Walt Disney Studios and ImageMovers Digital have provided us with several behind-the-scenes photos, model sheets and concept art from its March 11 release of Mars Needs Moms, based on the same-titled book by famed cartoonist Berkeley Breathed who based the story on his own personal experiences with then four year old son, Milo. A couple of differences you’ll find in the film are that Milo (portrayed by Seth Green) is ‘progressed’ to age nine (while Seth, of course, is regressed) and there is a lot more time spent exploring the red planet. A couple of fun things to note are: in the concept art showing the scale of the characters in relation to each other and their respective actors, Seth Green as an adult in his mid-30s is just six inches taller than his nine year old self; and Joan Cusack (Mom) has a son named Miles and during the recording process, would often use his name instead of Milo’s. In fact, Miles’ name even made it to the production take in one case and had to be fixed later during ADR (audio dialogue replacement).
In addition to the images and photos, we also have descriptions of some of the characters from the film:
MILO (Seth Green) is nine. He has comic books to read, zombie movies to watch and bed-jumping to do. He doesn’t have time to eat his vegetables and do chores, no matter what his mom says. Mom is sick of nagging and Milo’s sick of Mom. But when he suggests that he’d be better off without her, things get a little hairy. His efforts to apologize are interrupted when Martians—yes Martians—arrive, steal his mom, return to their spaceship and rocket to Mars—with a nine-year-old stowaway who’s determined to rescue the mother he’d wished away just moments before. To Milo, the whole thing would be downright hilarious if he weren’t headed to another planet.
MOM (Joan Cusack) loves Milo more than anything, she just wishes he’d do as he’s told—like eating his vegetables… and NOT feeding them to the cat (who in turn yaks all over her floor). She only wants what’s best for Milo—and let’s face it—broccoli is very good for growing boys. Her good intentions and loving ways may not please Milo, but they certainly impress the Martian scouts who are looking for a good mom.
GRIBBLE (Dan Fogler) is a 30-something who has been on Mars since his own mom was “needed” by Martians many years prior. When Milo reaches the planet and is taken prisoner, Gribble rescues him, guiding him through a series of secret chutes to the elaborate lair on Mars’ lower level that Gribble calls home. Tricked out with various electronic and spy devices, Gribble’s digs allow him to tap into the planet’s communication systems and spy on what is going on in the hub of all activity, the Citadel. Gribble—who still uses the ‘80s lingo from his childhood—is understandably bummed when he realizes that Milo, his first human friend in ages, plans to save his mom and return to Earth. But Gribble agrees to help Milo—even if deep down, he’d love it if Milo could hang out with him forever.
THE SUPERVISOR (Mindy Sterling) is the much-feared, heartless Martian leader. She is behind the planet’s dismal belief system that promotes cold, strict conduct and prohibits warmth and love, virtually forcing the need to steal Earth’s moms and extract their mom-ness to help nurture their young. She is the leader of Mars’ special security forces, the Siss Guards.
KI (Elisabeth Harnois) is a young Martian who learned to speak English by watching a ‘70s sitcom. She spends her time painting elaborate graffiti on the walls of Mars. But she does so in secret. She’s forced to hide her artistic side on a planet that is devoid of color and emotion. The Martians are strictly forbidden from expressing any individuality—but Ki thinks for herself—particularly when she decides to help Milo.
WINGNUT (Kevin Cahoon) is the leader of the Hairy Tribe Guys, who embody the lost love of Mars. They live in the underground trash caverns, discarded by the misguided civilized society above. Wingnut was Gribble’s buddy before Milo arrived on Mars and Gribble thinks he’s a little crazy and not too smart. But Wingnut just might understand far more about what is happening on Mars than anyone thinks.
DAD (Tom Everett Scott) is a dedicated family man—even if he is completely unaware of the interplanetary adventure Mom and Milo take together. He does notice that his often cantankerous son seems somehow different when Milo mysteriously volunteers to take out the trash. “Did something happen to Milo this weekend?”