Joel Edgerton Discusses The Thing Prequel; Says Director Is a "Massive Fan" of the Original
09.27.11 by Ryan
It often seems like movie theaters are filled with an endless barrage of prequels, sequels or remakes, and, on the surface, the upcoming The Thing may seem like just a way to capitalize on the loyal following of John Carpenter's 1982 classic The Thing, mainly because the two movies share the exact same name.
Australian actor Joel Edgerton (Warrior) plays American helicopter pilot Sam Carter in The Thing prequel, and revealed in an interview with Collider that he only decided to make the movie was because it was not a remake but rather a "pretty genius" idea for a prequel.
I’m pretty skeptical about Hollywood and its fascination with the sequel and the franchise. It’s a zone we seem to be in, at the moment. It’s definitely a slightly nerve-wracking thing to get involved with. I don’t think I would have done it, if it was a remake because I personally believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But, the whole reason these guys had for doing a prequel was pretty genius, when you look at the Carpenter movie. It’s like it was served up on a plate by Carpenter, back in '82, with this whole mystery of what happened at the Norwegian camp. What (prequel director) Matthijs [van Heijningen Jr.] and Universal did was open up a lovely chapter that you wish had been told.
A self-professed fan of Carpenter's original, Edgerton admitted that working on the set of The Thing provided him with a geek moment on par with the one he had while playing Uncle Owen in Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith.
I equate this experience to my involvement in Star Wars. It was such a privilege to have someone go, "Hey, come and be involved in this world, of this film that you loved so much as a child." Getting involved with Star Wars was that kind of experience. I can’t believe that I was involved with those movies. And, The Thing is like that because I was so fascinated with it and with Kurt Russell and that world, when I was so young. And then, they’re like, "Hey, why don’t you strap on a flamethrower and run around and fight this alien?" I felt like I was Kurt Russell.
Unlike Russell, however, Edgerton revealed he is not the hero of the movie, a role reserved for Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) who plays Dr. Kate Lloyd, an American paleontologist. "She’s very cool and she’s got a strong, smart quality about her," revealed Edgerton, who was personally glad that a carbon copy of Russell's character wasn't included in the prequel. "To turn it a little bit on its head and have this smart scientist as the lead is great."
Rabid fans of the original may not agree, but Edgerton assured Collider that van Heijningen Jr. is a "massive fan of the original movie" who tried to "create a similar aesthetic and achieve that same look and feeling" of Carpenter's original movie. After all, it was van Heijningen's idea to make the prequel in the first place, Edgerton revealed.
I actually don’t know the facts of how it happened, but I suspect and seem to recall that it was his idea to do the prequel. It was his idea to do the film in the way that it is. He was just so passionate about the original movie. He’s just such a great visual director. I’d seen a lot of his commercial work. He’s an incredibly smart guy.
The Thing also stars Eric Christian Olsen, Jonathan Walker, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Dennis Storhøi, Trond Espen Seim, Jørgen Langhelle, Stig Henrik Hoff, Jan Gunnar Røise, Kristofer Hivju, and Jo Adrian Haavind. Based on the John W. Campbell Jr. novella Who Goes There?, the script for The Thing prequel was written by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and Eric Heisserer (A Nightmare on Elm Street).