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Edgar Rice Burroughs Signature
Master of Imaginative Fantasy Adventure
Creator of Tarzan and "Grandfather of American Science Fiction"
Volume 1136

Frazetta Doubleday Book Club ed.
Edgar Rice Burroughs'
(A Princess of Mars)
Paramount Film Project: 
Pre-Production Series
Note: Paramount is no longer involved in the project.
For more recent developments on the John Carter project see archives

Kevin "Sky Captain" Conran
who had replaced Robert Rodriguez as project director
has been replaced by
Jon Favreau
For all the latest official news from ERB, Inc. including the many ERB film projects in the works:
(The Land That Time Forgot ~ Tarzan of the Apes ~ The Girl From Hollywood ~ The Venus Series)

Paramount Raising 'Mars' Bar
Helmer Favreau boards Burroughs SciFier
By Dave McNary, Michael Fleming ~ Variety ~ Oct. 6, 2005

Los Angeles: Paramount has tapped Jon Favreau to direct "John Carter of Mars," the epic adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi series. Alphaville Productions partners Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks are producing.

Pic begins with a Civil War veteran whose retreat into a cave to avoid capture by Apache Indians takes an otherworldly turn as he's transported via time portal to the planet of Barsoom and taken prisoner by 12-foot-tall green men.

Burroughs wrote 11 volumes of Carter's adventures and the studio is hoping the film will launch a franchise. Ehren Kruger rewrote a script by Mark Protosevich, and Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles is co-producing.

"Mars" has long been viewed by the studio and Par-based Alphaville as a plum project. The trouble has been getting the right director. Robert Rodriguez was set, until he had to remove himself after resigning his DGADGA membership over the guild's unwillingness to allow him to co-direct "Sin City" with Frank Miller. Kerry Conran was most recently attached.

Favreau has a taste for special-effects fare, exhibited with large-scale fantasy pic "Zathura," that Sony releases Nov. 11 and New Line's hit "Elf."

Favreau, who just wrapped the fourth season as producer and host of the IFC series "Dinner for Five," has also hatched an Image Entertainment-produced sitcom for Fox. Favreau is writing and will possibly direct the pilot. As an actor, Favreau just wrapped "The Break Up."

Check out co-producer, Harry Knowles' Ain't It Cool Website for more information and fan feedback.

Quotes from Harry Knowles:
"I love Kerry, we all did. Ultimately though, Kerry found a couple of pulp properties that he was even more passionate about. Whenever he's ready to announce, I think everyone everywhere will be happy. You see... We're still going to deliver a Great JOHN CARTER movie, but Kerry will deliver another great science fiction pulp character film too. We film lovers will have twice as much to be excited about!"
"Jon's first order of business is to bring on a screenwriter to bring the script back closer to Burroughs. He loves that novel. At this stage Jon is securing the effects and design team that we've had through Kerry's tenure on the project and just continue to chip away at the awesome mountain of pre-production that will make this film amongst the finest science fiction-fantasy films of all time."
More . . . 

See the trailer for Favreau's Zathura:
Zathura at Austin's Fantastic Fest Film Festival ~ October 8, 2005
Interview with new John Carter of Mars director - 
Jon Favreau - at producer Harry Knowles' Ain't It Cool Web site:
John Carter Discussion:
Jon Favreau Talks "Mars" Visit
Now Playing Magazine ~ By Garth Franklin ~ October 18, 2005
Director Jon Favreau ("Elf") is out doing promotions for "Zathura" this past weekend and spoke with Now Playing Magazine about what he's up to next - specifically the film adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel series "John Carter of Mars".

On Kerry Conran's departure from the project he says - "He developed it for a long time and then he went off of it. And as I was sitting down with the people from Paramount just having a general meeting... at the end of the meeting I asked, 'So what's happening with John Carter?' And they said, 'I think it's available.' They sent me the books, I started reading them, I came in with a pitch, and they were very excited. It's a new regime over there at Paramount. They're looking for a franchise; they're looking for something in the PG-13 world".

The project will be a challenge though - "You've got characters that are 15-feet tall and have four arms and tusks. How do you find a way to show that where I'm not dealing with the CG problem? Whether you're working on Swingers, or Elf, or Zathura or John Carter of Mars, you have to keep the characters and the emotional story at the base of everything and then surround that with effects and science and technology. But if you're not telling a good story, it doesn't matter if you're doing a cave painting or a sitcom or a science fiction movie. You will lose the audience".

