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Willem Dafoe talks about his role in John Carter

Says the film will appeal to a broad audience

Willem Dafoe is excited about his latest role, an alien in Disney’s 3D sci-fi fantasy film, John Carter. The film is based on the novel “Princess of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter tells the story of a former Confederate captain named John Carter who is transported to Mars. Dafoe plays Tars Tarkas, a leader of an alien race.

“My character, Tars Tarkas, is the head of a warrior tribe called the Tharks,” Willam Dafoe explained. “They are very tall, green-skinned Martians with four arms and tusks. There’s a feeling that their culture is in decline; they were once a great society and now they’ve been reduced to being a nomadic, warlike society, moving from place to place to survive. There’s a feeling of sadness and lost empire to them and it very much informs who Tars Tarkas is. The Thark culture is brutal, primitive and warrior-like, but it hasn’t always been. Tars remembers a more refined, civilized past. He secretly yearns for those days and for a more humane society. He knows there’s got to be a better way than how they’re surviving now.”

The film was a challenging one for Willem Dafoe. “I got a little help [in the height department],” he told OnTheRedCarpet.com at the film’s Hollywood premiere. “I wore stilts because I’m a motion-capture character but Andrew [Stanton] was very insistent on shooting the scene so that the animators could animate too. He wanted the scenes to be realized in the shooting, so that was an interesting process.”

Willem Dafoe thinks the film will appeal to a broad audience, calling it “complex” and “detailed.” “I hope [audiences] enjoy it,” he said at the premiere. “It’s dense enough and it’s got a lot of interesting themes in it, so I think different people are going to enjoy it for different things. That’s always suspicious when you hear that, but when I see the movie, I think ‘Wow, this has roots, this is not superficial, this addresses certain issues and has some interesting themes.

John Carter also stars Taylor Kitsch, Samantha Morton, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Dominic West and Bryan Cranston. The film is scheduled to be released March 9.

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