Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton Talk The Thing Prequel
10.08.10 by Ryan
Dutch director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s upcoming The Thing Prequel will follow the Norwegian camp briefly depicted in John Carpenter's 1982 classic The Thing. Besides featuring plenty of Norwegian actors and English subtitles, the prequel will also have a few American characters, primarily Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Joel Edgerton (Uncle Owen in Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith), who's actually an Australian.
Winstead plays a paleontologist named Kate Lloyd, who joins the Norwegian science team after they discover the alien life form that eventually plagues Kurt Russell and his team. Despite appearing in horror movies like Black Christmas and Final Destination 3, Winstead told Collider that her age almost lost her the part.
I auditioned for it but I think a few people involved at certain levels thought I was too young for the part. I had to come in a couple of times. I read with Joel to kind of see how we would look next to each other and to see if we looked like we were on par as far as our level of maturity and what not. Also Matthijs and the producers fought really hard to have me and made it clear that the character was young and just starting her career. I’m not trying to play someone who is a veteran scientist or anything like that. I’m playing someone very close to my own age.
Unlike Carpenters' movie, The Thing Prequel will feature female characters, an inclusion that Winstead feels adds an important new element.
To me, I think it’s a good thing because it sort of puts it out there that we’re not doing a remake of the John Carpenter movie. It sort of says out in the open that these are different characters and different people in a similar scenario, but it’s not the same film. So I think having a woman brings that different dynamic from the get go. It’s kind of an interesting thing I think to have, in 1982, a young girl coming into this scientific environment in Antarctica and the way that they would all react to her. Everyone would have an opinion about her being there because it would be a rare and different thing for them all to have a woman coming on to the base.
Edgerton was cast in the movie after appearing in an Australian stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire with Cate Blanchett. Edgerton plays Carter, a helicopter pilot for the Norwegian crew, and a character that the actor admitted to Collider is "cut from the same cloth as [Russell's] character in the Carpenter film." Still, he says he won't be playing the archetypal hero.
I mean, it seems to me like there’s always certain archetypal roles and there’s certain templates for characters almost. You can look at the history of types of movies. You look at broad comedies and there’s a sort of type and I guess there’s an archetypal heroic character that runs along the history of American cinema, but then again, they’re all different types of that archetype, like there’s the type that I grew up with that was all Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, the muscle-y hero who always seems capable of defeating any foe, which is what I grew up with, but to me, it’s a less interesting type of hero. I have more of a love for the Harrison Ford-type hero that sort of manages to scrape through by the hair of his chinny-chin-chin and always has that sense of fear facing a situation.
Despite having both a male and female as the leads in a horror movie, Edgerton warns not to expect romantic sparks. "Look, I’m a big enough fan of the movie to be a little bit sensitive to what the real fans are saying out there," Edgerton admitted. "I think you’ve got to be sensitive to that, and I was well aware that there was a little bit of a murmur, 'I hope they don’t turn this into some naff romance kind of thing, while the aliens trying to chomp people, two people are trying to kiss in a corner.' Not that I haven’t put my hand up for it."