With John Carter tied up by Disney and Tarzan also spoken for at the moment, one question that comes to mind frequently is, what other Edgar Rice Burroughs property would be the best choice for screen adaptation. The obvious answer is Carson of Venus. It’s another interplanetary series;lots of opportunity for creature work and other spectacular special effects.
Yet whenever the subject comes up among Burroughs faithful, almost inevitably there is a certain “Yeah, but I never really liked the Venus series all that much”. Why is that?
Surely the Venus series was written later, when Burroughs was entering the “potboiler” stage. Pirates of Venus, the first in the series, came out in 1932. In the Tarzan series, this was a time when Burroughs was up to later titles like “Tarzan and the Leopard Men” and “Tarzan and the City Gold”, and on the Barsoom side, he had just finished “A Fighting Man of Mars” and so was up to his sixth book in the series.
Those who aren’t in love with the Venus books often point to Carson being “wrong-way Carson” (he was trying to pay a visit on Barsoom but forgot to calculate for the moon’s gravitation and ends up getting slung toward Venus, courtesy of the moon’s gravity), and the lack of a coherent society on Venus.
My thought — and perhaps this is just being overly optimistic — is that Carson would be a very appealing hero to Hollywood. He’s quite a bit more idiosyncratic than other Burroughs heroes, and I would think Hollywood in general, and actors in particular, would find that to be a good thing. He is a singleminded, slightly off-beat millionaire hero who sets out to do extraordinary things and sometimes gets unintended results. He’s described as being blonde and I can’t help but think of a young Richard Branson when I think of him, and wouldn’t that be a terrific character?
If it were made today …. who would play Carson? Duare? And what director would be able to take this property and do something great with it?
And could it be made for the right price? (i.e. $150m instead of $250m?) How?
Our pal, artist/blogger Jeff Doten worked on the Angelic Pictures Pirates of Venus project that never came to fruition. Check out his cool Venus poster and links to his stuff:
Erbzine has great pages on Carson of Venus — here’s one: http://www.erbzine.com/mag7/0750.html. Bill Hillman, if you’re out there, send us some more good links, pls!