John Carter and the Trade Union of Mars

|

The long-awaited by children of all ages megablockbuster film based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian novels (many of them starring John Carter, stalwart confederate soldier transported to Mars basically by imagining himself there) is in peril, at least as announced, thanks to the machinations of trade unions here on Earth.

Robert Rodriguez, slated to helm the pic (yes, I've been reading too much Variety lately) quit the Director's Guild of America recently so that he could co-direct his current project, Sin City, based on Frank Miller's comic book, with Miller himself. The DGA doesn't permit co-directing credits.

Alas Paramount, the studio behind the John Carter of Mars flick, has a deal with DGA that it doesn't use non-union directors. Rodriguez has quit and rejoined DGA before, in order to take part in the four-director Four Rooms, so there is a possibility he might be able to rejoin in time to make the film, but union rules may end up hobbling ol' John Carter on the brink of the cultural megastardom so cruelly denied him all these decades in favor of his Burroughs created brother-in-fantasy Tarzan.

Considering that Rodriguez allegedly shot his breakthrough film El Mariachi using only change he found underneath washing machines and old Bazooka Joe wrappers, just imagine what he could have done with John Carter with Paramount's franchise-minded blockbuster dollars. O, cruel unions!

NEXT: Our Ba'athists

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Why would Jimmy Carter go to Mars?

    Why would anyone make a movie about Sim City?

    And most importantly, where are my glasses?

  2. It has always been thus.

  3. I am delighted to hear that they are making Sin City into a movie, especially if it’s got Miller’s involvement.

    Will it be in black & white?

  4. I am delighted to hear that they are making Sin City into a movie, especially if it’s got Miller’s involvement.

    Will it be in black & white?

  5. “Considering that Rodriguez allegedly shot his breakthrough film El Mariachi using only change he found underneath washing machines and old Bazooka Joe wrappers, just imagine what he could have done with John Carter with Paramount’s franchise-minded blockbuster dollars. O, cruel unions!”

    I remember after I saw El Mariachi, I thought basically the same thing. I assumed that Rodriguez would be able to make even better movies with bigger budgets. But all of his movies since then have basically been crap. Did you see “From Dusk Till Dawn”?

  6. rodriguez is awesome. sin city will be awesome. hopefully princess of mars will be awesome.

  7. “Considering that Rodriguez allegedly shot his breakthrough film El Mariachi using only change he found underneath washing machines and old Bazooka Joe wrappers”

    Actually, he funded the movie by selling his body for medical experimentation at a local pharmaceutical testing lab. Which to my mind, is an even better story.

    Unfortunately, bigger budgets do not make better movies. I think Desperado, the big budget remake of El Mariachi, traded the humor and quirkiness of the original for expensive action sequences.

    I am really coming to the conclusion that starving artist produce better work. Artist really seem to require some sort of external constraint to produce really good stuff.

  8. This story simply can’t be true. Everybody knows that unions only exist to protect working people like Mr. Rodriguez.

    It says so on the label. ;^]

  9. Shannon,

    It worked for Karen Carpenter.

  10. Jimmie Carter to mars? Where do I donate?

  11. “I am really coming to the conclusion that starving artist produce better work. Artist really seem to require some sort of external constraint to produce really good stuff.”

    Gee, thanks. I’m a professional musician. I appreciate that you want me to starve.

    It’s a myth. Artists need time and space and sustenance, which are all provided by money. I think this myth perpetrates because many artists only have one really good idea (like El Mariachi) and they blow that when they are young and don’t have any money yet.

    I’m not optimistic about the movie, so I can’t really care who directs it. All of my favorite childhood books got butchered by movies (think Starship Troopers), so I have no reason to think hollywood can do any better with John Carter.

  12. Historical footnote: the first full-length animated feature is generally considered to be Disney’s Snow White from 1937. However, Warner Brothers had earlier plans to make an animated film from Burroughs’ Mars books, in the splashy, pulpy John Coleman Burroughs style:

    http://www.erbzine.com/mag9/0934.html
    http://www.erbzine.com/mag3/0341.html
    http://www.erbzine.com/mag3/0350.html

  13. All I want to know is: who will play Dejah Thoris, and will she be wearing the same sorts of gauzy, minimalist costumes depicted on the covers of my ’50s-edition paperbacks?

  14. DGA doesn’t allow co-directors? Didn’t know that. So are the Farrellys and the Coens not DGA members either?

  15. The DGA does allow exceptions from time to time but according to their newsletter you basically have to have learned to direct together (http://www.dga.org/dga_members/agencyupdates/agency-update-spring-03a.pdf). Hence the Hughes Brothers, the Wachowsky Brothers, et al.

    According to IMDB, the Coen brothers have only officially co-directed their most recent release, The Ladykillers. Joel was the sole credited director on all of their previous films. The two of ’em also co-edit their films under the alias “Roderick Jaynes”.

  16. All of my favorite childhood books got butchered by movies (think Starship Troopers)

    What are you talking about? Everyone knows Heinlein was a fascist pig with arachnophobia and a bizarre ankle fetish. I was being true to his vision.

  17. As a veteran, there is at least one aspect of Star Ship Trooper I heartily approve of.

    Of course, I would accept lifetime exemption from income tax for all combat veterans.

  18. Dejah Thoris, daughter of Mors Kajak, Jeddak of Mars –

    “And the sight which met my eyes was that of a slender, girlish figure, similar in every detail to the earthly women of my past life. She did not see me at first, but just as she was disappearing through the portal of the building which was to be her prison she turned, and her eyes met mine. Her face was oval and beautiful in the extreme, her every feature was finely chiseled and exquisite, her eyes large and lustrous and her head surmounted by a mass of coal black, waving hair, caught loosely into a strange yet becoming coiffure. Her skin was of a light reddish copper color, against which the crimson glow of her cheeks and the ruby of her beautifully molded lips shone with a strangely enhancing effect.

    She was as destitute of clothes as the green Martians who accompanied her; indeed, save for her highly wrought ornaments she was entirely naked, nor could any apparel have enhanced the beauty of her perfect and symmetrical figure.”

    Hope they faithfully replicate all this.

  19. Screw Edgar Rice Burroughs, I’m waiting for the Pat Novak-For Hire movie.

  20. Aw, they’ll screw it up.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.