The Thing

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i just read anne billson's little bfi book abt this utterly terrific movie

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

john carpenter's i mean, not howard hawkses: new "you've got to be fucking kidding!!" answers

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

haha the biologist who goes crazy and builds a spaceship in a cave in the ice = called BLAIR do you SEE?

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"it's clobberin' time!"

jel --, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I wasn't entirely convinced by it.

i) how many Antartic research bases have flamethrowers and automatic weapons lying around?

ii) how come their base seems to have normal 24 hour days, despite being below the Antartic circle?

DV, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Sometime in 82 I went to the NFT to attend a John Carpenter/Guardian lecture. For some reason Carpenter had to drop out at the very last second, so instead he sent over a print of his just-completed new movie, 'the Thing'. It was an amazing experience to watch this film without any kind of prior knowledge - the incredible escalation of paranoia and isolation, plus Rob Bottin's mindblowing gore effects, which to my mind have never really been surpassed (so sad that CGI has now totally replaced the kind of mechanical effects that can be staged in front of a camera, in real time...)

The blood test scene is one of the greatest movie moments ever; terrific Morricone score (mostly electronic, IIRC, something of a rarity and an obv. trib to Carpenter); even Kurt Russell doing his Clint schtick was OK (I love the moment when he pours whiskey into his computer!) Plus a really sharp script by Burt Lancaster's son!

I used to really like Anne Bilson's film reviews in Time Out, although sadly her vampire nov was a bit rub. Still I think I'd like to read this too. What a great, great flick.

Andrew L, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

DV, Mac at the start of the film says "First week of winter" = presumably the seasons are just changing, hence the day is poised between 24 hours of light (midsummer) and 24 hours of dark (midwinter) => plausible

they need pistols and flamethrowers in case the norwegians invade (when amundsen landed in "scott"s sphere of operations" in 1911, there was serious if brief discussion of the possibility of invading the norwegian camp and disabling the amundsen exhibition = they had guns available, for stray polar bears?) (haha very stray: polar bears = arctic not anarctic) (and yeah, no flamethrowers) (but anyway don't the Carpenter lot soup up the flamethrower from some more ordinary oxy-acetylene torch gizmo?)

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

haha sorry DV i just realised how yr joke works

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

DVD commentary on the Thing is hilarious. Just get Russell and Carpenter together with some bouze and they will talk for hours.

The Thing is a masterful horror movie, which improves upon Hawks original by having a better monster (after all that giant carrot...) This body horror has never been bettered - the actual melting of people.....

Want to read this book. I want to read Quirke's Jaws book. I want to see more of these films with themed canapes and bouze afterwards.

Pete, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

haha sorry DV i just realised how yr joke works

ho ho, I didn't realise I was making a joke... I just can't stop being funny.

I agree with the points about mechanical rather than cgi effects. and there is a lot to like about the film.

it was slightly ruined for me by seeing it in a room with a load of sweaty horror fans, preceded by a documentary on Carpenter that had all the best bits in it. Which was annoying... I'd already heard about the "you gotta be fucking kidding" bit but had been at great pains not to spoil it for special friend Irene, and then the cockfarming documentary did it for me.

The Thing is still not as good as Assault On Precinct 13.

DV, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

DV's joke (version): "I found Night of the Living Dead unconvincing: no one wore shoes like that in 1968 in that part of America"

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

if you include when norris's thingified torso bites cooper's arms off *and* the blood tests, how many autopsies are there?

mark s, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Its this Thing.

Pete, Thursday, 15 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

the more i think abt it the bettah it is: among other things (hah!) it is an allegory of thread-life viz "us" vs the TROLL!! (who can mimic us by posting as us yet who if hangs round long enough just becomes one of us)

(the secret nagging question is: SO WHAT IF THE THING IMITATES US EXACTLY? If we are all turned into exact copies of ourselves, what has changed? "Go with the flow maan, resistance is futile... gooey tentacloid palps? bring em on!!")

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i have to get this on DVD like NOW!! and watch it TONIGHT!!

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Hawkses original is great too though and a brilliant comparison text (as is the original short story Who Goes There). It treats the scientist trying to communicate with the big carrot as a madman - it is fantastically hawkish to use the current definition of that word.

Arctic circle is a grebt place to set a vampire film btw.

