Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins & Dominic West Interview For ‘John Carter’
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton (WALL•E, Finding Nemo) comes ‘John Carter’ – a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). ‘John Carter’ is based on the classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, ‘John Carter of Mars,’ whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands. Set for release March 9th, ‘John Carter’ also stars the likes of Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Willem Dafoe, James Purefoy, Daryl Sabara, Polly Walker, Bryan Cranston, Dominic West, and Thomas Hayden Church.
Playing a role like John Carter, which I can imagine being extremely physical and emotional, what was that experience like for you?
Taylor Kitsch: Honestly, no job will ever be as technical, as physical, as exhausting, or yet as rewarding as playing John Carter in this movie. And I can say that as truthfully as I possibly can (laughs). I was tested on every level and then some on ‘John Carter.’ Questions like, “Why I do this?” To just the physicality of it, the arch of the character, the emotional spectrum he has, to keeping the endurance. But, what you put in is hopefully what you get out. It was great.
Lynn, can you tell us a little bit about your character, and how you found the physical challenges of the role?
Lynn Collins: I play Dejah Thoris, she is the regent of science and letters on Helium, which is sort of the peaceful city on Mars. Dejah is also the Princess of Helium. There’s a lot of fighting and a lot of wirework, and I actually had a terrible fear of heights, but that was completely dashed by this movie, because Taylor’s character, John Carter, he has a lot of jumping, and a lot of these jumps involve him holding me (laughs). So inadvertently I was being flung everywhere! It’s hard work, but it’s so great to have a director that you can trust in Andrew Stanton, that the hard work you put in, you know it was gonna pay off. I’ve got sword-fighting scenes, I’m a trained martial artist, both of my parents were both martial artists so I came into ’John Carter’ with a little extra oomph. I’ve been boxing with my trainer and there’s something so gratifying wielding the sword. It was definitely something different.
How about you Dominic, playing Sab Than? And also what do you think Andrew Stanton brings to this movie?
Dominic West: I play Sab Than, or as he became known, with all the makeup, Fab Tan….or Bad Tan (laughs). Sab Than, he’s the leader of the Zodangan’s on Mars. There was a lot of wire work, which I’ve done before, I was on a circus about ten years ago. So I did a lot of wirework then, that really came in handy, it came fairly easily to me. They threw me around on ‘John Carter.’
Andrew Stanton, he has a genius for spotting human details. I was watching ‘Finding Nemo’ again the other day, and every scene there’s something that draws you in as being a uniquely human moment. He’s really great at that, amazing at that.
Taylor Kitsch: His vision is very infectious, just Andrew’s vision and tenaciousness of getting it right and doing it. He’s just brilliant. The script was truly remarkable, and the saying, “Prep is everything,” he’s done that tenfold, he knew exactly what was going on at all times, which on something this big is amazing.
The visuals are stunning. How was it for you watching the final project, and what thematically appealed to you about ‘John Carter’?
Lynn Collins: The offices were just full of pictures and images. And the sort of trajectory of the story, everything, everything was very clearly laid out for us in a way so that we were able to visualise as much as possible. It’s just so great to see it all come together, from all the concept art we saw, the sets, the costumes, it’s really great to see it come together.
Thematically, ‘John Carter’ is incredibly contemporary, which is one of the reasons I was so attracted to the material. Hopefully the audience will come out of the cinema not only having had the riot of their life, and falling in love with the characters. But their going to leave the cinema thinking about their own actions, and our actions societally as a whole and how we treat the planet.
John Carter and Dejah have an interesting dynamic….
Taylor Kitsch: Yeah, John sees this woman that hanging from the ship, and he jumps up and saves her. It was nothing ever more thought of than doing the right thing, and through that they combine and there’s obviously a few moments where they’re not exactly on the same page, and they’re fighting together, they’re taking the sword from one another, there’s this ranking system of where this relationship is, if it even is that yet? Where it actually sits. That was fun to play, Lynn was brilliant.
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