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Set Visit: The Thing prequel!

5 years agoby:

Cast interviews here!

The first thing I see on the set of THE THING is, well, the Thing. Or, more accurately, one of the Thing's many mutated forms. As anyone who has seen John Carpenter's legendary horror classic knows, the Thing is a pesky alien that can imitate and absorb the body of another creature, essentially inhabiting it for however long it needs... or until it's found out. When it is found out, or when it's attacked or provoked, it simply freaks the hell out, no better way to put it. While still resembling parts of a man - or dog or whatever the case may be - its flesh twists and transmutes until a grotesque mockery of what it once was is all that remains. And the worst part is, it's still trying to save itself... So after entering the Toronto-based set of THE THING, Universal Pictures' prequel to the 1984 film, I catch a glimpse of what is unmistakably the Thing hanging out off to the side, keeping to itself, not being noticed by the dozens of crewmembers who are hard at work on that day's shoot. A quiet chap, it looks glad to just have a break...Perhaps having no limbs, splitting open in places and wearing a look of crazed anguish will make you a more contemplative... Thing.


Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate Lloyd

Suffice it to say, whenever a remake of a beloved classic is announced, it's met with a certain amount of ire and trash-talking from the online community. When it came time to revamp THE THING for modern audiences, the announcement caused more of a skeptical grumbling. For starters, it's not a remake, it's a prequel. Semantics! some may accuse, and they'd pretty much be right; while this new version of THE THING takes place in the days before Carpenter's (indeed, the film takes place in 1982), it could easily be a remake (with some females thrown in). The sets, the blowtorches, the antiquated equipment, it really does look like I've been picked up and dropped off on the set of Carpenter's movie. Let's put it this way - in the fictional world where these events take place, the same guy designed both the Norwegian base and the American one.


Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate Lloyd, Joel Edgerton as Carter

The scene unfolding as I arrive (with a handful of other journalists, natch) takes place in the base's rec room; at this point in the tale, the shit has most certainly already hit the fan. A pool table is overturned, blood has been shed (on the walls, on the floor) and a character is about to be killed. (While I won't mention any names, you can consider the rest of this paragraph a SPOILER, so tread carefully.) Though it's unclear to me what exactly has just transpired, the character in question has been mortally injured by "the thing" - he's thrown back against a wall, his belly is bleeding, his outlook is grim. He's been infected, and he knows it as he slides painfully down the wall. He's met by another character, who unconvincingly tries to assure him that he'll be okay. Of course, they both know otherwise. "Don't let me end up like one of those things," the dying man says. "Burn me". After some hesitation, that's just what happens.


Director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.

Watching all this unfold along with us is director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., the Dutch commercial director who is making his directorial debut on the project. van Heijningen gained some heat in Hollywood a few years ago when Zack Snyder hand-picked him to direct a zombie epic called ARMY OF THE DEAD. (van Heijningen is something of a protege of Snyder's, the two being big names in the commercial world.) Though that project never came together, van Heijningen's name was on the minds of Strike Entertainment, the production company in charge of THE THING, as well as DAWN OF THE DEAD, bringing the Snyder connection full circle.

Van Heijningen seems to know his stuff when it comes to horror. He mentions Ridley Scott's ALIEN as being "the benchmark" for sci-fi/horror films, and mentions it's as much of an inspiration as Carpenter's THE THING on this project. He also gets what makes THE THING really tick. "The core of that movie for me is how people behave when they start to distrust each other because anybody could be the monster. And that paranoia is, you know, you have to work together but at the same time, you cannot work together because the guy you work with or you have to cooperate with could be at the same time the monster."


Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Jameson, Joel Edgerton as Carter

Wandering around the "Mega Stage" some more (indeed, that's it's real name, as it's the largest of its kind in North America), we get a look at what else the base consists of. Impressively, all of the rooms are actually linked together, so you're literally able to just walk from one room to another, which makes the illusion that much more convincing. (It's also helpful when you've got characters frantically running from one to the next.) The attention to detail is of course vital in this film's case, as it can be considered a period piece. (Although you needn't worry about bad 80s hair/fashion - the characters are all costumed in something of a "timeless" way.) Hence, you've got VHS tapes over here, issues of National Geographic (from the late 70s) over there, Norwegian calendars dated 1982, etc. Certainly there's a lived-in quality to the place, a work place that has seen its share of people trudge in and out for years. Even the books on the shelves look fatigued, worn out from years of use. The equipment room inspires a laugh from us; the machines are utterly ancient, archaic HPs that stand about as tall as a man, simple word processors that look to weigh about twenty pounds.


Joel Edgerton as Carter

We enter another room, the lab, and, like the rec room, it has certainly seen better days. Half the place is black with ash - the scene of a serious incineration. Perhaps it has something to do with the twisted, charred thing on the examination table; the very sight of the room brings to mind the sequence in Carpenter's film where Kurt Russell is forced to set their lab aflame (as well as the scene where they investigate the creepy corpse of the dog-thing). If you hadn't already gotten the message, everything I'm seeing is bringing to mind the original film. Is that good or bad? Guess it depends on your perspective...


Shooting an action sequence

Eventually, we get a gander at an exterior set. Well, an interior exterior if you will; the "generator set" is where the movie evidently opens, a wooden housing for the camp's generator where we first meet the thing in a most unique form... There's a giant green screen looming in the back and cotton snow underneath our feet. Drum barrels line the shed; pipes create a tangled web underneath.... Perfect place for the thing to hide. Yes, I see him. He's not human, he's not a dog.. he's something else. (I would describe the fella, but unfortunately Universal has pleaded with me not to. You'll have to wait and see.) We later learn that this isn't even the Thing's true form. Creature designer Alec Gillis told us, "Like the Carpenter movie, we're not showing The Thing in its pure form. This is an alien that is a host to whatever The Thing is doing to it." (Cool that we're getting to see another resident from the outer reaches in this flick.) Truth be told, we'll never get to see what the Thing really looks like. It's unknowable.


Finding the alien ship... and The Thing

When asked about how the the various "Things" came to be, physically, at least, Gillis says, "The way this process has worked, which has been really great for us, is that it is very collaborative. They had a really solid screenplay, it was very respectful of the Carpenter version, and it had some really freaky concepts in it." To nail down the look of the Thing, Gillis and partner Tom Woodruff Jr. would create a hundred or so thumbnail sketches for the director to look over. Once van Heijningen narrowed it down to twenty or so, the effects crew would go about creating "mockettes", tiny sculptures that better inform the team about how the creatures will look and move, where the wires will run, where a puppeteer will be stationed, among many other variables. "What's cool about this for us as creature effects designers is that we get to work within the language that was established by Carpenter and Rob Bottin in 1982," Gillis says. "But we also get to add some of our own stuff in terms of original creature design."

Eric Christian Olsen as Adam

Unfortunately, that's all I can tell you as far as that goes. Just let it be known that Gillis and Woodruff are indeed remaining faithful to the bizarre horrors found in Carpenter's film.

Stay tuned for more from my adventures from the set of THE THING, as I'll have some interviews from the cast and crew, including stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Eric Christian Olsen, director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and more!

Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
11:00PM on 10/04/2010
The Thing doesn't inhabit anyone. It absorbs ("eats") them, and uses that information to transform its own shape into a perfect visual replica of the victim it just absorbed.

Anyway, I hope this movie is R-rated. I won't settle for less.
Also, I want to hear more about the Norwegian character(s).
The Thing doesn't inhabit anyone. It absorbs ("eats") them, and uses that information to transform its own shape into a perfect visual replica of the victim it just absorbed.

