We’ve known for awhile that Willem Dafoe had been cast in Andrew Stanton’s John Carter of Mars, but the actor recently spoke with AICN and MTV and revealed some interesting details about his character and the project.
John Carter of Mars is currently scheduled to start shooting next January, so Dafoe doesn’t know much about it yet, but he is “very excited” and he has “seen renderings” of his character.
Dafoe is playing Tars Tarkas, a leader of the Thark race who knows that the only way his people can survive is if they turn away from war. For those unfamiliar with the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels that this movie is based on (and for those curious about what Stanton is planning on doing), here’s how Dafoe explains what he looks like.
I’ve seen a lot of the designs and things, and I’ve just started to do prep work now… But I’m starting doing [CGI] scans and things like that, but it’s going to be a real full-on… Well, I’m nine feet tall with four arms, but, just from the scheduling, I’m going to do the stuff.
Don’t forget that Tarkas is a green skinned alien as well. For those of you confused, John Carter of Mars is about a Civil War soldier (played by Taylor Kitsch) who is transported to the red planet where warring races of aliens vie for control and he gets mixed up in things (and falls in love with a martin princess, of course). Although Dafoe’s character is a member of the Tharks, a brutal and mirthless race of green martins, Tars possesses a sense of compassion and empathy uncharacteristic of his race. So, importantly, he’ll need to be able to convey those emotions even though he’ll be a green martian.
“Also, they’ll use my face, but they’ll enhance it in a way–both after and before–in a way that I may not be recognizable. But, I’m good with that. It’s particularly cool, because he’s a creature, but he’s got this huge range of character. And, he does cool things in the movies.”
In the interview with AICN, Dafoe he was asked if had worked out a voice for the character and Dafoe said,
“No, but there’s a whole period where we’re going to work with the language and the movement, and find out how I’m going to be nine feet tall, and all that stuff… like, a long period of time where we’re going to go to Thark school, you know what I mean? We’re going to create our culture. So, it’s going to be very cool. These guys know how to do this, and they’ve got great people. And, the designs and things are just mind-blowing.”