'Elf' director signs for 'Neanderthals'
Digital Spy UK ~ By Daniel Saney ~ October 18, 2005
Jon Favreau is to write and produce Neanderthals, a CG-animated film for Sony Pictures Animation, says The Hollywood Reporter. The trade adds that the project is based on the Elf director's own idea, though the specific plotline is "being kept in a cave under a large boulder protected by a mastadon" for the time being, according to the studio. It was recently announced that Favreau would be directing the first in a probable series of fims based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' 'John Carter of Mars' stories for Paramount. . . . Penned by Ehren Kruger and Mark Protosevich, the movie will tell the story of a Civil War veteran who hides from Apache Indians in a cave, only to find that he has been transported to the planet of Barsoom where he is taken prisoner by a race of tall green men. 

Protosevich and Harry Knowles are co-producing. 

Conran confirms directing A PRINCESS OF MARS 
to press during his SKY CAPTAIN tour!!!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I know it was announced by the trades and has been a sure thing, but it just makes it that much more real that Kerry Conran himself is talking about directing A PRINCESS OF MARS to media during the press tour for SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW. Now, as a new fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs' series (I'm on CHESSMEN OF MARS, but I had to halt my John Carter adventures to brush up on my CHRONICLES OF NARNIA for some really cool reasons I'll fill you in on in the near future) and someone who has seen SKY CAPTAIN I have to say... Of all the directors who have been attached or almost attached to this project, I think that Kerry Conran feels the best. He has an understanding for pulpy adventure filmmaking that is confident, fresh and exciting. Just the kind of person John Carter needs to help him through Barsoom and into Dejah Thoris' heart. Now, if only I could get that Big Red chump to spill more on what he's got up his sleeves...
Kerry Conran Discusses the "Princess" Project
September 13, 2004
Rope of Silicon
Kerry Conrad
We're moving full steam ahead on that. We don't have a script yet, it's early on obviously, but it's starting. Hopefully in the next couple months we'll start to move. I think we'll have a little more resources available this time out, sort of how Peter Jackson made Lord of the Rings, which used all the available technology, such as miniatures and all that to achieve that. I think there are certain types of images and effects that the computer isn't suited for, and you want to use whatever the best approach is for whatever the thing you're trying to create. So I wouldn't say that we would want to do it remotely like we did World of Tomorrow, but absolutely we would use some of the techniques." 

In truth, Princess of Mars was something that I never could have imagined even agreeing to do, or wanting to do in that regard because I really only wanted to do my own stuff. 


Trivia for A Princess of Mars (2006) from the Internet Movie Data Base

'Robert Rodriguez' had originally been signed and announced as director and had begun pre-production in 2004 (it would have been his largest project to date with starting budget reported at $100 million). However, when Rodriguez resigned from the Directors' Guild of America (DGA) the same year (due to a dispute over his film Sin City (2005)), Paramount was forced to replace him. The studio has a long-standing arrangement with the DGA in which only the organization's members may direct Paramount films.

Like "Lord of the Rings" and "Dune", there have been numerous failed attempts at filming Edgar Rice Burroughs' "A Princess of Mars" since its first publication in 1917:

In 1931, animation legend Robert Clampett approached Burroughs himself with the idea of making the book into an animated film, to which Burroughs was enthusiastic. The author's son, John Coleman Burroughs, helped Clampett create an extensive array of sketches, sculptures and production notes while the rights to the project were picked up by MGM. However, Clampett and the two Burroughs soon clashed with the studio over the direction to take the film - the creators wanting to make a serious sci-fi drama, the studio wanting a slapstick comedy with a swashbuckling hero. Eventually, the studio pulled the plug on the entire project. Originally planned for a 1932 release, it would have been the first feature-length animated film (the honour of which is held by Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)). When Clampett toured and lectured at universities in the 1970s, he would often screen some of the uncompleted animation footage for enthusiastic audiences.

Stop-motion animation legend Ray Harryhausen attempted to spearhead a live action version of the book on the heels of his success with 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The (1958). He, like Clampett, created an extensive cachet of sketches and models to be used on the film. However, the sheer scale of the project (as well as Harryhausen's admitted lack of enthusiasm for the book) forced the animator to end his work on the film. In his memoir, "An Animated Life", he goes into detail of the would-be project as well as revealing some of the unused sketches.

During the 1980s, Disney optioned the rights with Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna (Carolco) brought on as producers. John McTiernan (I), fresh off the sucess of Die Hard (1988), had been hired to direct a screenplay by Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott with William Stout hired as production designer. Tom Cruise had been rumored to be in talks for the role of John Carter. However, the sheer scale of the project, coupled with what McTiernan saw the "limitations" of special effects at the time, kept the project from being fully realized. The pre-production financing alone contributed to the eventual bankrupture of Carolco. After numerous attempt to reinvigorate the project in the 1990s, Disney finally pulled the plug and attempted to sell the rights to the film. After several years, they were finally acquired by Paramount.

