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Talking pictures: Projects in ‘WALL*E’ director’s future are exciting

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Andrew Stanton is working on "John Carter of Mars," based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels.

Andrew Stanton is working on “John Carter of Mars,” based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

As much as I love "Finding Nemo" (2003) and loved the new movie "WALL*E" even more, it's the things in Andrew Stanton's future that really have me excited.

A Pixar executive with a good track record, Stanton also co-directed "A Bug's Life" (1998) and co-wrote "Monsters, Inc." (1998) and "Toy Story 2" (1999).

And his next feature will be "John Carter of Mars," a long-in-development fantasy that's based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. Have I mentioned that I'm a big fan of those books?

In a recent interview in Salt Lake City Stanton pooh-poohed my suggested casting of Hugh Jackman as the lead. (Stanton said Jackman is "too old," apparently forgetting the character is supposed to be a Civil War veteran.)

But I was pretty intrigued by his talk about digitally animated versions of Burroughs' green-skinned, multi-armed Martians, or Tharks.

Also, Stanton chuckled when I suggested Michael Clarke Duncan as the body model — or at least the voice of Carter's Martian brother-in-arms Tars Tarkas.

Unfortunately, it will be at least four years until we get to see the movie. Until then, here are a couple more, announced movie projects that are now on my radar:

An as-yet untitled Bob Marley documentary.

Originally this was supposed to be directed by Martin Scorsese, but it's now in the hands of Jonathan Demme, whose Talking Heads concert film "Stop Making Sense" is a classic.

"The Avengers," the superhero team-up movie that's been hinted at in both this summer's "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk."

However, we still have to wait for the cinematic introductions of Captain America and Thor. They're expected to be members of the team.

And possibly, so is Ant-Man. There's also a movie about that character in the works, to be directed by Edgar Wright, of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" fame.

"The Yiddish Policemen's Union," based on the Michael Chabon best-seller.

It now looks like the movie version of Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" might not get made.

But his follow-up has been optioned for a movie. And the Coen brothers are apparently interested in adapting it.

· · · · ·

I'm famous now. sort of ...

Last night's Ogden Arts Festival — well, a "Best of Foursite" film event that was part of it — featured the debut of "The Up Beat," a locally produced documentary feature about ska, a close musical cousin of reggae.

Filmmaker Brandon Smith interviewed veteran musician Frederick "Toots" Hibbert and Doug "Buster Bloodvessel" Trendle, as well as local ska acts Swim Herschel Swim and Stretch Armstrong.

He also interviewed me about my experiences about being ska music fan and writer, and about being the band manager for Logan's Model Citizen, as well as a small-time concert promoter (I helped run shows at the Whittier Center in Logan and at Club DV8).

"The Up Beat" will make its Salt Lake City premiere July 23 at the Tower Theatre, 876 E. 900 South. That screening will also include a performance by local ska act Fews & Two.

For more information about "The Up Beat," browse www.theupbeatmovie.com.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com