quentin Tarantino get to wear one of those outfits?

    by Dolemite_fan

    Better yet, will Salma Hayek be wearing one of those outfits? That's what's really important I think guys.

  • March 2, 2004, 10:42 p.m. CST


    by Lance_Uppercut

    The only way this should be done is LOTR style. They should make three movies based on the first three books in the series (Princess, God, and Warlord) at the same time since the first two have cliffhanger endings. and as to RR doing them well it could be worse George Lucas might be doing it.

  • March 2, 2004, 11:58 p.m. CST

    Am I the only one who thinks that Robert Rodriguez has yet to ma

    by SmarkJobber

    Sure, the guy is a multi-threat behind the camera, but he seems to be more a jack of trades, and master of none to me. The "Mariachi" movies were ok for low-budge action. The "Spy Kids" trilogy was sweet, but nothingof substance beyond that sugary coating. Um..."Dusk Til Dawn" was interesting until they brought in the vampires, I suppose. So why does RR still get these cushy properties? Because they figure he'll come in under budget?

  • March 3, 2004, 1:01 a.m. CST


    by el zar

    I read "Princess of Mars" a long time ago and read up on the marvel comic. I knew this movie was destined to be made. I dunno. I just felt it. Beef up Gollum, give him extra arms,green skin and those sharp teeth, and he could be Tars Tarkas!!

  • March 3, 2004, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Frazetta, John Carter, & Rodriguez

    by Frank Black

    My wife and I drove to Frazetta's museum on his estate several years ago, met his wonderful wife Eli, and had a great time. We bought large prints of the John Carter pics Harry posted here and have them hanging in our living room. I have only read three of the John Carter books because they are hard to find. (I wrote a nasty letter to the company that has the book rights and they sent my letter to their legal department.) Movies of the John Carter series could be so good, but they do need to be for a PG-13 - R crowd. They are gritty, sexy stories, and shouldn't be watered down. I believe Robert Rodriguez can pull this off and I also think George Clooney should play John Carter. I'm series. He's perfect! Harry, if the news keeps getting this good, I might have a heart attack.

  • March 3, 2004, 7:42 a.m. CST


    by Evil Chicken

    I agree with 98% of everything I just read. RR is a great choice to breath life into John Carter. I've loved this series for years. Once you've read it you can see just how influential and far reaching the piece truly is. You can't watch the original "Star Wars" without seeing echoes of Mars. I can't wait to see this happen.

  • Or is it just me?

  • March 3, 2004, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Mark Dacascos as John Carter....

    by StoneMonkey

    and he doesn't need any fighting training. He got it all from his mom and pop. BTW 'Only the Strong' came out on DVD yesterday. Nootch!!

  • March 3, 2004, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Oh, well...

    by Giant Fish

    Rodriguez seems like a pretty nice guy, and I thought The Faculty was pretty good. It proves he can do a good job if he has a good script to begin with. But those Mariachi movies are a little bit sad, especially the last one. Rodriguez' set-pieces make absolutely no sense. That bit where Banderas and Hayek fell\swung down the side of the buliding had me squirming. Imagine how unbearably godawful it would have been without Johnny Depp. Anyway, here's hoping A Princess of Mars gets made, and does not suck...

  • March 3, 2004, 8:15 a.m. CST

    ok, this movie NEEDS TITS

    by CuervoJones

    read the book

  • March 3, 2004, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Robert R blows and here's why........

    by tatatoothy31

    He's the most underperforming director in hollywood right now. Perhaps ever. One of, if not THE, biggest hurdle directors face is dealing with studios. Having to answer to someone else must take half the joy of filmmaking and dillutes the whole process. Robert Rodriguez has a situation others can only dream of - good budgets, complete independence. And all I know is that IF I HAD THE FREEDOM HE HAS, MY MOVIES WOULD BE A SHITLOAD BETTER THAN HIS SHITFESTS!!!!!!!!! Spy Kids 3D is is easily the worst movie of the year - yes, even worse than gigli or full throttle or the like. His total freedom is wasted on movies more generic than any studio film. There are two potential reasons, I think. 1) maybe he doesn't have as much freedom as he boasts, and has to answer to harveybob just like everyone else. Or 2) maybe he does have the freedom, and just happens to be this uncreative, untalented, and complete generic.

