Throughout the promotion, release, and aftermath of John Carter, the film’s star Taylor Kitsch has been a proud defender of the Andrew Stanton film that has drawn mixed reviews, yet spawned a motivated and activist fan base who has organized on Facebook and elsewhere, calling for a sequel.
Asked about the box officer performance of the film, Kitsch countered with: He said: “If you are going to pay attention to the materialistic part of it, you also need to pay attention to the fans. For them to have these Facebook pages and rally to get another one going, it’s quite flattering.”
Asked it he would like to do sequel, he said: “I would do ‘John Carter’ again tomorrow. I’m very proud of ‘John Carter’. Box office doesn’t validate me as a person, or as an actor. I’d love to go do ‘John Carter 2.’ I really would. It’s just s***ty I don’t get to work with the [‘John Carter’] family. It really was a special thing.” (Taylor Kitsch wants to do a John Carter sequel.)
And so it is that John Carter and Taylor Kitsch fans alike we shocked when DIY (www.thisisfadeddiy.co.uk) came out with an article under the headline: “Taylor Kitsch Nixes a John Carter Sequel“, with a prominent subheader quote: “I won’t be doing another CGI film unless it’s another “Battleship”.”
The body of the article is as follows:
While on press duties for this week’s Battleship, a remark from star Taylor Kitsch put the future of his other alien epic John Carter in doubt.
One could argue the disappointing box office for Andrew Stanton’s high budget adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels will prevent the planned sequels from being hatched, but there had been no official word from Disney. Kitsch took on the title role of Carter, a bitter and bereaved Civil War soldier who ends up on Mars, or Barsoom as the locals like to call it. There he finds himself embroiled in another civil war, fighting alongside brave princess Dejah (Lynn Collins) and the Thark Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe). The film opened last month to mixed reviews, but the passionate creative team had high hopes to film the rest of Burroughs’ Barsoom novels (this film was based on A Princess of Mars).
In an interview with ScreenGeek for Battleship, which reunites Kitsch with his Friday Night Lights creator Peter Berg, Kitsch was asked whether he enjoyed working on CGI-type productions. His reply:
“You have moments for sure, at times yeah, I never got into it to just work off to nothing, a pink X or a fan or something. But it’s worth it when you know you can trust these great directors to make it come to life. It’s definitely a learning experience for me. But at the end of the day, I want to work off another guy, another actor, that’s what I love doing. I’ll get back to that now, I won’t be doing another CGI film unless it’s another Battleship.
For fans of John Carter who had read the previous quotes — the combination of the “Taylor Kitsch Nixes John Carter Sequel” headline, and that quote, was enough to stir up a “Say it ain’t so!” frenzy.
Well, it ain’t so.
Read the actual wording of the quote. It talks about having to “just work off to nothing, a pin x or a fan or something.”
Yet John Carter director Andrew Stanton famously refused to do the, putting Willem Dafoe and Samantha Morton on stilts precisely so that Kitsch would not be playing to a “pink x or a fan or something”. If he had to to that, it was in other movies, not John Carter.
And it follow that having just defined a CGI film as one in which he had to do that — play to an “x” or a “fan” and not a person–he can’t be talking about John Carter when he says he won’t be doing another CGI film. Was the statement inartful, and would Kitsch like to have it back? No doubt he would. But his underlying meaning — particularly when taken in the context of all the other statements he has made — is clear.
Folks, keep this in mind too. Kitsch went from rarely being asked to do an interview, to giving literally hundreds if not thousands of interview on two non-stop global promotional tours that have been going on since mid February. The remarkable thing is not that he has spoken artlessly on this occasion, obscuring his meaning enough to allow for a bit of journalistic opportunism to generate a “gotcha” headline — it is that this hasn’t happened more often.
John Carter fans stay cool — Taylor has signed a deal for three pictures; he wants a sequel; he’s behind what you’re doing; he will be there if a sequel is greenlit. The preponderance of evidence is clear. This article is a minor blip on the radar screen and it does not mean what the headline tries to say it means.