Pete, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

haha he IS a madman he has a polo-neck sweater

i read the story when i was like 12 and it *really really* spooked me (the monster is described, apparently dead, in the first para, oh no!! it has THREE EYES!! OH NO!!): in the bit where they do the blood test, mcready is testing 35 ppl!! carpenter cuts it down to a slightly less pedantic four, i think

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

See also: Doctor Who and the Seeds of Doom

Alan Trewartha, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

mark s that film is an absolute FUCKING BELTER - the only bit I find a bit naff is the fx where the Dr's arms are supposed to have been bitten off, it looks really cheap and destroys the mood totally for a second - though what follows right away certainly re-establishes it.
I've been meaning to watch it again to check whether the end really does have that clue in it about the black guy having been taken over by thingness -I've got the DVD but no sodding DVD player yet arrrrgh. Also, do you think there's a clue as to where Blair gets infected ? I thought I spotted it the 1st time I watched the film. And are there any feministy crits of the film - is it regarded as quite odd in that there are no women in it atall? (though it's all the more 'realistic' for that)

Ray M, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

anne billson talks abt all those things in her little book!! the stuntman whose arms are "bitten off" has no arms in real life!! (or anyway stumps)

the gender thing she says was probably the last possible moment they could cast the way they did: actually not strictly speaking "realistic" (antarctic stations had been mixed sex since the 50s), it was for emotional-narrative focus as much as anything

the question of blair's infection is interesting, because so deliberately left ambiguous i. on hand he jumps to the "it's a shapeshifting alien much too quickly", ii. on the other, he destroys the helicopters/radio etc, iii. on the third hand he misdirects mac towards clark (who ends up being shot and then turning out NOT to have been thinged) => billson points out that the unspoken question is, if you become a thing and it becomes you, how much of YOUR behaviour wd be a mask and how much wd be real...

i suspect childs's thing-dom is kept exactly as ambiguous (and remember someone finds a bit of mac's torn clothing: so he's not out of the picture, just cz he's the hero => yes he's behaving mac-like, but then the thing-that-became-mac WOULD, to fool the others or fool us!!)

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

on the THIRD HAND do you SEE?!

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

creepy (if poorly rendered) picture by gustav doré which possibly inspired the most famous scene in the movie:

mark s, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Definately Carpenter's best movie. And the gore effects were definitive; I still can't get some of those images out of my head.

Sean, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"i'd rather not spend the rest of the winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!"

g-kit, Monday, 19 August 2002 08:45 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i have never seen this but i think i must. dvd 13 quid through amazon = i am v v tempted.

toby (tsg20), Monday, 19 August 2002 09:16 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I believe the dog is a bitch though.

Any other films with absolutely no women in at all. Actually - nu thread...

Pete, Monday, 19 August 2002 09:20 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

mark s I have just ordered that book from Amazon - but have just realised that since you recommended it I probably won't understand it.

Ray M (rdmanston), Thursday, 22 August 2002 17:22 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

it is very readable ray

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 22 August 2002 22:29 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I recently read the book in this series on Kon Ichikawa's An Actor's Revenge, and it was very good. Too short by a long way, and it rather skimmed some aspects of the film, but not at all difficult.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Friday, 23 August 2002 10:53 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...
the faculty!! when i saw this first (i cannot believe that) i did not twig it was an industrial-strength thing-hommage: it even has a "you gotta be fkn kidding" joke (sadly not a very good one) (the "fit in at school: become a hive-mind alien" joke is better sustained, including a even bleaker and more sardonic ending than "the thing" itself = the alien is defeated and all the interesting ppl who battled it have become squeaky-clean conformist pod ppl...)

(also it stars frodo)

mark s (mark s), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:11 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Yummy cute goth girl put that eyeliner back on!

Graham (graham), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:22 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I thought this was going to be a thread about DA THANG

vic (vicc13), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:23 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

and then they DON'T lez up = it is intended to be read a tragedy!!

(the caffeine (= coke obv) scene = brilliant loving parody of the scalpel/test-tubes scene)

mark s (mark s), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:25 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Oh you are talking baout that movie with Jordana Brewster?! I like it, even though it has Josh Hartnett on it

vic (vicc13), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:32 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

the gothgirl is cute but the end-result monster is lame

mark s (mark s), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:35 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Who is the goth gurl. I know its not Jordana OH i remembered is the gurl that ALWAYS plays goths. Jordana kiks her ass

vic (vicc13), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:41 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

clea duvall:

jordana = cookiecutter brunette "looker" zzzzz

mark s (mark s), Sunday, 8 September 2002 21:46 (sixteen years ago) Permalink


Hott brasilian-american with wonderful hair

and goth poseur(real goths have black hair)

