The cast is filling out for John Carter of Mars, Disney's upcoming live-action version of Edgar Rice Burroughs' fantasy adventure books, with Thomas Haden Church, James Purefoy and Mark Strong joining Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins.
The casting reveals a bit about the movie's plot, which would appear to combine elements of Burroughs' first Barsoom book, A Princess of Mars; the second, The Gods of Mars; and the third, The Warlord of Mars.
The new additions, reported in The Hollywood Reporter, have us a little less skeptical about the movie, which marks the live-action debut of Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E) as a director and was originally intended to be Pixar's first live-action movie.
Here's how the Reporter played it:
Church plays Tal Hajus, an ambitious and vicious Thark warrior who is biding his time to be a ruler.
Purefoy plays Kantos Kan, the captain of the Xavarian, the kingdom of Helium's grand warship [from Gods]. Strong is Matai Shang, the ruler of the Thems with godlike status [from Warlord].
Also in the movie are Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Dominic West, and Polly Walker.
If all the characters are in the movie, it means that events and action from the three books will be compressed into one story.
As for the actors themselves, we loved Church in Sideways and even as Sandman in Sam Raimi's otherwise misbegotten Spider-Man 3, although as a giant four-armed green Barsoom warrior, Church may be playing more of a voice-over role.
Purefoy impressed in HBO's Rome as Mark Antony. Purefoy's fellow Brit Strong is less well known but is expected to make an impression in the upcoming Kick-Ass.
The new cast members are sure to bolster the lightweight Kitsch (the Friday Night Lights star who had a brief turn as Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Collins (Wolverine's Silver Fox).