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 what you get out. It was great, it was amazing. I love that Edgar Rice Burroughs was so ahead of his time. So much of his writing is still applicable to today, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do it justice. Also just to breathe life into Andrew Stanton’s childhood dream, that was big for me, and an honour. I loved the depth of John Carter, the whole spectrum I was able to play and breath life into.

On this physical side of things, I think that really helped the film feel like an adventure?

Taylor Kitsch: Yeah, there were many, many times when I personally thought Andrew Stanton had a vendetta against me, especially with that great white ape sequence (laughs)! But he made a great point when we were filming that, I don’t know whether it was to motivate or not, but he said, “The more we beat you up, the more you’re gonna be liked.” And I think, you know, so much John Carter sacrifices, for Dejah, the Tharks, but this was by far the most exhausting thing I’ve ever been a part of. It’s such a high energy film, you’re truly gonna feel that watching it, I feel.

What was the training and dietary process like for you?

Taylor Kitsch: I had to be honest to the character. It’s funny, once I first got the role, I thought I was going to get comic-book big, but then once I finally got the script and once I started studying the Civil War, which was what I truly grabbed on for this cat, was that they averaged 145lbs, those guys. So it’s a happy medium of staying real. It made no sense to be walking around in the 1800s being big. My training and diet regiment was for about 11 months. I done a lot of sword work, wire work.

Speaking to Andrew Stanton about this film, he’s so enthusiastic….

Taylor Kitsch: Oh yeah (laughs). 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. I loved working with Andrew. I haven’t worked with anyone who’s prepped as much as he has. I think that’s a testament to who he is as a person and how much he cares about this film. I’d love to do it all over again.