Chupa-Cabras (vicc13), Sunday, 8 September 2002 22:02 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

clea was good in but im a cheerleader

boxcubed (boxcubed), Sunday, 8 September 2002 22:03 (sixteen years ago) Permalink


(Actually I only like her cos she reminds me of dreamy skate-punk princess Lois, who has way better hair)

Graham (graham), Sunday, 8 September 2002 22:49 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

five months pass...
Getting back to The Thing, there's an Antarctic blog called Big Dead Place that has a fun Antarctic-biased review of it

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Monday, 24 February 2003 23:53 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...
is this another of those "i watched the movie having read a long-ago thread on it then went back and looked at the thread and all these k-brill concepts i imagined were in the thread as i watched the move really were my own... OR WERE THEY?" moments? (I had a massive one with the Pullman series)

coz ok i just watched the movie and then "remembered" this whole mark s bit where he's totally sympathizing with the "thing" and spins this great hypothesis about how mcready is clearly "thing" but has decided by the strength of his will to be human that it doesn't matter. and also about how the "thing" is always in us, and in fact is our mutual fear and at the end, reduced to panic, everyone is reduced to "fire cleans all" which is as unscientific as you can get (and clearly the surface-opposition is science v. grotesque).

also about how blair ceases to panic and becomes "okay" when he reaches the same conclusion w/r/t the "thing" -- i.e. that it doesn't matter.

all of which i guess is part of the "so what if the thing imitates us exactly" except it's also all the BAD things the thing does are entirely human. except the thing gets to make k-cool spaceships too!

i may also have read all this elsewhere.

okay I need to read the book and see "the faculty" now.

also the initial scene with the thing and the dogs is totally horrifying as is the arms-getting-chomped scene, and the way the narrative closure with the two burned stations kicks this whole "statement of human nature" thing into high-gear.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 06:21 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

all my best work = completely in other people's hedz

(if true, this is the coolest thing evah btw) (best aspect: it can be totally real and totally unproveable simultaneously)

mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 14:51 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

You can make this help you vis a vis If...the book: find a head, open it up and scoop out contents, put CPU of your computah in the hole and you will bne

Pete (Pete), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 16:34 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'm sad because Jel stole by joke.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 17:44 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Its this thing.

Pete (Pete), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 17:45 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(I hab a code.)

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 17:46 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

okay check this too -- thing only strikes between individuals, not in a group, so v. v. obv that which lurks behind the veneer of social convention and perfect candidate for Lacanian reading w/r/t "there is no big Other" i.e. that the rules of interaction of the crew are a necessary fiction, reinforced when everyone thinks mcready is the thing but follow him anyway. hence the basis of their downfall is their exile of blair -- safer to stay close to the thing than let it lurk.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 17:53 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"also about how blair ceases to panic and becomes "okay" when he reaches the same conclusion w/r/t the "thing" -- i.e. that it doesn't matter"

I thought that Blair WAS a "thing" by that point, that it had assimilated him just before he could hang himself (a noose in the background, isn't there?). But according to this, realising a lack of difference between the thing and the not-thing = becoming the thing-in-itself?

Neil Willett (Neil Willett), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 20:13 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I saw "The Thing" again recently. Popular art-rockers ESTEL were using it as visuals to a concert of theirs. I was sitting beside a guy who had never seen it before, and his "HOLY FUCK" reaction to the "You've got to be fucking kidding" bit was a joy to behold.

so maybe I do like this film after all.

DV (dirtyvicar), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 23:21 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

there was a solid Thing reference in the crossword i did today

festival culture (Jordan), Wednesday, 4 September 2013 21:15 (five years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

I want to see a re-edited version of this from the alien's perspective. It's only our anthrocentrism that prevents us from seeing it as the protagonist doing its best to survive in a hostile world.

What's Your Definition of a Dirty Baby? (Old Lunch), Saturday, 4 June 2016 00:59 (two years ago) Permalink

Read Peter Watts's award-winning short story 'The Things', which is free online... It does that very thing

🐸a hairy howling toad torments a man whose wife is deathly ill (James Morrison), Saturday, 4 June 2016 01:15 (two years ago) Permalink

Sweet, thanks!

