Andrew Stanton helming Disney's fantasy epic

Walt Disney Pictures has set “Wolverine” stars Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins to star in “John Carter of Mars,” a fantasy epic that marks the live-action directorial debut of “Wall-E” helmer Andrew Stanton.

Kitsch, a member of the “Friday Night Lights” ensemble who made his screen breakthrough as Gambit in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” will play the title character, a damaged Civil War veteran who finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars, where his involvements with warring races of the dying planet lead him to rediscover his humanity.

Collins will play Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Mars. Collins worked with Kitsch in “Wolverine,” playing Kayla Silverfox. She also co-stars in HBO’s vampire drama “True Blood.”

Kitsch just wrapped the lead in “The Bang Bang Club,” an adaptation of a book about four South African photographer friends who risked their lives to capture iconic war images during the final days of apartheid. Kitsch plays group leader Kevin Carter.

“Mars” is based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels that began with “A Princess of Mars,” which was first published as a novel in 1911.

Pic will begin filming early next year. Jim Morris and Colin Wilson are producing. Stanton wrote the script with Mark Andrews.

WME reps both Kitsch and Collins, with Kitsch managed by Untitled, and Collins by 3 Arts.

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