Over at the Los Angeles Times, Patrick Goldstein takes a look at Universal’s “remake” of THE THING, which is set to start shooting on Friday. The bad news is that the way Universal has trashed their monster movie legacy in the past few years (with VAN HELSING and THE WOLFMAN) engenders little hope for another remake. The good news is that the new version will be less remake than prequel, telling the story of the ill-fated Norwegian research team, whose deaths are only hinted at in John Carpenter’s 1982 film.
Goldstein interviews producers Marc Abraham and Eric Newman, who did a decent job with the 2004 remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD. Their production will be budgeted at $38-million, most going for special effects, with Matthijs Van Heijningen Jr directing a cast of mostly unknown actors (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton).
I’m cautiously optimistic about “The Thing,” especially after hearing that the filmmakers have Carpenter’s blessing to try their hand at a new version of its story.* “I’d be the first to say no one should ever try to do ‘Jaws’ again and I certainly wouldn’t want to see anyone remake ‘The Exorcist,’ ” says Newman. “And we really felt the same way about ‘The Thing.’ It’s a great film. But once we realized there was a new story to tell, with the same characters and the same world, but from a very different point of view, we took it as a challenge. It’s the story about the guys who are just ghosts in Carpenter’s movie — they’re already dead. But having Universal give us a chance to tell their story was irresistible.”
- Considering Carpenter’s self-mockingly mercenary comments about the HALLOWEEN sequels, not to mention the numerous remakes of his films, I imagine his blessing is based on the check he cashed.