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!