What's Your Definition of a Dirty Baby? (Old Lunch), Saturday, 4 June 2016 01:26 (two years ago) Permalink

Peter Watts! I'm reading Blindsight rn!

every day, be sure you're woke (bernard snowy), Saturday, 4 June 2016 02:23 (two years ago) Permalink

Excellent book

Star Wars ate shiitake (latebloomer), Saturday, 4 June 2016 02:40 (two years ago) Permalink

I want to see a re-edited version of this from the alien's perspective. It's only our anthrocentrism that prevents us from seeing it as the protagonist doing its best to survive in a hostile world.

― What's Your Definition of a Dirty Baby? (Old Lunch), Friday, June 3, 2016 7:59 PM (2 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i feel like the alien franchise occasionally gives you an opportunity to imagine this, even if it doesn't recenter (or re-focalize, to use some jargon) the movie around the alien's subjectivity.

wizzz! (amateurist), Sunday, 5 June 2016 05:16 (two years ago) Permalink

the thing is different, though, in that it leaves open the possiblity that one might simultaneously be the thing and 100% oneself. it only becomes a threat when we treat it as one.

the world over the crotch. (contenderizer), Sunday, 5 June 2016 05:30 (two years ago) Permalink

^best remake imo

Roz, Sunday, 5 June 2016 08:46 (two years ago) Permalink

Yeah, the Thing just wanted to be left alone to rebuild its spaceship and go home, right? And then these stupid humans keep showing up with flamethrowers, trying to fuck its shit up. It's like ET, if ET occasionally morphed into a horrific toothy monster. "Just let me go home!"

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 5 June 2016 13:04 (two years ago) Permalink

The Things read by Kate Baker.

Abandon hype all ye who enter here (Sanpaku), Sunday, 5 June 2016 13:14 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

A yearly tradition at the South Pole is the winter-over crew watching "The Thing" right after the last flight for the summer leaves. Here is a picture of the yearly showing in the gym #southpole #winter #Xenophobia #science

— South Pole Telescope (@SPTelescope) February 26, 2018

mark s, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 10:13 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm surprised they're watching the original there

Screamin' Jay Gould (The Yellow Kid), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 12:30 (one year ago) Permalink

Decided to watch the Carpenter Thing tonight, and decided it's flawless

In space, pizza sends out for YOU (Ste), Thursday, 1 March 2018 01:18 (one year ago) Permalink

there's a new The Thing board game, pretty fun!

It's not delivery, it's Adorno! (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 1 March 2018 02:29 (one year ago) Permalink

eight months pass...


flappy bird, Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:07 (six months ago) Permalink

Wait, is this a reaction to your first viewing? Will reserve my jealousy pending confirmation.

a butt, at which the shaft of ridicule is daily glanced (Old Lunch), Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:24 (six months ago) Permalink


flappy bird, Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:41 (six months ago) Permalink

36 years later and it still gets this reaction. I love it!

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:48 (six months ago) Permalink

Fantastic. Officially jealous now.

A little tidbit of trivia I never tire of:

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Release date: June 11, 1982)
The Thing (Release date: June 25, 1982)

'Four for the movie about the alien, please. You kids are gonna love this!'

a butt, at which the shaft of ridicule is daily glanced (Old Lunch), Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:58 (six months ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

i stand by my "12 Angry Men" vs an alien thought upthread.

i read something online recently trying to speculate when and how those who became "things" actually did. I guess the shadow we see when the dog enters that room near the beginning is intended to be Palmer, but the audience isn't supposed to realize that. idk either way.

all i know is the dog in that scene is an incredible actor. goes to one door, stops, looks towards another door, walks slowly to the other door, pauses, then enters.

omar little, Friday, 30 November 2018 20:52 (five months ago) Permalink

I guess the shadow we see when the dog enters that room near the beginning is intended to be Palmer

I don't think anything in the film gives a clear indication of who gets infected first, which is v deliberate

Οὖτις, Friday, 30 November 2018 22:27 (five months ago) Permalink

i had read something online from a producer who had said it was supposed to be Palmer originally and in fact had planned on using David Clennon, but his shadow was too identifiable. So they used another crew member. And as a result it's left pretty vague and works a lot better, of course. It's funny though bc i always thought the shadow looked like Charles Hallahan.

omar little, Friday, 30 November 2018 23:02 (five months ago) Permalink

Hallahan died of a heart attack back in the late '90s, I wonder if any medics showed up on the scene and were wary about using a defibrillator...

omar little, Friday, 30 November 2018 23:04 (five months ago) Permalink

it was here:


...was intended to be Palmer. At the time of filming David Clennon's silhouette was considered too distinct, a dead giveaway. Cinematographer Dean Cundey tried to soften the edges to diffuse the image, but in the end John used stunt coordinator Dick Warlock to throw everyone off the scent...

