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Utah Travel Headlines

Thursday, March 08, 2012

John Carter's Mars In Actually Southern Utah

An interesting Disney movie opens nationwide tomorrow. It is based on an old science-fiction tale about a Civil War veteran who gets caught up in a war on Mars, and it is already being called a major blockbuster.

So, if you are a Hollywood producer and you want to shoot on location on Mars, where do you go?

Southern Utah, of course. The otherworldly rock formations and sand dunes in southern Utah have filled in for alien landscapes in many big-budget moves.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article describing the Utah setting for the new John Carter move. Below are excerpts.

‘John Carter’ production finds Mars vistas in Utah landscape

Location scouts looked all over — Arizona and New Mexico, and even Argentina and Romania — to find Martian settings. Then they hit upon Utah.

The "John Carter" crew — some 275 strong, according to Collins and Moore — found Burroughs’ Martian deserts around Big Water, northwest of Glen Canyon Dam and near Kanab. They turned the slot canyons of Lake Powell into the mystical River Iss. And for an Old West horse chase, before Carter goes to Mars, a landscape near Moab fit the bill.

Stanton was familiar with Utah’s history as a setting for science-fiction movies. While filming on Lake Powell, he spotted a rock formation that was the exact spot where Charlton Heston shot the opening scene of the 1968 classic "Planet of the Apes." "There was at least half a day spent geeking out over that," Collins said.

Another draw for filmmakers, according to producer Jim Morris, was the number of top-quality film-crew members. The only problem for the "John Carter" production was that some of the best ones were already employed, filming Danny Boyle’s "127 Hours," the story of climber Aron Ralston’s survival in a Utah slot canyon, on location and in a Salt Lake City soundstage.

"Any of the scenes where I look like I’m boiling hot and about to pass out — they were shot in Utah," said Dominic West, who plays Sab Than, leader of the villainous Zodangans. "A lot of the work’s done for you if you’re on location. … You look like you’re on Mars. There’s no acting required, really."


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