Universal's "premake" of THE THING landed with a thud in 2011, a deserving fate for an unremarkable and largely unnecessary movie that fans of the original didn't want and new audiences didn't care about. Arguably the film's most nagging aspect is its reliance on cheesy computer-generated effects; you find yourself wondering during some of the shoddy sequences, "How did anyone allow this to make the final cut?"
Making this even more irksome is the fact that, while I was visiting the set of the film, it was made clear that there would be an ample helping of practical effects. I had the pleasure of watching FX maestros Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis work their magic with some creepy creature puppets - almost all of which never made it into the final film, of course.
If you're interested in what could have been, today brings us a behind-the-scenes video, courtesy of Amalgamated Dynamic Inc., of one of the "pilots" being controlled by the Thing. (I did not see these fellows while on set, unfortunately.) Before watching, read what ADI has to say about their work.
The plan was that there would be 3 versions of the Pilot in THE THING (2011). Here are two: the mummified Pilot, and the Thing having replicated itself as one of the alien crew members. In the story originally, the Thing needed to become one of these aliens in order to fly the ship buried under the ice. (Note the bio-mechanical connections implanted in the creature's back.) ADI designed the character, built a limited animatronic puppet, and performed it on set.
The third Pilot was going to be a digital version of this creature, but due to a story change, it was never executed. The mummified Pilot was covered over with a digital energy effect, and we designed a new character, the Sanders-Thing, which was realized digitally.