The whole of this Andrew Stanton article, obtained during last month's visit to Pixar, is up at What Culture.
You might not know it to look at him, but Andrew Stanton – co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and the director of the beloved Wall-E and Finding Nemo – is a self-described member of a “secret society” for years operating “under the radar”. His co-screenwriter, the award-winning novelist Michael Chabon, is also a member. As are approximately “one in every twenty” people that he meets, including (apparently) the Governor of Utah. They are all obsessive fans of the “John Carter” novels, an obscured but apparently culturally significant series of books which have quietly been the inspiration for just about every major work of science-fiction and fantasy over the last hundred years, with an influence that can be seen in everything from Superman to Star Wars to Avatar, and which Stanton is now busily adapting into a major live-action feature film for Disney.
Written almost a century ago by Edgar Rice Burroughs, probably best known as the author of the Tarzan novels, the first John Carter book, A Princess of Mars, is the story of an American Confederate veteran named John Carter who finds himself improbably transported to the Red Planet where he becomes a great hero. It was a concept that enthralled 12 year-old future filmmaker Stanton when he encountered it, then courtesy of a 1977 adaptation from Marvel Comics, with its depiction of a brave hero battling strange alien creatures on an exotic planet. ”As a kid it pushed a lot of buttons in a primal way, especially for a boy,” recalls the director, who also enjoyed the hero’s turbulent romance with the titular princess: “I’ve always been a sucker for unrequited love, as I’m sure Wall-E shows.”