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Old Oct 14, 2010, 10:04 AM   #1
Optimus Prime
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The Thing Prequel

I had heard rumors they were doing this after the video game came out, well, here's the first definate news I've read on filming. Not entirely sure if I like this idea.

By Don Kaye
Special to MSN Movies

It's warm in Toronto in June, but inside the sound stages of Pinewood Toronto, a special kind of frozen hell is being prepared. One stage is given over to exteriors covered in fake snow that looks alarmingly real, while the other has been constructed to resemble a maze of rooms and corridors that may look very familiar to science-fiction fans. The first time I saw these corridors, in fact (or a reasonable version of them) was in 1982, when John Carpenter's now-legendary version of "The Thing" first arrived in movie theatres.

The sets in Toronto are for a prequel to Carpenter's film, also called "The Thing," which will open next spring and tell the story of the Norwegian scientific team stationed in Antarctica that first discovers the ancient spacecraft buried in the ice from which the Thing is unleashed. Remember the beginning of Carpenter's movie, where a dog is running through the ice, being pursued by two surviving Norwegians in a helicopter, headed for an American camp? Theoretically, that is where this new "Thing" will end -- but the filmmakers have a few surprises up their sleeves.

For one, this "Thing" introduces a few Americans into the mix, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead ("Scott Pilgrim vs. the World") and Joel Edgerton ("Animal Kingdom"). Edgerton plays Carter, a helicopter pilot working for the Norwegians (all real Norwegians actors, by the way) and a rough equivalent to Kurt Russell's MacCready in Carpenter's movie. Winstead is Kate Lloyd, called to the Antarctic by a Norwegian colleague to determine what the team has found planted deep in the ice. It's safe to say that neither of them, nor Carter's associate Jameson (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), are going to like what they find.

The casting of Winstead -- there were no women in Carpenter's film -- indicates that first-time Dutch director Matthijs Van Heijningen is taking this new "Thing" down a couple of different paths. "It says that these are different characters in a similar scenario but it's not the same film," says Winstead on a break from prowling the set with a flamethrower. "Having a woman brings that different dynamic from the get-go. It's interesting 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 onto the base."


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