Anyway, I hope this movie is R-rated. I won't settle for less.
Also, I want to hear more about the Norwegian character(s).
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8:54PM on 10/04/2010
Meh......is this film really necessary? I would have preferred the sequel Carpenter was thinking of with Keith David and Kurt Russell alive but frozen
Meh......is this film really necessary? I would have preferred the sequel Carpenter was thinking of with Keith David and Kurt Russell alive but frozen
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6:15PM on 10/04/2010
Looks like they're putting a women in it. Sorry but it's going to be trash now. Probably PG-13 too . Nah ....
Looks like they're putting a women in it. Sorry but it's going to be trash now. Probably PG-13 too . Nah ....
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6:12PM on 10/04/2010
Cool, when's it hit DVD?
Cool, when's it hit DVD?
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+5
5:11PM on 10/04/2010
You know what? This whole thing stinks. From the pictures and the tone of the report, it sounds like this is going to be another of these remakes sold as a prequel/sequel not to upset the hardcore fans of the original film (Predators, anybody?). I'm going to wait for the word on this, but honestly, it does not sound too good to me. I won't pay another cent for a film that plagiarizes a beloved masterpiece.
You know what? This whole thing stinks. From the pictures and the tone of the report, it sounds like this is going to be another of these remakes sold as a prequel/sequel not to upset the hardcore fans of the original film (Predators, anybody?). I'm going to wait for the word on this, but honestly, it does not sound too good to me. I won't pay another cent for a film that plagiarizes a beloved masterpiece.
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4:38PM on 10/04/2010
As long as they don't try to make it look "cool" by today's standards (which are low), I'll dig it. Plus, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is in it.
As long as they don't try to make it look "cool" by today's standards (which are low), I'll dig it. Plus, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is in it.
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+10
3:00PM on 10/04/2010
The Thing is up there with Halloween and other all time classic horror flicks. I still get twitchy when the guys head turns into a spider and walks away. The soundtrack more than sells the movie in its creepiness. Sorry but no way this prequel lives up to the original. Guarentee its going to go light on suspense and hardcore on gore!
The Thing is up there with Halloween and other all time classic horror flicks. I still get twitchy when the guys head turns into a spider and walks away. The soundtrack more than sells the movie in its creepiness. Sorry but no way this prequel lives up to the original. Guarentee its going to go light on suspense and hardcore on gore!
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2:41PM on 10/04/2010
Been a fan of Joel Edgerton ever since I watched him play the bad guy in "Acolytes".
Been a fan of Joel Edgerton ever since I watched him play the bad guy in "Acolytes".
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2:11PM on 10/04/2010
I'm just happy that the filmmakers behind this had the decency to make this movie a prequel and not a remake. I hope it is good.
I'm just happy that the filmmakers behind this had the decency to make this movie a prequel and not a remake. I hope it is good.
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4:18PM on 10/04/2010
the original Thing IS a remake.
the original Thing IS a remake.
5:05PM on 10/04/2010
What?! Really? How could this be? I don't understand. Are you trying to tell me that Carpenter's film is a remake of the 1951 film 'The Thing From Another World', a film about a Frankenstein-ish alien plant monster? That the 1951 film was in fact a very loose adaptation of the novella 'Who Goes There'? That the 1951 film and original story didn't really have much in common? And that Carpenter's film is actually a far truer adaptation of the original novella? And that Carpenter's film is widely
What?! Really? How could this be? I don't understand. Are you trying to tell me that Carpenter's film is a remake of the 1951 film 'The Thing From Another World', a film about a Frankenstein-ish alien plant monster? That the 1951 film was in fact a very loose adaptation of the novella 'Who Goes There'? That the 1951 film and original story didn't really have much in common? And that Carpenter's film is actually a far truer adaptation of the original novella? And that Carpenter's film is widely viewed as the first real adaptation rather than a remake?

Thanks for clearing that up. You taught me so much today.
5:34PM on 10/04/2010
LOL
LOL
5:49PM on 10/05/2010
you so crazy
you so crazy
1:59PM on 10/04/2010

Hmmm...

I REALLY like all three of those actors (Olsen could be as well if this turns out to be good)
I REALLY like all three of those actors (Olsen could be as well if this turns out to be good)
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+2
1:53PM on 10/04/2010
A nice animated tribute to the original:
[link]
A nice animated tribute to the original:
[link]
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-9
1:52PM on 10/04/2010
Looking forward to this because of the effects of the original. Don't get me wrong; the original is great, although it suffers somewhat from the special effects looking quite bad from a perspective of today. You who are negative to this idea, try watching the original today.