The scene as originally written ended with the shadow figure uttering a barely decipherable "Hello, Boy" and the door slamming shut from the inside. Additionally, this is the last piece of an originally much longer sequence that had the dog weaving its way through the radio room, storeroom, kitchen and hallway, methodically surveying the scene. Beautifully shot by John, as seen in one piece it had the effect of establishing the camp geography from a dogs eye point of view. Great stuff, but John felt it slowed the story up and cut it down, with only small pieces used ( The brush against Bennings underneath the rec room table, for instance )...

the whole blog is interesting on the behind-the-scenes.

omar little, Friday, 30 November 2018 23:18 (five months ago) Permalink

the dog does do some crazy good acting, it's true

Οὖτις, Friday, 30 November 2018 23:20 (five months ago) Permalink

man i would love to see an alternate edit of this movie using unused stuff, ANY alternate edit, just to live in that world but with a different skew would be so cool

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 1 December 2018 00:29 (five months ago) Permalink

(which is kinda what i thought we'd be getting in the prequel but erm)

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 1 December 2018 00:29 (five months ago) Permalink

Iirc the dog was the same one in that Ethan Hawke film White Fang

avoid drinking on an empty liver (fionnland), Saturday, 1 December 2018 00:42 (five months ago) Permalink

it's true:

omar little, Saturday, 1 December 2018 00:46 (five months ago) Permalink

wow he lived to a good old age

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Saturday, 1 December 2018 00:53 (five months ago) Permalink

Watched this properly for the first time a couple of days ago.

Never changed username before (cardamon), Saturday, 1 December 2018 10:48 (five months ago) Permalink

good thread

mark s, Saturday, 1 December 2018 10:51 (five months ago) Permalink

The part that is fx is astonishing. Also the part that is acting is astonishing. The dog's acting is astonishing.

It's so grim.

The flying saucer was buried in the Antarctic for thousands of years.

Never changed username before (cardamon), Saturday, 1 December 2018 21:51 (five months ago) Permalink

I love how it just freestyles with body.

Never changed username before (cardamon), Saturday, 1 December 2018 21:54 (five months ago) Permalink

Not enough repping for the commentary track itt, which is one of the all-time best.

all lite up and very romatic (Old Lunch), Saturday, 1 December 2018 22:19 (five months ago) Permalink

commentary is so enjoyable & great

next to Frankenheimer’s film-school-esque commentary for Ronin, the Thing commentary is an all time favorite

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 1 December 2018 23:21 (five months ago) Permalink

the casting wiki on this is fascinating:

Kurt Russell was involved in the production before being cast, helping Carpenter develop his ideas.[20] Russell was the last actor to be cast, in June 1981, by which point second unit filming was starting in Juneau, Alaska.[20][21] Carpenter had worked with Russell twice before, but wanted to keep his options open. Discussions with the studio involved using actors Christopher Walken, Jeff Bridges, or Nick Nolte, who were either unavailable or declined, and Sam Shepard, who showed interest but was never pursued. Tom Atkins and Jack Thompson were strong early and late contenders for the role of MacReady, but the decision was made to go with Russell.[21] In part, Carpenter cited the practicality of choosing someone he had found reliable before, and who would not balk at the difficult filming conditions.[22] It took Russell about a year to grow his hair and beard out for the role.[23] At various points, the producers met with Brian Dennehy, Kris Kristofferson, John Heard, Ed Harris, Tom Berenger, Jack Thompson, Scott Glenn, Fred Ward, Peter Coyote, Tom Atkins, and Tim McIntyre. Some passed on the idea of starring in a monster film, while Dennehy became the choice to play Copper.[21] Each actor was to be paid $50,000, but after the more-established Russell was cast, his salary increased to $400,000.[11]

