Ear to the ground:

"Yours is the only crossword I can do in pen."


– An avid Durango Telegraph reader commenting on our weekly puzzle challenge


A princess in Moab

Hollywood is taking up residence in nearby Moab, Utah. Walt Disney Studios has announced that it will begin the upcoming film production of “A Princess of Mars” in Southeast Utah. The film will be the largest budget movie ever filmed in the Beehive State.

Ironically, “A Princess of Mars” nearly selected the greater Durango area for the production. Last summer, Disney’s scouts were probing Southwest Colorado for prospects. While the topography was appealing, the dollar signs were not, according to a report in the Denver Post. The paper noted that Utah offered Disney a smorgasbord of incentives and tax breaks. Colorado, on the other hand, could come up with “smaller, more complicated, incentives.”

The film is based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs series, “John Carter of Mars,” which was written in 1912. The film follows Carter, a Civil War soldier, as he passes out, wakes up in Barsoom (as the natives call the red planet) and falls in love with martian royalty. Willem Dafoe has already been cast as Tars Tarkas, a Barsoomian warrior, and Thomas Haden Church, of “Sideways” fame, has been cast as Hajus, a “vicious Thark warrior.” Interestingly, John Ratzenberger (Cliff Claven, of “Cheers”) has also been cast but has yet to receive his part. Whatever you do, don’t confuse the upcoming production with “Princess of Mars,” a like-named film released in December. That picture was a straight-to-DVD film along the same plot line that starred former porn star Traci Lords.

Meanwhile thousands of hopeful actors, extras and crew members have descended on Southeast Utah. Filming begins this spring, and the director will be calling “action” everywhere from Moab to the Monument Valley. The film is expected to inject $10 million into Moab’s Grand County, and businesses there are eagerly awaiting the martian landing.




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Critical condition

Lake Powell drops below threshold for the first time despite attempts to avoid it

March 17, 2022
Uphill climb

Purgatory Resort set for expansion but still faces hurdles

March 10, 2022
Mind, body & soul (... and not so much El Rancho)

New health care studio takes integrated approach to healing