Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series know that Disney's adaptation started shooting in London last week. While we know it has a fantastic cast and a Barsoom boot camp, the actual story details (beyond John Carter goes to Mars and falls for a beautiful Princess, that is) have been kept under wraps. The character list leads me to believe they're combining a few books into one movie, but that's pure speculation.

But Disney released an official statement today that announced some intriguing additions to the cast and crew, and lets one tiny story detail slip. Ciaran Hinds (Andrew Stanton must be a big fan of Rome!) has been added in an unknown part, and Disney proto-talent Daryl Sabara has been cast as Edgar Rice Burroughs. John Carter plans to go a little meta, and have Carter narrating his epic adventure to his teenage nephew, who grows up to become the famous pulp author who never gives his uncle any royalties.

It's a little cheesy, but I can see why they're sticking with a narrator. The books are all in first person*, and Carter gets very detail oriented. While plenty of it can be seen instead of described, it might help some of the complicated Martian versus Martian stuff go down easier with audiences. Plus, it gives it that "the true story behind the legend" backdrop that's so popular nowadays (and that's a big part of the book), but without being boringly real world. (I'm looking at you, Troy and King Arthur.)

For those who favor behind-the-camera news, you'll be delighted to know that John Carter has lured in Nathan Crowley, production designer on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and Star Trek cinematographer Daniel Mindel. So it'll look pretty and hopefully be the kind of planetary adventure that Avatar was just an appetizer for.

*ETA A John Carter reader with a better memory reminded me the "true story" angle is part of the book. My bad.

ETA: As is Edgar Rice Burroughs. Maybe I should try some of this ginkgo biloba in addition to banging myself on the head with the book.