  • March 3, 2004, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Antonio Banderas is JUAN CARTER...

    by bc1970

    in MARS WAS WET: PART 1. in 3D.

  • March 3, 2004, 10:59 a.m. CST

    How about Viggo as John Carter?

    by riskebiz

    I think Viggo could look good as the Civil War soldier gone to Mars. I still think Tom Cruise is best suited for the role, but Viggo might be just as good.

  • March 3, 2004, 11:06 a.m. CST

    sorry, riskebiz...

    by Giant Fish

    Viggo's a little too old. John Carter is described as a man no more than thirty. Hugh Jackman's the man (or maybe Russell Crowe in Maximus mode), and Ron Perlman would make an excellent Tars Tarkas. Oh, and Eartha Kitt as Issus for the sequel!

  • March 3, 2004, 2:54 p.m. CST



    Lucass is about to be schooled once again!

  • March 3, 2004, 4:06 p.m. CST

    "And the Oscar for Art Direction goes to.... Frank Frazetta!"

    by Trav McGee

    C'mon now, who doesn't want to hear that someday. "And the Oscar for Costume Design goes to... It's a clean sweep! Frank Frazetta!"

  • March 3, 2004, 5:45 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    I read the entire JOHN CARTER series as Ballantine produced their reissues with gorgeous new covers in the '60s. I should have saved them, obviously. Today these books are totally unreadable -- they are horribly written and the last couple in the series sound like they were patched together by a child -- but what an astounding world ERB wove in his pulp stuff. What flights of imaginaiton these stories sent me and a whole new generation on. (Just like those CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED reissues with new covers. I could not understand when I was a child why the covers looked so modern but often the contents looked so out of date; years later, I realized CI titles were being periodically reissued with new covers, simple as that. I finally got to see some of the original covers, which were much more in keeping with their content.) At the same time Ballantine was banging out new editions of these ERB antique classics, Ace and others were reprinting knockoffs from roughly the same period, like the Ralph Milne Farley titles, all with new and interesting covers. I read every one of them. (Those imps at Ace also issued, illegally, the LORD OF THE RINGS series with new covers, and I snatched up a copy of TWO TOWERS in a Montreal bookstore way back in the early 60s.) There was even a brief spate of newly written ERB knockoffs, by fairly well-known authors in the 60s and 70s, and published by several different publishing houses. I read some of these as well, but they paled in comparison. A JOHN CARTER movie will probably disappoint any true ERB fan -- look at the disastrous RIVERWORLD miniseries adaptation as an example -- but what the hell. Why hasn't anyone ever done a TV series or cartoon after all these years? I vaguely recall a high-quality comic book series at one point, although I may be dreaming. Was there ever a more exotic and erotic series of JOHN CARTER book covers than those Ballantine paperback reissues from the 60s? I absolutely adored John Carter and greatly lusted after Dejah Thoris -- and Thuvia, her daughter (I think), who shows up later in the series.

  • March 3, 2004, 5:45 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    I read the entire JOHN CARTER series as Ballantine produced their reissues with gorgeous new covers in the '60s. I should have saved them, obviously. Today these books are totally unreadable -- they are horribly written and the last couple in the series sound like they were patched together by a child -- but what an astounding world ERB wove in his pulp stuff. What flights of imaginaiton these stories sent me and a whole new generation on. (Just like those CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED reissues with new covers. I could not understand when I was a child why the covers looked so modern but often the contents looked so out of date; years later, I realized CI titles were being periodically reissued with new covers, simple as that. I finally got to see some of the original covers, which were much more in keeping with their content.) At the same time Ballantine was banging out new editions of these ERB antique classics, Ace and others were reprinting knockoffs from roughly the same period, like the Ralph Milne Farley titles, all with new and interesting covers. I read every one of them. (Those imps at Ace also issued, illegally, the LORD OF THE RINGS series with new covers, and I snatched up a copy of TWO TOWERS in a Montreal bookstore way back in the early 60s.) There was even a brief spate of newly written ERB knockoffs, by fairly well-known authors in the 60s and 70s, and published by several different publishing houses. I read some of these as well, but they paled in comparison. A JOHN CARTER movie will probably disappoint any true ERB fan -- look at the disastrous RIVERWORLD miniseries adaptation as an example -- but what the hell. Why hasn't anyone ever done a TV series or cartoon after all these years? I vaguely recall a high-quality comic book series at one point, although I may be dreaming. Was there ever a more exotic and erotic series of JOHN CARTER book covers than those Ballantine paperback reissues from the 60s? I absolutely adored John Carter and greatly lusted after Dejah Thoris -- and Thuvia, her daughter (I think), who shows up later in the series.

