Almost 30 years after the John Carpenter classic ‘The Thing’ (1982), we finally learn what really happened to those Norwegian researchers before Kurt Russell touched down in the Antarctic. An upcoming movie of the same name, this version of ‘The Thing’ is a prequel to Carpenter’s film. You can get a glimpse of the first footage in the clip below. I will warn you, however, that this clip is not for the faint of heart…
(I did warn you!)
Even if you haven’t seen the previous version of the movie (which I highly recommend), this prequel is a stand alone version which looks just as creepy. The official synopsis of the movie is as follows:
“Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up.
When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew’s pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish.”
MTV recently sat down with ‘The Thing’ star, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays the role of Kate Lloyd. She spoke to them about the pressures of remaking a classic and the challenges of reinventing the creature from an iconic movie. Here are some of the highlights:
MTV: There are a lot of remakes and new takes on cult classics, and I think a lot of people feel, “I’m OK with it, if they get it right.” For you guys on set, was that sort of pressure on your minds? And do you think you did get it right?
Winstead: There was definitely a lot of pressure, because everyone involved is a fan of the John Carpenter version. None of us wanted to mess it up and none of us wanted to sully the legend of the John Carpenter film. We wanted to add to it in a positive way, a fun way, and make something that could go hand in hand with that film. And that’s what we did. I think we made a film that’s a really great standalone film, but also something that’s really cool if you’re a fan of the John Carpenter version, just to get a little insight into what may have occurred before. I think it’s just a good movie regardless of how you feel about remakes and prequels and all of that. At least you can go see a good film and hopefully put that aside and just be there and go along for the ride.
MTV: Since this is a prequel, we presumably know what’s going to happen at the end. How did you keep the suspense going?
Winstead: I think that it’s exciting to wonder who is a Thing and who isn’t, and that’s really where the suspense lies. A lot of films in the genre, you kind of know it’s not gonna end up well. I don’t think anyone is really expecting a happy ending. But that kind of going along for the ride and being in the suspense of the moment is what’s really exciting. Our story is so great and it’s one that could be played out in so many scenarios, and I think with bringing in completely different characters from completely different backgrounds and countries brings a whole other level of paranoia. It takes it into a different direction, having this language barrier between the characters and having a lot of “us” vs. “them” between the
Norwegians and the Americans and things like that was an interesting take on it, made it a not straight-up remake. And it was exciting to me to put a girl in the mix, which people have different opinions on it. But for me, that’s what differentiates it from the John Carpenter version in a big way and makes it a different film, makes it a unique film and one that stands on its own.
MTV: Anyone who’s seen Ellen Ripley [Sigourney Weaver in “Alien”] do her thing knows that a woman can take on an alien.
Winstead: What’s cool about it, for this character, a lot of her strength lies in her intellect rather than her muscles. It’s not like one of those characters where I come in and act like I can kick everybody’s ass. It’s not realistic. All these guys are bigger than me, stronger than me. But my character has a really strong intellect, which gets her far in this film
MTV: Carpenter’s movie really was horrifying and just gross. Really gross. Are you guys taking the same angle?
Winstead: The “assimilation scenes” are definitely terrifying and disgusting and just creepy as hell. There’s one in particular that stands out to me that’s just horrific. I can’t really describe it in too much detail because I don’t wanna give anything away. It just blows your mind. Just seeing it being filmed, because we have a lot of practical effects stuff there, which is great and kind of seeing the beginning of it on set was terrifying in itself and disgusting. They just took it to a whole new level, the stuff they added in postproduction.
MTV: We get a glimpse of the creature in the trailer. Because it’s a prequel, do you guys have to stay very true to the first one or do you have room to play?
Winstead: I think they definitely kept the John Carpenter version in mind when it came to the creature design. Definitely it is still that same world, but there is a somewhat new look to it and somewhat different take on it. It’s sort of the 2011 version, but still with that spirit of practical effects. It certainly doesn’t look exactly like the John Carpenter version. As awesome as those effects are, they are out of a certain period. And
when you see that, you can kind of tell like, “Oh, those are really awesome ’80s effects.” So you can’t really go exactly for that. You have to bring a little of the modern element in to it too, but hopefully keeping that real tangible quality the ’80s effects had as well.
‘The Thing’ assimilates into theaters on October 14 and stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (‘Final Destination’, ‘Scott Pilgrim vs The World’), Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje (‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’), Joel Edgerton (‘Star Wars Episode III’, ‘Star Wars Episode IV’), and Eric Christian Olsen (‘NCIS: Los Angeles’). In case you missed it before, here is the theatrical trailer: