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The Thing – Prequel will explain what we saw in the original

Posted by LiveFor on April 27, 2010

The prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing is underway and like many of you I am excited yet nervous about the whole thing. We’ve all seen many favourite films have prequels or sequels that are nowhere near as good or ignore what made the original great in the first place.

The new film takes place at the Norwegian Camp that we see briefly in the original when Kurt Russell visits it to see why some mad Norwegians were trying to kill a dog. While there they come across an axe in the door, a man with his throat and wrists cut, a big block of ice where the Thing originally came from and lots of death and wanton destruction. Quite a lot to cover in the prequel.

io9 spoke to screenwriter Eric Heisserer about how close they are sticking to the original and, fellow Thing fans, it sounds very promising. Very promising indeed.

You’re actually in the Norwegian camp, before all that stuff happens. You get to see how it happens — that’s the reverse engineering there. The way we approached it was by autopsy, where the director, producers and I pored over Carpenter’s film. We must have screened it two or three dozen times. And we’d freeze frames and have lengthy discussions about what evidence is there, that would lead to so much blood. It was a forensic discussion of Carpenter’s films. That’s probably where the whole “fire axe in the door” probably came from. Because we said, we have to justify that, we have to have a moment in our movie where you see that happen.

If we do this right — I just spoke on the phone today with [Producer] Eric Newman on the phone today, he’s on set up in Toronto [and] he said things are going well. But if we can pull this off, this movie will work perfectly [as] the first half of a double feature. So that the last shot of this film will be two Norwegians and a chopper chasing after a dog. And you can plug in Carpenter’s film and they will both feel and look as they have been made around the same time.

there are things that definitely called attention, [such as] dealing with the body in the chair. What we didn’t notice before was that it looked like both his throat and his wrists were slit. And there are a lot of papers scattered on the floor that Copper picks up. And the stuff that we looked at closely were the holes in the walls and on the ceiling, in various parts of the base. And this is how anal retentive we were, we wanted to justify what happened to cause all those holes, pieces and incidental damage. You just know some set guy that day [during the original filming] was like, “well it burned down, let’s put a hole here.” [Laughs].

But the one thing we’re not going to pull off well, because we realized it was just unrealistic and just one of those goofs, I guess, from Carpenter’s films, is when they get into that giant block of ice that’s been carved out. The way it’s been carved where it looks like they just dug into it like a chicken pot pie — it’s impossible to get something out of the ice like that. There are so many better ways to do it. So we deviated just a little bit from there, we tried to cover our tracks a little and justified it and showed that it can still work. But yes there are a couple of things where because we were logic cops all the way through this movie there are a handful of, “Wait a minute — how come… that doesn’t work at all?!”

How do you like them apples? He does seem to have a great love of the original and great they are looking at it so closely.

The other big problem is the creature effects. The original had superb practical effects that have yet to be beaten in my opinion. I am worried that the prequel will stick to CGI. However, it does look like they are staying faithful to what has gone before to show what has gone before.

When I came on board — like a writer has any authority to do so — but I went in like I did and I stomped my feet and banged my fist on the table and I said. I’m not going to write this if it’s going to be a CGI-fest. This has to be practical, this has to be an old school creature, as real as possible. Whatever CGI stuff it’s going to have, has to be as good as or better than that, we can’t get away with computer generated FX in this type of film.

Colour me excited but it sounds very cool.

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