  • March 3, 2004, 7:52 p.m. CST

    Hey! Cuervo Jones! Can Deejah Thoris have four breasts?

    by zinc_chameleon

    I was thinking if this was done with CGI, then it could get past the R rating. Cause lot's of discussion in People magazine, and other grocery-store counter trash. Would all the females need four? Or just Deejah? Personally I think a CGI-ed Salma Hayek would restore a lot of pride in Mexico.

  • March 3, 2004, 8:54 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    I grew up reading the Ballantine reissues of the entire series. if only I had held onto them! Of course the writing is beyond bad, but what a world ERB created in this series. I hope this movie will come to fruition and succeed, but it sounds like a long shot. Why it has never been a cartoon show or miniseries is beyond me. Why it never got made even as a low-budget sci-fi flick years ago, when CONAN and the sword-and-sorcery craze took hold, is also incomprehensible. Maybe better late than never. We shall see.

  • March 3, 2004, 9:14 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    Hugh Jackman would be perfect as Carter. That Aussie from A KNIGHT'S TALE and 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU would be OK, too. I have no problem with Beyonce as Dejah Thoris, but she cannot act. Find someone of that age and look who can act, if there is anyone. Jolie is too old but she has the right look. Ditto Zeta-Jones, who is the spitting image of Thoris but is almost old enough to be her mother.

  • March 3, 2004, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Skimpy outfits nothing... John Carter & Co are practically NUDE!

    by Toonimator

    Most artists commissioned to do covers gave 'em a whole lot more clothing than anyone wore in the books. The people of Barsoom, Green, Red & Black, wore ornaments, spoils of war, and harnesses for their weapons. Occasionally they'd wear some light cloth against the chill, maybe a cape, but that's pretty much it. Only the White Men (I forget their names, the priesthood) wore robes. The lack of clothing was one of the things that set their culture apart from those Carter had experienced. But, of course, even if the violence was toned down all the way to a G-rating, all that nudity would prompt the MPAA to give "Princess of Mars" an NC-17 in a heartbeat. Violence - okay. Bad words - not okay. Nudity - not okay. Blah. Even if they could get away with it, they'd almost have to cast porn stars like Aria. Not many Hollywood folk would be comfortable walking around wearing only bracelets and a sword strapped to their waist. As long as the filmmakers keep the clothes plenty skimpy (loinclothes, togas, kilts), it'll be fine. It'll be great to see the Green Men realized, and John bouncing around like a swashbuckling superhero. I always wondered how he could easily wield a longsword built for a creature twice his height? You'd think it'd get in his way or something :) Woola will be a challenge, because he's so quick. One common "tell" for many CG characters or double is their movements, their gestures, are too quick! Look at the CG doubles of Batman in the last couple films, or especially Spider-Man! In any case, there's a lot of elements that should look fantastic on the big screen. Looking forward to more info on the project!

  • March 3, 2004, 10:03 p.m. CST

    Re: Nails_McGinty's comment about Martian technology not having

    by FrankDrebin

    Reminds me of SIGNS (spoiler) where the alien had a cloaked interstellar spaceship--but not a waterproof poncho!

