Willem Dafoe goes to 'Mars'

Joins Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins in Disney adaptation

Willem Dafoe is on his way to Mars.

The actor has joined Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins in "John Carter of Mars," Disney's adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs book series that Andrew Stanton is directing.

In the story of a Civil War soldier transported to the red planet where warring races vie for control, Dafoe will play Tars Tarkas, a leader of the Thark race who knows that the only way his people can survive is if they turn away from war, a position that may cost him dearly.

Stanton wrote the screenplay with Mark Andrews. Jim Morris and Colin Wilson are producing "Carter," which is eyeing a start in early 2010.

Brigham Taylor is overseeing for the studio.

Dafoe, repped by WME, recently wrapped "Cirque du Freak," an adaptation of Darren Shan's young adult book series, and vampire thriller "Daybreakers."