Andrew Stanton and Jan Austin

L.A. Based John Carter Sequel group members meet Andrew Stanton at Hero Complex screening of Wall-E

Andrew Stanton

Taking advantage of an opportunity to hear and meet with John Carter director Andrew Stanton, Los Angeles based members of the 8,400 member strong  John Carter Sequel Facebook Group trekked to the Hero Complex Film Festival on Sunday for a screening of Wall-E followed by a Q and A with Stanton hosted by the LA Times’ Geoff Boucher.   Representing the Facebook John Carter group were Daria Brooks and Madeline Gann, whose 26 theatrical viewings of John Carter are unmatched (as far as we  know)…..and Jan Austin, author and proponent of the John Carter Sequel Fan Petition.  Other group members on hand included Sparky Santos, Gary Hatch, Wendy Van Camp, Patrick Malloy, Jack LesCamela, Cindy Pattison. and Oscar Sanchez.

During the Q and A, the group heard Stanton field questions from Boucher on his experience at Pixar as an animator, writer,and director on films including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E.   For  Jack LesCamela, the biggest takeaway from the session was hearing Stanton talk about the Pixar concept of animation as something that, while children-friendly, is not meant to exclude adults: “”It’s something we’ve been saying since 1992: (At Pixar) we don’t make movies for children. We don’t make movies inappropriate for children –we’re not interested in that– but we make the movies for ourselves, and the age range is from 25 to 75.”

Wendy Van Camp said, “He spoke about Steve Jobs too. How the man was a genius and how he loved to work with him. Called Jobs a born leader.”  Van Camp added:  “You know, I have to say that I was very impressed with Andrew’s manner. He was very kind and friendly to everyone that was there, even when faced with a long line of fans. Genuine warmth.”

Sparky Santos was struck by Stanton’s openness to doing sequels of Pixar’s growing catalogue of animated hits:  “”If the STORY is there – we’ll do a sequel” — and the fact that development at Pixar can take years, longer than the average tenure of a studio chief in other studios.   “Studio heads come and go, but the creatives in Pixar continue on. It is a 30 year effort,” Stanton said, likening the process to  planting a tree and sticking around to see the tree grown and enjoying its benefits in the future.

Daria Brooks said,  “I was also impressed with Stanton’s remarks about not being “preachy” about causes or messages through his films, particularly with  Wall-E  and the subject of recycling, likely the basic message that everyone gets from that film. I suppose that if you look at it from a cinematic point of view, you can actually tie it to John Carter  in that you’re contrasting the barely habitable Mars of 150 years ago to an uninhabitable Earth of 700 years from now. If either makes the audience understand the folly of wasting resources, it wasn’t Stanton’s intention to beat the audience over the head with the idea. He wants to communicate a great story (and it’s OK if we learn something from it as well). I love directors who feel that way about their art.”

Facebook Group member Patrick Malloy said, “I found it interesting that he said that Studio Heads come and go, but that Pixar/the Pixar way of doing things will outlast any studio head. This made me feel encouraged that John Carter will in fact weather the storm, being that he is following the Pixar playbook. It is the Pixar way to see a project that is believed in through to fruition, regardless of the current whims of current heads of studios and executives. His project will outlast all of those particular hindrance, for he knows that he is in it for the long haul. I was also encouraged when he talked about how, without anyone being the wiser, he worked in secret upon Wall-E, so that he had a certain amount of the project ready to present before it was officially started. His reason was that if what he had was good, then he could proceed with it, while if it missed the mark, then he had not wasted any “time/money”, since the project was not officially started yet. I would imagine that he has done, or will do, the same with the John Carter sequel project. Lastly, it is interesting that Wall-E was chosen for the Hero Complex film festival, as it provided him a way to connect with fans and thus be visible. He is showing how positive and passionate he is as a filmmaker and creator. It seemed to me that he was making in a subtle nuanced manner the statement that ‘I am here, my spirits are not dampened in the least and I am in this for the long haul.'”

Or, as John Carter would put it: “I still live!”*

[*Thanks to group member Mike Carlock for pointing this out!]

12 comments

  • I would love to see a screening of John Carter at a later even. I think I would even make the long drive for it. Sounds like Stanton is a stand up guy. Would love to meet him.

  • Andrew Stanton is the best — my hero. With every viewing I found more in “John Carter” to love, and I’m DYING to see what he and the other writers have in mind for the rest of the trilogy!

  • I would highly recommend the Hero Complex Film Festival for any film lover. It was a great experience to watch such a wonderful and charming film as Wall-E and then to have the films director take the time to have a fireside style type of conversation was a treat. Of course I was there to show my support for John Carter and of Andrew Stanton which goes without saying, but it also was just really fun, insightful and cool to listen to one who is a master of the craft of storytelling and of film making. It was very hard not to “geek” out when having the privileged opportunity to meet him and shake his hand and just say a simple thank you for John Carter and Wall-E. I even was able to get my “Woola” trading card signed! I came away thinking of how many good and exceptional films would be made if more studios took the Pixar approach. What also impressed me was how gracious and available to all of the fans afterwards. There was a massive line of people and he took the time for autographs and pictures, while making each person feel welcome. So bravo to Mr. Stanton. If only more within Hollywood were of his caliber as a filmmaker and as a person.

  • Very good writeup of the event. It is times like this that I wish i lived within at least driving range of event like this. Stanton is a class act and I wish him the best. Thanks to all who went and supported Stanton and any efforts to get the JC sequel made. I would rather have a live action sequel, but an animated Pixar movie would be second best if all the main actors gave the voice over, etc. They could make the characters look just like the actors anyway.
    So, if no live-action, then go for the Pixar version.

    Dennis, Glasgow, KY

  • I know that this has been mentioned before, but maybe the sequel to “John Carter” could be an animated movie. Stanton has had much better luck with Pixar than with live action features, and it would seem appropriate that the original idea, so many years ago, of making an animated Mars movie, series of movies, or a TV miniseries, with about 5or 6 chapters devoted to each novel.

  • Sounds like an incredible time! I ache that I couldn’t be there! I really love Stanton and I’m not at all surprised to hear how open, warm and genuine he was. Those who work with him all say that about him. He’s not a big Hollywood fat-head! That’s another reason why I’m so supportive of John Carter and all the work he and everyone involved put into the project. The heart shows and the love for the original stories shows. Sure, he rearranged and changes some things, but the things that every other Hollywood filmmaker would have changed, he didn’t touch! Love that about the film and will do all I can to help our cause!

    All you LUCKY duckies who got to go to this event and meet him, I can’t tell you how happy these stories and photos make me! And Jan, WOO HOOLA!! I want to read that thank you letter he gave you!! 😀

  • JC deserves a sequel. Damn right. I’ve seen it 6 times and I’m so sick of the stupid critics who don’t’ get it. What’s up with that anyway? Stanton rocks.

  • Stanton’s a class act. He could have fired back at the idtiots who blamed the marketing on him and he didn’t. He could have fired back at Iger for his stupid comments but he didn’t. At some point he needs to get his side of the story out, but he’s taking the high road and that’s good.

  • I’m jealous — I’m going to have to move to LA. You guys have all the funnnnnnn! Seriously, it’s so cool that Andrew met you guys and was so nice. I’m waiting for my turn!
    DTK

  • Great summary of a terrific event, Michael! We had a blast and I hope that Andrew Stanton did as well. Geoff Boucher seemed genuine about screening “John Carter” at a later event–hopefully next year. We can promise to get the word out for that just as we did for the El Capitan!

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