  • March 3, 2004, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Should Salma say no, Belluci in similar wardrobe:

    by Declan_Swartz

  • March 3, 2004, 11:35 p.m. CST

    While doing a search to compare Declan's Bellucci pics with Deja

    by grillskill

  • March 4, 2004, 2:06 a.m. CST

    Danny Trejo is John Carter

    by AshesOfDonnie

  • March 4, 2004, 4:02 a.m. CST

    this is beginning to sound like april 1st...

    by rickycoogin

    a month early. First, Frank "don't you dare adapt me" Miller okays the director of "Spy Kids 2: Galapagos Islands" to helm his crowning masterpiece based on a Josh Hartnett short?! Now he's being assigned a $100 million and change epic based on names known only in certain circle(jerk)s?!

  • March 4, 2004, 4:47 a.m. CST

    Don't tease

    by St.Buggering

    As a 40-year-old Burroughs fanboy, I've been teased with this particular carrot time and time again. It always comes to naught. The prospect of Rodriguez tackling this threatens to excite me. But I'm holding it in. I refuse to be disappointed yet again. The sheer scale of this thing is frightening, although it is true that it is more feasible now than it has ever been. And if this actually gets off the ground, perhaps "Call of Cthulhu", another oft-cancelled fanboy dream project, will also fly. And perhaps I will grow breasts and wear a dress.

  • March 4, 2004, 5:04 a.m. CST

    Best SF Novel-to-Film? RAH's Moon is a Harsh Mistress

    by newscaper

    Supposedly Tim Minear, who worked on Firefly with Whedon, is tackling the project. It's one classic SF novel that could easily be translated into modern visuals and not otherwise seem dated. Granted the group marriage thing might get softened <g>

  • March 4, 2004, 5:42 a.m. CST

    Dissers of Edgar Rice Burrough's 'John Carter'

    by Wild At Heart

    Please remember that this guy wrote these books almost 100 frigging years ago! You think they're worthless? Bullshit. They're the progenitor of all of the fantasy-scifi that you creamed over when you were kids. Holy crap, anything that might bring Frank Frazetta to the masses IS cool with a capital Splooge.

  • March 4, 2004, 5:45 a.m. CST

    Is this going to be faithful to the book(s)

    by Kid_cthulhu

  • March 4, 2004, 5:58 a.m. CST

    is this going to be faithful to the book(s)

    by Kid_cthulhu

    because some of the stuff form the books is just awful. don't get me wrong I'm a fan of ERB and have read most of his books. but I can't imagine anyone using some of the stuff from the books. Rifles that could shoot a bullet 300 miles. Flying ships that used a eight ray of light to levitate. Towers that raise up on steel collums at night to keep the occupants safe from assasins. Some of these thing may have seemed plausable when the books were written but now days are just laughable.

  • March 4, 2004, 8:45 a.m. CST

    I don't know why people are bagging on RR's directing...sure his

    by minderbinder

    This is pulp stuff, the kind of thing he does best. Crazy action fun. It's not like they announced he's going to take on Shakespeare. Goofy idea: anyone else think RR could make a really cool Harry Potter movie?

  • March 4, 2004, 8:49 a.m. CST

    A guestion...

    by Blue_Demon

    How is it that "A Princess of Mars" is in the public domain? I thought that Edgar Rice Burroughs incorporated himself so that his family would own the rights to all his works. I mean, if one tried to make his own "Tarzan" movie or comic or anything would one get sued into oblivion? Also...if APOM is in public domain, does that mean that anybody can have a crack at it? Is that how Frazetta can basically sell posters of a character that is not his? I really hope someone answers this. Thank ye all.

  • March 4, 2004, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Full Text of A PRINCESS OF MARS here!

    by geekzapoppin They also have several other Burroughs books. It's perfectly legit and perfectly legal! Thank God for Public Domain! That is until Di$ney pretty much destroyed it.

  • March 4, 2004, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Thong technology, or string bikini theory

    by TimBenzedrine

    From what I remember, Mars is primarily tropical, making clothing less of a priority among its citizens. When Burroughs wrote these books, there were still many places on Earth where people went about their business nude or nearly nude. He was trying to establish the Martian Culture as something 'alien' to what we were familiar with, so he had them technically advanced, but not 'westernized'. As for no protective armor, well, everybody on Mars seems to be trained to defend his or her self , and the code is pretty much fight to the death, so culturally, one could assume that among Martians the wearing of protective armor is considered 'cowardly'. But since this is a movie and we have to deal with western sensibilities, I suppose they're going to have to wear SOMETHING. I just hope that the script and the costume designs aren't too CAMPY, cause I could easily see this deviating into some low rent Vegas act.

