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Front Page » March 20, 2012 » Emery County News » Movie filmed in Emery County: John Carter debuts
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Movie filmed in Emery County: John Carter debuts

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Where do you go to film a movie about Mars? Why you come to Emery County. John Carter (of Mars) appeared in theatres across the state on March 9. Emery County Economic Development Director Michael McCandless was instrumental in leading the Disney/Pixar filmers to Emery County. Emery County was the site in 2009 for filming of an installment of the Star Trek movie series. The filming for John Carter took place near Factory Butte. There were 200 people on site filming with 75-100 vehicles. Some locals were used in the film as extras. Film crews stayed in Green River boosting the local economy. The film is action, adventure, fantasy and science fiction all rolled into one.

McCandless described the area where the film was shot and tells why it's perfect for this type of movie scenery AKA Mars scape. McCandless said of the geology in the area, "The Factory Butte, and Swing Arm City sites are all located on Mancos Shale and it is this shale that makes the area suitable for the 'Mars' environment. The shale was an ancient sea bed and as a result, the remaining soil is grey, alkaline and not particularly fertile. The ancient 'Mancos Sea' as it is known, covered much of what is now Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. The Mancos Shale does have fossils including shark teeth, clams and ammonoids (relatives of the modern Nautilus). The Big Water site is located on the Tropic Shale, an associated marine layer that is very similar to the Mancos. Because of the dry climate and infertile soils, plant life in the area is limited. However, some key species that have adapted to the environment and now live only in this area. In particular, three species of rare cactus are present in surrounding areas. Pediocactus despainii, San Rafael cactus and Pediocactus winkleri, commonly known as Winkler's cactus and Sclerocactus wrightiae, commonly known as Wrights Fishhook cactus are very small cactus varieties that are difficult to see and therefore can be easily destroyed. These species are only indiginous to the Central and Eastern parts of Utah and are listed as threatened or endangered.

"The primary site that John Carter filmed on near Factory Butte is actually in the footprint of a small coal strip mine. The mine was active in the 1960s and 1970s, but was never a large mine. The Swing Arm City site is a very important Off Highway Vehicle area and is one of the few areas where open, cross country travel for OHV use is allowed in the region. This, combined with the areas close proximity to Capitol Reef National Park (15 miles), Goblin Valley State Park (20 miles) and Lake Powell (60 Miles) makes this a cross road for recreational use.

"The Muddy Creek area, was filmed by air, and is part of the BLM's Wilderness Study Area program. The area historically was dotted with access roads for Uranium Development during the 50s and 60s. Virtually all of the roads in the area were created for either coal or uranium," McCandless said.

The movie is based on the character John Carter, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Martian series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in the time-honored tradition of other heroes (such as Lawrence of Arabia). The character is an enduring one and has appeared in various media following his 1912 serialized debut.

John Carter first appeared in "A Princess of Mars," the first Burroughs novel set on the fictionalized version of Mars that the author dubbed "Barsoom." Written between July and Sept. 28, 1911, it was serialized as "Under the Moons of Mars" in the February to July 1912 issues of the magazine All-Story and first published in book form in October 1917.

Carter reappeared in subsequent volumes of the series, most prominently in the second, "The Gods of Mars" (1918), the third, "The Warlord of Mars" (1919), the eighth, "Swords of Mars" (1936), the 10th, "Llana of Gathol" (1948), and the eleventh, "John Carter of Mars" (1964). John Carter is also a major secondary character in the fourth volume, "Thuvia, Maid of Mars" (1920), and the ninth, "Synthetic Men of Mars" (1940).

Carter stands 6'2" tall and has close-cropped black hair and steel-gray eyes. Burroughs portrays him as an immortal being. In the opening pages of "A Princess of Mars", the author reveals to the reader that Carter can remember no childhood, having always been a man of about 30 years old. Many generations of families referred to him as "Uncle Jack," but he always lived to see all the members of the families grow old and die, while he remained young.

His character and courtesy exemplify the ideals of the antebellum South. A Virginian, he served as a captain in the American Civil War on the side of the Confederacy. He strikes it rich by finding gold in Arizona after the end of hostilities. While hiding from Apaches in a cave, he seemingly dies, and leaving his inanimate body behind, is mysteriously transported by a form of astral projection to the planet Mars, where he finds himself re-embodied in a form identical to his earthly one. Accustomed to the greater gravity of Earth, he is much stronger than the natives of Mars.

On Mars, which its natives call Barsoom, Carter encounters both formidable alien creatures resembling the beasts of ancient myth and various humanoids and finds his true calling in life as a warrior-savior of the planet's inhabitants. He wins the hand of Martian princess Dejah Thoris of Helium, but ultimately sacrifices himself to save Barsoom. Awakening again after this second death he finds he has been miraculously transported back to Earth, and his original body. Carter then earns great wealth as a result of a find of a rich vein of gold ore. Unable to return to Mars, he spends his last years in a small cottage on the Hudson River in New York, where he once more dies on March 4, 1866.

Again, Carter's apparent demise is not a true death; rather, he is restored to Barsoom, where after more adventures he rises to the position of Warlord of Mars. He afterwards returns to Earth on a number of occasions to relate his adventures to his nephew (Burroughs), revealing that he has mastered the process of astral travel between the two worlds. During his adventures on Mars his earthly body reposes in a special tomb that can only be opened from the inside.

John Carter and Dejah Thoris become the parents of a son, Carthoris, and daughter, Tara. Carthoris plays a secondary role in "The Gods of Mars" and "The Warlord of Mars," and is the protagonist of "Thuvia, Maid of Mars." Tara is the heroine of "The Chessmen of Mars" (1922), and the mother of Carter's granddaughter Llana, heroine of "Llana of Gathol."

John Carter has appeared multiple times in other comics. He's appeared in various Big Little Books of the 1930s and 1940s, and a number of short-lived comic strips and comic books. Dell Comics released three issues of "John Carter of Mars" under its Four Color Comics banner. The issue numbers are 375, 437, and 488 and were released in 1952-1953. He has appeared in various comic book adaptations of the Martian stories, notably the "John Carter of Mars" feature that ran in DC Comics' "Tarzan and Weird Worlds" comics from 1972-1973, and Marvel Comics' "John Carter, Warlord of Mars" from 1977-1979. He also appeared, together with Tarzan, in a 1994-1995 storyline in the Tarzan Sunday comic strip,[1] and in "Tarzan/John Carter: Warlords of Mars," a 1996 four-issue mini-series from Dark Horse Comics.

John Carter was played by Antonio Sabato Jr. in the 2009 movie "Princess of Mars," which also starred Traci Lords as Princess Dejah Thoris.

In the currently released film "John Carter," he will be played by Taylor Kitsch, with the role of Dejah Thoris to be played by Lynn Collins. Information on John Carter of Mars from Wikipedia.

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March 20, 2012
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