Copyright © 2004 Internet Movie Database Inc.

\Robert Rodriguez Robert Rodriguez: Robert Rodriguez


Read the Variety Release

Recommended interview on The Onion AV site:
Rodriguez is an enthusiastic pioneer in theshooting of films with high definition progressive scan digital cameras on digital film. In response to the old film axiom: "Creative people aren't technical; technical people aren't creative. They always need each other, and they're always on opposite sides of the room." Rodriguez said: "That's why nothing gets done. I've abandoned film forever. You can't go back. It's like trying to go back to vinyl after you've got recordable DVD.".
The Latest On The Paramount A Princess of Mars Project
 Mars Imperiled?
Robert Rodriguez's resignation from the Directors Guild of America has jeopardized Paramount's development of its adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic SF book A Princess of Mars, Variety reported. The director of Spy Kids quit the union so he could co-direct Sin City with Frank Miller, who created, wrote and illustrated the three-book graphic novel series on which that movie is based, the trade paper reported. (Guild rules do not permit such "co-directing" credits.) But that imperils Mars, because as a DGA signatory, Paramount is required to employ only guild directors, the trade paper reported. Insiders close to Rodriguez tell the trade paper that, at least for now, the director is unwilling to rejoin the guild just to direct Princess of Mars. Insiders close to Rodriguez insist he is unwilling to rejoin the DGA just to direct the $100+ million CG-extensive "Princess of Mars" which Paramount hopes will become its equivalent of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Paramount's COO Rob Friedman told the trade "We are in discussions with Mr. Rodriguez and are trying to come up with a solution".
Posted: Wed., Apr. 7, 2004, 10:00pm PT

Rodriguez's wife and producing partner Elizabeth Avellan is quoted as saying "As of today, we are not dropping out. We are still very much making that movie".

'Mars' out of Par's orbit? Rodriguez's move imperils pic
Robert Rodriguez's resignation from the DGA has jeopardized Paramount's development of its tentpole pic "A Princess of Mars." The problem: As a DGA signatory, Par is required to employ only guild directors. Rodriguez's recent move to leave the DGA was triggered by his desire to co-direct "Sin City" for Dimension Films with Frank Miller, who created, wrote and illustrated the three-book graphic novel series on which the "Sin City" pic is based.

"We are in discussions with Mr. Rodriguez and are trying to come up with a solution," said Rob Friedman, vice chair and chief operating officer of Paramount's motion picture group. Insiders close to Rodriguez insist that -- at least for now -- he is unwilling to rejoin the  Directors Guild just to direct "Princess of Mars." DGA rules dictate that there be only one director assigned to direct a motion picture at any given time, although the guild occasionally grants a waiver, such as with the Coen  brothers.

The DGA issued the following statement: "When it comes to creative judgment, vision, leadership and decisionmaking ... co-directing generally does not work. Having said that, there are exceptional circumstances where two individuals have demonstrated an ability to reflect a singular vision through previous directing experience, which the DGA has always supported through the granting of waivers to bona fide co-directing teams."

Rodriguez, who is in production in Austin, Texas, on "Sin City," was not available for comment Thursday. When Rodriguez resigned last month, he portrayed his departure as reflecting his unorthodox plans for "Sin City" -- such as having Quentin Tarantino helm part of the film, possibly using a "special guest director" title that would not be available under DGA guidelines.

Rodriguez also quit the DGA a decade ago so he could take part in the Tarantino-orchestrated film "Four Rooms." He told Daily Variety last month that the co-directing credit for Miller would more accurately reflect how the film will be made.

"I didn't want Frank (Miller) to be treated as just a writer, because he is the only one who has actually been to 'Sin City,' " Rodriguez said. "I am making such a literal interpretation of his book that I'd have felt weird taking directing credit without him."   Par-based Alphaville Prods., partnered with Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios, plans to begin shooting early next year. Pic is based on the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-volume "John Carter of Mars" series. Producers will be Alphaville toppers Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks with Rodriguez and producing partner Elizabeth Avellan, as well as online movie industry pundit Harry Knowles.

Mark Protosevich is scripting; cast has not yet been set. Budget is said to top $100 million due to extensive CGI. Goal is to match the scale and scope of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

     Read the full article at:

Rodriguez Talks Mars: Director addresses DGA snafu.