  • March 4, 2004, 3:33 p.m. CST

    by MattyBoomStar

    Check it out!

  • March 4, 2004, 7:38 p.m. CST

    He better not fuck this up.

    by Kirk's Toupee

    All of us John Carter fans have waited a long time for a movie. This better not get some sort of cheezy treatment ala From Dusk till Dawn or Once Apon a Time in Mexico. This needs to be serious big budget swashbuckling stuff. I don't have much confidence this fucker can pull it off.

  • March 5, 2004, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Absolutely right, Wild At Heart

    by Wingnut1A

    This particular story was copywritten in 1912! The airplane was only 9 years old! This was 7 years before prohibition for goodness sake! He was writing from a different world. Give the guy a break! How silly will Stephen King sound in 92 years?

  • March 5, 2004, 6:23 a.m. CST

    Fucking A Moriarty. You go bitch! That's why I come to this site

    by TheGinger Twit

    How bout those tities. Just Like my girl :)

  • March 6, 2004, 7:33 p.m. CST

    John Carter-Yes, Pud-NO

    by evharben

    My, but you have a rather limited vocabulary, and a vulgar gutter one at that! Surely you can expres yourself more elequently??????? I have enjoyed John Carter since the Burroughs Boom that hit in the early 1960s when I was in high school! Now, with all the fantatstic tecnology a really fine film of John Carter of Mars can now be made! I, would attend the theatre several times for a great film that does not rely on vulgar slang and garbage language to attract viewers. Plot, music, costumes combined with players, director, and support personnel make it work! Three cheers for John Carter!!!!! For "pud," Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Erich von Harben

  • March 7, 2004, 1:54 a.m. CST

    perryfarrell and the rest

    by victor laszlo

    Don't act like you don't know what I mean, the term is irrelevent. Rodriguez is a master in his methods (efficiency, stretching a budget, etc.), and makes solid, fun films. His heart is in the right place, but he's all flash. RR is wrong for the job, bottom line. The material deserves better than the summer popcorn treatment. Imagine 'PRINCESS of MARS' as a David Lean film, or a John Ford film. There is a depth and a passion that this film begs for that I cannot imagine appearing in an RR picture. The only hope here lies in Frazetta's possible involvement. It needs the scope of Lawrence of Arabia, the epic longing of English Patient, the detail of LOTR, [& just so happen to contain the most amazing action yet commited to film]. And by the way, anyone who calls ERB a racist didn't read the Mars books----which stress interracial and cross-cultural friendships/bonds as a central theme. "Gods of Mars" is practically a manifesto against racial superiority and ignorance. Read the fucking books. And don't make this movie until someone is ready to do it right.

  • March 31, 2004, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Vin Diesel =IS= Ghek the Kaldane!!!

    by Aloysius

    Ok, We've got to get to the 5th novel first, but any actor portraying a character with a detachable head has got to have "head presence", muahaha. On a more serious note, this has been a long time coming. I'm curious to see what is kept and what is discarded from the books. Is JC still a confederate veteran? What of the Ninth Barsoomian Ray? IMO they've got to keep the dirgible-style airships for feel, maybe the less tech dialogue the better ;P Nudity? This is why the movie should be a French production, lol, the nudity is ubiquitous and non-erotic... impossible for an american production! Imagine an american film, southern gentleman wearing only a sword belt kneels and kisses the hand of the haughty and totally nude Martian princess, hoping for a smile.. I love the books, but I dread the laugther from an awkward american teen audience on opening night.. tough adaptation work. Race issues.. Martians are split into red, white and black men with "honky"-style features, and green men with 4 arms and tusks! Best modern spin would be a multicultural cast with dyed skin.. we'll see. This has the potential to be the most visually stunning series ever, if the creatures and cities of Barsoom are done right! And the mayhem... imagine JC on a hill made of dead green warriors, holding an army at bay, single handed- R rated, got to B!