Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mars Attacks! and Star Trek spinoffs: An interview with British film director Alex Cox

Once a promising young filmmaker who directed Repo Man (1984) and Sid & Nancy (1986), British cult film director Alex Cox has spent the past twenty years trying to rekindle his career. Cox recently visited Austin, Texas, and sat down with the city's free weekly newspaper Decider to discuss some of his projects that never came to fruition, such as the film Mars Attacks! (1996).
Alex Cox: I was the person who brought Mars Attacks! to the attention of the studio. They were bubblegum cards I had as a kid. I developed Mars Attacks! with Jon Davidson [sic], the producer of Robocop, for quite a while, but at some point my project got shut down and it was given to Tim Burton. It was a bit of a shame, but I think both the script that I wrote and the Tim Burton one suffered from not being enough like the bubblegum cards. I was very attracted to science fiction when I was a lad, but that sort of science fiction seems to have gone away now -- the hardcore Harry Harrison, Arthur C. Clarke kind of world seems to have disappeared. In the science fiction section of the bookstore now, it’s just Star Trek spinoff books and fantasy novels, flying-on-the-back-of-a-dragon stuff. That really mainstream, kind of macho science fiction of the ’50s and ’60s has just disappeared.
Pictured above is card #21 from the 1962 Topps Mars Attacks bubblegum card series. According to the blog Golden Age Comic Book Stories, the original artwork for card #1, done by Norman Saunders and Bob Powell, sold recently at auction for $70,000! Check out beautiful images of all 55 cards in the Mars Attacks series at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

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