Today in my slog through the writing of John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood, I arrived at a moment that was personally a big one — the Hero Complex Screening of John Carter on February 27, 2012 in Burbank, with a Q and A with Andrew Stanton afterwards. I was at the screening, and this was the first time I saw John Carter. In researching it I came across this 10 minute video clip of Stanton describing his relationship to the material and how he came to be directing John Carter, and it struck me that out of all the interviews I’ve seen, this one provides one of the best opportunities to get what I would argue is a pretty strong sense of Stanton’s attitude toward Burroughs.
Now, in posting this, if patterns hold true it will provoke a snarling response from certain contrarians, which in turn will provoke fans to defend Stanton, which in turn will provoke contrarian charges of “See, I told you, you all think Stanton is a God and can do no wrong”, which will then provoke countercharges.
Can we just skip all that, since it’s something we’ve seen a hundred times? We get it.
My reason in posting this is that getting a true understanding of Stanton’s relationship to the material is important to what I’m trying to do with the book I’m writing, and this clip struck me as one which may help. I’m hoping for even the naysayers to make a sincere attempt to listen to this clip, watch Stanton, and see if there are any true insights, and react not over-the-top expressions of scorn and disdain that we’ve heard a hundred times, but rather with something more like: “Okay, this didn’t change my view, but I found this particular bit interesting as it helped clarify [insert what it clarifies]”, or even: “See, when he says [insert statement] here’s what it tells me: [explain…….]
Readers here know that I’m on record that although he did a number of things I would have done differently, overall I fall into the camp of “pleased we got what we got” and grateful for this adaptation rather than what we would have gotten had some of the other screenplays that were in development ended up on the screen. I acknowledge that film-makers will be film-makers — they will personalize the adaptation in ways that may not suit me as a devotee of the novels.
Are there any additional insights into Stanton’s creative process or his relationship to the material that this clip helps clarify? Bashers, you can certainly go ahead and bash but try to actually watch the interview before you do — invest 10 minutes, watch his body language, watch where he gets enthusiastic and where he reveals things that may add a new dimension to your understanding of what happens — and share your insights. If you can do so without going into “rant” or “vent” mode, it will be appreciated.