The most underrated film of 2012 had to be Disney’s John Carter (which I happened to have a small part in). A year after the film’s general release, I finally got round to opening my Blu-Ray edition the other night and decided to share some stills with you.
Directed by Andrew Stanton (A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo and WALL-E), John Carter was based on the Edgar Rice Burrough‘s novel, A Princess of Mars, which tells the story of John Carter, a confederate of the American Civil War who is mysteriously transported to Barsoom (Mars), where he meets and falls in love with Dejah Thoris, the Princess of the Helium tribe.
The film starred a popular cast including Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins (both of X-Men fame) as the two leads, Dominic West (The Wire), James Purefoy (currently starring in The Following), William Dafoe (Spiderman) and Mark Strong (he is in everything but always looks different), all of whom were nothing but pleasant during production.
After being cast as one of Dejah’s Handmaidens, I spent 5 months filming on and off at Longcross studios, but was unlucky enough to miss out on further filming in Utah as by then, my character had been killed off!
As the inhabitants of Mars were meant to be red-skinned with tattoos all over their body, I had to undergo a drastic physical transformation for the role. Every 2 weeks I was given a DEEP all-over St Tropez spray tan (think Ross from Friends), and had red swirly transfer tattoos glued onto my arms, legs, feet, back, stomach and chest. I was allowed to scrub the one off my face at the end of each filming day.
The problem with a fake spray tan is that it gets progressively darker as time passes. So some days, I would get to the studios in the morning, as pale as a ghost, and travel back home on the train getting more and more orange with every stop.
I looked like a cross between a member of Hell’s Angels and an orange smurf.
The cast spent almost 4 hours in hair and make-up every morning (bear in mind that our call time was usually 5:30am so the make-up artists had to work wonders), and we were told to ease up on the nightly wash in case the tan came off. Fat chance.
Although incredibly tiring, the experience was an exciting one and the atmosphere on set was always positive and enthusiastic (although at times the temperature was freezing!). Nothing is worse when filming than working with a grumpy/rude crew, cast or director for days on end as you have to spend so much time with each other!
Similar in theme to Avatar, but not taking itself as seriously, John Carter is an epic, adventurous, sci-fi blockbuster that succeeds in entertaining its audience without burdening them with an environmental guilt trip. If you are looking for feel-good fun on an epic scale, then this is your movie. It’s definitely mine!