Geoffrey Holder, Carl Weathers, and Bernie Casey were considered for the role of Childs, and Carpenter also looked at Isaac Hayes, having worked with him on Escape from New York. Ernie Hudson was the front-runner and was almost cast until they met with Keith David.[24] The Thing was David's first film, and coming from a theater background, he had to learn on set how to hold himself back and not show every emotion his character was feeling, with guidance from Richard Masur and Donald Moffat in particular. Masur and David discussed their characters in rehearsals and decided that they would not like each other.[25] For Blair, the team chose the then-unknown Wilford Brimley, as they wanted an everyman whose absence would not be questioned by the audience until the appropriate time. The intent with the character was to have him become infected early on off-screen, so that his status would be unknown to the audience, concealing his intentions. Carpenter wanted to cast Donald Pleasence, but it was decided that he was too recognizable to accommodate the role.[26] T. K. Carter was cast as Nauls, but comedian Franklyn Ajaye also came in to read for the role. Instead, he delivered a lengthy speech about the character being a stereotype, after which the meeting ended.[27]

Bottin lobbied hard to play Palmer, but it was deemed impossible for him to do so alongside his existing duties. As the character has some comedic moments, Universal brought in comedians Jay Leno, Garry Shandling, and Charles Fleischer, among others, but opted to go with actor David Clennon, who was better suited to play the dramatic elements.[28] Clennon had read for the Bennings character, but he preferred the option of playing Palmer's "blue-collar stoner" to a "white collar science man".[25] Powers Boothe,[2] Lee Van Cleef, Jerry Orbach, and Kevin Conway were considered for the role of Garry, and Richard Mulligan was also considered when the production experimented with the idea of making the character closer to MacReady in age.[29] Masur also read for Garry, but he asked to play Clark instead, as he liked the character's dialogue and was also a fan of dogs. Masur worked daily with the wolfdog Jed and his handler, Clint Rowe, during rehearsals, as Rowe was familiarizing Jed with the sounds and smells of people. This helped Masur's and Jed's performance on-screen, as the dog would stand next to him without looking for its handler. Masur described his character as one uninterested in people, but who loves working with dogs. He went to a survivalist store and bought a flip knife for his character, and used it in a confrontation with David's character.[25] Masur turned down a role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to play Clark.[30] William Daniels and Dennehy were both interested in playing Dr. Copper, and it was a last-second decision by Carpenter to go with Richard Dysart.[29]

omar little, Thursday, 6 December 2018 00:45 (five months ago) Permalink

Omg @ Shandling

Οὖτις, Thursday, 6 December 2018 00:49 (five months ago) Permalink

Yeah the potential casting of Leno/Shandling is making my brain reimagine that would’ve gone.

Also, thanks for posting that blog up thread. Great, informative read!

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Thursday, 6 December 2018 01:35 (five months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

R.I.P. to Donald Moffat, aka Garry

omar little, Friday, 21 December 2018 23:32 (five months ago) Permalink

"Was wondering when El Capitan was gonna get a chance to use his pop gun."

RIP, will rescreen this weekend.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 22 December 2018 05:39 (five months ago) Permalink

(also, realizing Childs was Cameron Diaz' stepfather in There's Something About Mary is kinda jarring in retrospect.)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 22 December 2018 05:41 (five months ago) Permalink

okay rescreened last night... Garry delivers one of the best lines in the film:

"I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I'd rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!"

Still so classic. Kinda forget how great the exterior shots are on this. Also, need to track down the Director's Commentary again.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 24 December 2018 18:06 (five months ago) Permalink

To me, great as it is, that's not even Moffat's best line in the movie. I love the way he says, "I know Bennings. I've known him for ten years. He's my friend."

grawlix (unperson), Monday, 24 December 2018 18:12 (five months ago) Permalink

I recently read that he came up with that line as an ad-lib, he wanted to add more to make the scene and the incident more personal.

Moffat was great in everything, I wish I'd seen him on stage since apparently he was really something as a theater actor. And he made for a fine, absurd, satirical version of LBJ in The Right Stuff (hardly historically accurate but funny) and a perfectly smarmy and duplicitous president in Clear and Present Danger.

omar little, Monday, 24 December 2018 20:13 (five months ago) Permalink

Whoa - didn’t know that was him as LBJ.

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 24 December 2018 23:28 (five months ago) Permalink

Omar, thanks for that background on the movie!

Groove(box) Denied (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 25 December 2018 00:24 (five months ago) Permalink

you're welcome and hey, merry christmas

omar little, Tuesday, 25 December 2018 01:44 (five months ago) Permalink


Okay, I made the mistake of re-screening the prequel/reboot which starts off nice enough, subtly controlled pacing and enough nods and believable plot mechanics until the 3rd act which is complete garbage. The final boss is such a CGI embarrassment I can't even believe this was made by a major studio, basically lacking in everything that makes the original film a classic. Woof!

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 28 December 2018 19:59 (four months ago) Permalink

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