One of the added bonuses of working for Burpee Museum aside from travel has been getting to meet new people. In this regard 2010 did not disappoint. Not long after opening the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry, the BLM told us that a major motion picture was going to be filmed near us and for a few days on the same road we work on. Disney-Pixar was going shoot major scenes for John Carter of Mars. This live action meets CGI movie is based on a Edgar Rice Burroughs series of novels written in the early 1900′s. Needles to say this excited the whole Burpee crew. By pure luck our public tours began as filming was still in our area. Almost immediately cast and crew began coming to the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry.
A couple of the visitors; Paki Smith (art director) and William Todd-Jones (actor-puppeteer) came multiple times and sent more and more crew to us for tours. In a few days we probably had 50-60 visitors from the movie. Katie and I made a quick trip to the Movie basecamp to pass out fliers and promote the museum. As soon as we got there, we were mobbed by people showing us agate, petrified wood and other fossils. We were intoduced to the Director, Andrew Stanton (he also directed Finding Nemo and Wall-E). Andrew was very kind and interested in what we were doing and encouraged everyone to come to the quarry. Over the next few days movie and museum crews became frequent visitors to each other’s “set”. On Sunday, Burpee was “called” to the movie set after eager crew members were playing paleontologist and found dinosaur bones. In between takes Burpee worked on the dinosaur bones found by the crew.
We even got to meet actor Willem Dafoe (Platoon, Mississippi Burning, Spiderman) and actress Samantha Morton (In America, Minority Report). Samantha had a real interest in dinosaurs and spent over an hour excavating a rib that was found. Samantha eventually came to our quarry for a personal tour with her family. Burpee crew even made an appearance at the wrap up of shooting. Emails were exchanged and new Burpee Paleontology shirts were given to some of our new friends. It was an amazing experience and now hundreds of movie professionals now know of Burpee Museum!! ……John Carter of Mars opens in 2012! Go see the movie so there will be a sequel and Burpee can be the “unofficial” paleontology crew!!