Monday, November 30, 2015

Pixar animator gets real on Mars

Oscar-winning director Andrew Stanton, of "Finding Nemo" and "Wall-E" fame, makes the transition from computer-animation to live-action with "John Carter."

Pixar animator gets real on Mars

Stanton braves the heat, Taylor Kitsch gets ready to go Martian.
Stanton braves the heat, Taylor Kitsch gets ready to go Martian.

Like his Pixar confrere Brad Bird, who went from making epic CG hits (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) to Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, animator Andrew Stanton has made the leap from digital toons to directing real, flesh and blood actors on real (albeit lots of green-screen) sets.

For John Carter, the huge and fantastical adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ pulp book about a Civil War veteran mysteriously transported to Mars, Stanton found himself in deserts and soundstages, dealing with giant crews and giant logistical problems. It was a seismic shift from steering squads of artists and renderers on his Oscar-winning animated hits Finding Nemo and Wall-E.

“It was a one hundred percent physical adjustment,” Stanton explains. “You’re going from banker’s hours and always sitting, to standing and being outside for like 100 days in every conceivable weather situation. That was truly, by far, the most difficult morale-slamming thing to have done. I knew it would be hard, but I just had never been tested like that, so…

 “And I think I may have benefited from my naivete, because I found out as we were going along, even from people who had been making movies all their life, that this was a really hard shoot.... It’s like your first earthquake. `Was that a big one? ‘I had no idea.”

On the other hand, Stanton says that “the intellectual side” of making John Carter – “the professional discussions, working with other artists and planning the shots, and discussing  what the scenes were about — was similar to what he had been doing all along at Pixar.

“It was like you’ve always sailed the boat virtually — you’ve never been on a real boat — but you pretty much have been sailing all this time. So there was a little bit of a jump, but it was familiar.”

John Carter opens Friday, in 2-D and 3-D.

Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Consider our Movies blog your essential guide to new movies and classics, interviews with filmmakers and stars, news and views on the latest screen trends, reviews and the occasional rant.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter