Last spring, Walt Disney Studios released John Carter, a sci-fi film helmed by Pixar director Andrew Stanton that went on to become one of Hollywood’s most high-profile flops in recent history. This week, Stanton reflected on his experience with the film in his first interview since the film’s release.
The interview, conducted by the LA Times, looks back on the film’s creation and some of the challenges that Stanton faced in transitioning from animation to live-action directing, such as the high cost and negative stigma attached to reshoots in live action film, which Stanton saw as necessary from his experience with animation. However, Stanton says he was surprised by the amount of freedom that Disney gave him, commenting, “I was left alone from Day One to the last day.”
When John Carter was released in theaters, a large criticism among the movie’s supporters was the way Carter had been marketed, with trailers and posters revealing little about the film’s plot and Disney changing the title from its original name John Carter of Mars. About the film’s marketing, Stanton said:
“We didn’t always agree on which direction to take every step of the way, but there was never serious contention. The truth was everyone tried their very best to crack how to sell what we had, but the answer proved elusive.”
In his career at Pixar Animation Studios, on the other hand, Stanton has found great success, earning two Oscars for his work as the director of Finding Nemo and Wall-E, and serving as writer or producer on such other hits as Monsters, Inc., the Toy Story trilogy, and Up. With this in mind, Stanton reflected upon John Carter‘s disappointing reception, commenting on the lesson he had learned from the experience:
“The ennui you have after a huge success when it’s all over is exactly the same as the ennui you have when it’s a bomb,” Stanton said. “You loved the doing. You’ve spent every waking moment thinking about its birth, worrying about it, raising it. It’s an empty nest syndrome. Whether your kid went to college or went to jail, it’s an empty nest.”
In addition, Stanton spoke a little bit about what’s coming next for him. We let you know earlier this summer about some speculation that a sequel to Finding Nemo may be in the works, and while nothing has been officially confirmed yet by Disney, the article states that the sequel is, in fact, Stanton’s next project. About his work on the sequel, Stanton says:
“What was immediately on the list was writing a second ‘Carter’ movie. When that went away, everything slid up. I know I’ll be accused by more sarcastic people that [Finding Nemo 2] is a reaction to ‘Carter’ not doing well, but only in its timing, but not in its conceit.”
You can read the full interview here.