Willem Dafoe talks about getting into soul of Tars Tarkas for John Carter

A film lavished with a blockbuster budget, John Carter is an action-adventure telling the story of war-weary, former military captain who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions.

Willem told us: “My character is Tars Tarkas, and he’s the leader of a race of Tharks – they’re original Martian people, they’re nine foot tall, they have four arms, they’re very warlike people.

“They’re a civilisation in decline, they’re nomadic, they’re sort of like scavengers. Above all they celebrate power, decisiveness, aggression, that’s what they value.

“I’m their leader. But I know our culture from an earlier time and I long for that time, so I’m very split between leading my people, but also expressing what’s in my heart. So I’m a person that struggles, I’m a creature that struggles.”

Of playing a character rendered using computer graphics, Willem explained: “Let’s take green screen out of it, because it gives the wrong idea. There’s very little green screen, believe it or not.

“For this we’re really filming the scenes. They’re filming them, they’re trying to keep an integrity in the scenes and really tell a story as best as we can.

“Then they have the ability to take that information – those gestures, that impulse, the shape of those scenes – sort of erase it, hold it and apply it to this different form.

“It’s an interesting process, because I feel like I’m the soul of the thing, but when you see the movie you’re not going to see me.”

He added: “But in a way, if I want to paint a rosier picture, it’s like an ideal thing for an actor, because an actor disappears into the character quite literally.


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