Michael Chabon Tapped to Revise Screenplay: Coincidence or Foreshadowing?

If you were paying close attention during Michael Chabon’s public reading last month, you would have caught a reference to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel The Gods of Mars in the second story he read, “First First Father.” In the story, Chabon compared his experience to the unknowability of a nine color spectrum, which is experienced by the natives of Mars but cannot be visualized by humans. Chabon also commented on his experience with book-to-film adaptations.

If you remember this, then it may not surprise you to learn the following: Chabon is now working on a script for John Carter of Mars, a Disney-produced adaptation of Burroughs’ Martian series of novels.

A Chabon fansite has confirmed the news. Said Chabon, “I’ve been hired to do some revisions to an already strong script by Andrew Stanton and Mark Andrews. I wrote my original screenplay The Martian Agent back in 1995 because I wished I could do Burroughs’s Barsoom. So this is pretty much a dream come true for me.”

The film is being helmed by Andrew Stanton, the writer and director of PIXAR’s Finding Nemo and WALL-E. I’m glad to see a classic of science fiction being developed by the able minds of Chabon and Stanton.

Side Note: During his GW interview, Chabon expressed trepidation towards adaptations of his own work, but was open to the idea of adapting others’. His first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, recently enjoyed a limited release in the United States but has not been favorably reviewed. Chabon did not adapt the screenplay himself. According to Metacritic, the films averaged a score of 38 / 100 (generally negative) from major media outlets. Rotten Tomatoes is less kind with an average of 10% fresh, and users of IMDb are more enthusiastic with a 5.1 / 10. Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars.

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