'Wolverine's' Taylor Kitsch is 'John Carter of Mars'


"Friday Night Lights" and "Wolverine" star Taylor Kitsch is stepping up to his first lead role in a movie, playing the title character in "John Carter of Mars."Kitsch will reunite with his "Wolverine" co-star, Lynn Collins, for the Disney-produced movie, the showbiz trades report. Andrew Stanton, who directed the Pixar movies "A Bug's Life," "Finding Nemo" and "WALL-E," will make his live-action directorial debut with the movie.

"John Carter" is based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs books about a Civil War veteran (Kitsch) who's somehow transported to Mars and becomes involves in another war, between different races on the planet. Collins will play Dejah Thoris, a princess of one of Mars' kingdoms.

Kitsch has played Tim Riggins for the past three seasons on "Friday Night Lights"; Riggins graduated at the end of last season, but Kitsch has said he'll appear at some point during the show's coming season, which debuts on DirecTV in the fall and on NBC in mid-2010. He also played Gambit in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which has made $175 million at the box office so far.

In addition to "Wolverine," Collins had a recurring part on the first season of "True Blood" and has appeared in the movies "The Number 23," "The Lake House" and "13 Going on 30."

Stanton and Mark Andrews co-wrote the "John Carter" script. Production is slated to begin early next year.

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