Looking forward to this because of the effects of the original. Don't get me wrong; the original is great, although it suffers somewhat from the special effects looking quite bad from a perspective of today. You who are negative to this idea, try watching the original today.

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3:54PM on 10/04/2010
Yeah the original looks fantastic today. I'm guessing you're about 15 years old and LOVED the Bayformers.
Yeah the original looks fantastic today. I'm guessing you're about 15 years old and LOVED the Bayformers.
4:52PM on 10/04/2010
Haha! No. Watching The Thing in the early 90s I was amazed by the special effects and the movie in general. Also being quite young at the time, really scared. :)

I despise remakes (and Transformers) as much as the next fellow, but this might be a good idea, if done right.
Haha! No. Watching The Thing in the early 90s I was amazed by the special effects and the movie in general. Also being quite young at the time, really scared. :)

I despise remakes (and Transformers) as much as the next fellow, but this might be a good idea, if done right.
1:40PM on 10/04/2010

JC's THE THING

JC's THE THINGS has always been a Top 10 for me on most of my film canon lists. I'm extremely excited for this prequel and Joel Edgerton who was in the underrated Australian film: ANIMAL KINGDOM.
JC's THE THINGS has always been a Top 10 for me on most of my film canon lists. I'm extremely excited for this prequel and Joel Edgerton who was in the underrated Australian film: ANIMAL KINGDOM.
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+2
1:10PM on 10/04/2010

wait wait wait

So this prequel is not the days of what happens at the Norwegian camp, which is what woudl make sense, but 2 years before the original with i'm guessing some other American camp? WTF?

The game did a decent job of continuing the story after the movie (even if they did completely ignore the comcis that already told that story) why wouldn't you make the prequel the events that happen in the days before the movie?

My head hurst :(
So this prequel is not the days of what happens at the Norwegian camp, which is what woudl make sense, but 2 years before the original with i'm guessing some other American camp? WTF?

The game did a decent job of continuing the story after the movie (even if they did completely ignore the comcis that already told that story) why wouldn't you make the prequel the events that happen in the days before the movie?

My head hurst :(
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+3
12:49PM on 10/04/2010
So i guess i'll be the first to say i may actually look forward to seeing this.I really like all the people attached to the film.
So i guess i'll be the first to say i may actually look forward to seeing this.I really like all the people attached to the film.
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-16
12:44PM on 10/04/2010

SHUT UP PEOPLE -- THIS IS COOL

The thing is a movie that needs this kind of remake!! I just hope the story is worth the ticket price!!! BTW - those who cry about remakes are usually those who never seen the originalo of such movies!
The thing is a movie that needs this kind of remake!! I just hope the story is worth the ticket price!!! BTW - those who cry about remakes are usually those who never seen the originalo of such movies!
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1:05PM on 10/04/2010
"those who cry about remakes are usually those who never seen the originalo of such movies!"

Now that's a head up the ass comment if i've ever read one.
"those who cry about remakes are usually those who never seen the originalo of such movies!"

Now that's a head up the ass comment if i've ever read one.
1:37PM on 10/04/2010
LMAO. Funniest response ever.
LMAO. Funniest response ever.
12:18PM on 10/04/2010

Another unnecessary remake/sequel/reboot

Why? Why now? Is Hollywood really out of ideas? How about a prequel to Alien . . . oh wait.
Why? Why now? Is Hollywood really out of ideas? How about a prequel to Alien . . . oh wait.
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4:21PM on 10/04/2010
John Carpenter's the Thing is a remake to a 1951 movie called... the Thing. your anger is misguided.
John Carpenter's the Thing is a remake to a 1951 movie called... the Thing. your anger is misguided.
12:15PM on 10/04/2010
At best, it'll be a wonderful looking sub-par prequel.
At best, it'll be a wonderful looking sub-par prequel.
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+2
12:11PM on 10/04/2010
This is gonna be a trainwreck.
This is gonna be a trainwreck.
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