April 20, 2004 - Entertainment Weekly has asked filmmaker Robert Rodriguez about his status as the director of Paramount/Alphaville's A Princess of Mars (a.k.a. John Carter of Mars). Rodriguez's recent decision to resign from the Directors Guild of America placed his ability to helm the big-screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic sci-fi novel in doubt. As a DGA signatory, Paramount is not allowed to hire a non-union director. Rodriguez advised EW, however, that the situation is under control.

"I can still do that movie," claims Rodriguez, "because I was assigned to it before I left the DGA. I'll occupy that island of misfit directors like Quentin Tarantino and George Lucas. (Laughs) It's actually quite nice here."

Entertainment Weekly, April 23, 2004
Scott Brown; Robert Rodriguez

In Sin City, the rotten comic-book noir-opolis created by writer-artist Frank Miller, rules (and bones) are made to be broken. Director Robert Rodriguez is rebelling appropriately with Sin City, his adaptation of three of Miller's beloved graphic novels: Sin City, The Big Fat Kill, and That Yellow Bastard. He's enlisted Miller as codirector--which has gotten Rodriguez in trouble with the Directors Guild of America (DGA)--and asked pal Quentin Tarantino to lend a helming hand later this summer. Now, Bruce Willis joins an ever-expanding cast. EW collared Rodriguez for a hard-boiled sit-down.

How'd you convince Miller to let you adapt it?

I said, I'll shoot the opening sequence [with] Josh Hartnett and Marley Shelton. You'll come down, hang out, be part of it. I'll cut it together, put the effects in. If you like what you see, we'll make a deal and keep going. If you don't, you've got a nice short film to show your friends.

Who's Bruce playing?

He's Hartigan, a cop who's retiring. He's got a bad ticker. He might not be 60 [as in the comic], but he'll be up there. We're aging him a little bit--because Bruce, of course, is still badass Bruce.

I've been a big fan of Bruce's since Moonlighting. I remember seeing a black-and-white film noir episode of him in Moonlighting. [He]'s got this great, hard-boiled black-and-white face. Bruce's section's black and white--in keeping with the comic. Some sections are color.

What happened with the DGA?

They said, "As you know, it's totally against the rules to have two directors." And I was like, it is? How was I supposed to know that? I see codirectors all the time. The Wachowski brothers, the Hughes brothers. It's a subjective ruling. There's nothing in the rule book that says it specifically--the rule book is very thick, by the way. I looked at it and it said you have to be "a bona fide team." Whatever the f--- that means.

So you left the Guild. Does that mean you can't make A Princess of Mars for Paramount?

I can still do that movie, because I was assigned to it before I left the DGA. I'll occupy that island of misfit directors like Quentin Tarantino and George Lucas. That's where I've been banished. [Laughs] It's actually really nice here.

Any regrets?

Every day, I just look over at Frank, and he's got this big smile on his face. And I think, God, I'm really glad I got to make this movie.

Harry Knowles
Harry Knowles Interview

Robert Rodriguez Bio on the Internet Movie Data Base Site:  See films worked on and 26 photos

Robert Rodriguez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, USA ~ 20 June 1968. At a very young age he showed an interest in cartooning and filmmaking and devoted all his time to this developing fascination. Finally it resulted for him in making real movies, and just first of them - Mariachi, El (1992) - made him the legend of independent ultra-low budget filmmaking. His further career is a sign for young filmmakers that even the most wild dream may come true if you are brave enough to follow your own path. Since then Robert has written, directed, and/or produced up to 10 cool movies, such as Desperado (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Faculty, The (1998) and Spy Kids (2001).


Rodriguez Talks Mars
Director addresses DGA snafu.

Mars Trouble Confirmed
IGN FilmForce's exclusive scoop proves true.

Rodriguez's Mars Mission Scrapped?
We've heard an interesting rumor.

There's Life on Mars!
But it's Harry Knowles ...

Mars Mission Confirmed
Rodriguez rescues Princess from development hell.

The Stax Report's Pulp Movie Update
The status of Doc Savage, Flash Gordon, and more!

Rodriguez Gets Carter?
Directing & casting buzz for John Carter of Mars.

Companies and Personnel Involved in the ERB Mars Project
  • Par-based Alphaville Prods., partnered with Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios
  • Producers will be Alphaville toppers Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks with Rodriguez and producing partner Elizabeth Avellan.
  • Scripted by Mark Protosevich ("The Cell"), the film may be called "A Princess of Mars" or "John Carter of Mars."
  • See the Mariachi Script

    Read 10 MINUTE FILM SCHOOL by Robert Rodriguez

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