Whoa. Tom Cruise was nearly John Carter of Mars in the '80s?

As fans likely know, the upcoming John Carter film wasn't the first attempt to bring Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved Barsoom book series to the big screen. Before Disney finally got this version off the ground, everyone from Robert Rodriguez to George R.R. Martin had taken a shot at the property over the years.

But guess who else was in the mix a few decades ago? In an interview with Slashfilm, producer Jim Morris spilled some details on an aborted late-'80s effort that would have starred Tom Cruise, with Die Hard director John McTiernan in the director's chair.

"I was at ILM at the time when I did it and we were trying to do it. I mention that because, at the time, we were kind of scratching our heads," Morris said. "They came in with this script that had Tharks—and it was very different from our script—but had all of the same characters and so forth."

So what went wrong? The filmmakers were smart enough to realize that computer graphics hadn't advanced far enough to do the story justice.

"[C]omputer graphics really had not gotten to a point where you could pull this kind of thing off. So it needed to be a mixture of prosthetics and suits and stop motion and things like that," Morris said. "It just seemed like way too big to pull off and I think that it's taken a long time, because it's only been in the last maybe six or eight years that you could kind of make this movie on any sort of believable level."

What do you think? Would you have rather seen an established star like Cruise in the title role, or do you prefer a relative unknown like Taylor Kitsch?

(via Slashfilm).

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