The Thing Prequel Character Breakdown Illuminates Plot, Seems to Fully Kill Big Rumor About the Film
Posted on Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
Despite the fact that John Carpenter‘s The Thing is a remake of/sequel to/alternate take on The Thing From Another World, notions of remaking it get fans up in arms. With good reason. Carpenter’s movie has a fantastic cast and some of the best practical latex effects seen in any film, period. It’s tense and fun and doesn’t sag after repeated viewings.
But Strike Entertainment and Universal are planning to shoot a remake in March, directed by Matthijs Van Heijningen based on a script from Eric Heisserer. There have been many rumors about what we’d see in this film, and how directly it would relate to John Carpenter’s movie. A new casting breakdown seems to kill one of the big rumors, that the film would feature the brother of R.J. MacReady, played by Kurt Russell in Carpenter’s film. It reinforces that this is a prequel to Carpenter’s movie, as it takes place in the Norwegian camp that is destroyed before the beginning of his story. Most striking is that this prequel will have…women. Wild, right?
Here’s the logline:
In a remote Antarctica outpost, an alien spaceship is discovered far beneath the ice. When a group of ambitious scientists decide to thaw out one of the creatures inside, they’re in for the terrifying fight of their lives…
Now for some character breakdowns. For the full list, which includes some possible spoilers, check out the post at Spoiler TV. I’ve excerpted the breakdown sheet to get the point across, but keep the spoilers out.
Couple of points to consider. The original film had a specific dynamic because of the all-male cast. (OK, the dog might have been female, not sure on that point.) There was a specific sense of boiling suspicion and rage that arose from having those guys cooped up together. Adding women will change the mix significantly, and hopefully help differentiate this film.
A few ties to Alien are perceptible. The lead character is female, and she’s more directly isolated than Ripley, because she doesn’t speak Norwegian, the primary language of the research station. The plot that follows has more than a couple shades of Alien, too, as the lead’s boss, Dr. Halvorson, seems reminiscent of Ash, the science officer who protected the zenomorph in Ridley Scott’s film.
I am disappointed to see that the lead male character seems to be positioned as a direct MacReady clone. He’s a blue-collar, rugged, resourceful helicopter pilot. Since this is evidently positioned as a prequel, not a remake, I’d prefer to have a more distinct character. Chances of being able to watch this without making constant unflattering comparisons between this guy and Kurt Russell? Probably not good.
Here are the lead Characters:
[KATE LLOYD] In her late 20s to early 30s, pretty, bright-eyed, intelligent, she’s a graduate of Columbia and a Ph.D. candidate in paleontology (the study of prehistoric life). On the recommendation of her friend Adam Goodman, Kate is tapped for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by Dr. Sander Halvorson to join his research team in Antarctica, where an extraordinary discovery has been made. Upon arrival, Kate soon finds herself at odds with Halvorson about how best to proceed with the discovery — an alien spaceship with a mysterious and sinister frozen THING found nearby — specifically whether to transfer the specimen undisturbed to a more appropriate facility for analysis, or, per Halvorson’s wishes, to drill into the specimen’s ice encasement for a definitive tissue sample.
[DR. SANDER HALVORSON] In his late 30s to early 50s, austere, scholarly and imperious, he’s a microbiologist from NYU who leads a science research team to Antarctica to help his old friend Edvard interpret and analyze an extraordinary discovery made beneath the ice. Sander, a brilliant scientist and a master of self-promotion, knows that his involvement in such an historic discovery will bring him fame and fortune. Blinded by ambition, he refuses to abandon the “project” even as the bodies pile up around him.
[SAM CARTER] In his early 30s, rugged, handsome, blue-collar, he’s a helicopter pilot with a private charter service that transports personnel and supplies from McMurdo Station to remote research sites across Antarctica. Carter is a mercenary. He flies when he wants, where he wants, and he flies for one reason: money. But his resourcefulness, experience and get-it-done mentality make him indispensable.