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Willem Dafoe talks about his 'John Carter' stilt transformation (Video)

03/07/2012 by Olivia Allin

Willem Dafoe might look a bit different than usual, portraying a giant barbarian in "John Carter," but the actor didn't seem to mind the height increase.

"I got a little help [in the height department]," Dafoe 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."

Based on the first novel "Princess of Mars" in the 11-volume book series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, "John Carter" tells the story of a former Confederate captain named John Cater (Taylor Kitsch) who is transported to Mars. Willem Dafoe plays Tars Tarkas, a leader of an alien race and Lynn Collins plays Princess Dejah, Carter's love interest. The book series was, in part, the inspiration for "Star Wars."

The film also stars Samantha Morton, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Dominic West and Bryan Cranston.

"I hope [audiences] enjoy it," Dafoe told OnTheRedCarpet.com and other news outlets 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" was the live-action debut of director and writer Andrew Stanton, who is the mastermind behind Pixar's "WALL-E" and "Finding Nemo." The action film is set to hit theaters in 2D, Digital 3D and IMAX 3D.

Dafoe told OnTheRedCarpet.com at the D23 Disney Expo in August that he spent the entire movie on stilts and the physical task was the key in finding the physical expression of his character.

Dafoe is best known for his roles in films like "Spider-Man," "The Boondock Saints," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Platoon" and "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou." He was also the voice of Gill in Stanton's "Finding Nemo."

Kitsch is best known for his role as Tim Riggins on the hugely popular television series "Friday Night Lights."

Disney is the parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com.

"John Carter" is slated for release on March 9, 2012. Watch the trailer below.

Additional reporting by Tony Cabrera, special correspondent of KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).

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