Director Matthijs van Heijningen Interview THE THING

     October 8, 2011


The prequel to the remake of the adaptation, Matthijs van Heijningen’s The Thing certainly has a lot of material to draw from.  John Campbell’s iconic tale of an Arctic research team uncovering and releasing a shape-shifting alien first adapted via Hawks/Nyby as a commentary on science run amuck, then re-imagined as the great “who-am-I” existential horror by John Carpenter, now finds new life over twenty years later as a thinly veiled attack on national/cultural divides.  What would happen if a bunch of Norwegians and Americans were stuck in a room with an alien who could be any one of them?  The answer: not much good…

In the following interview, director Heijningen takes exception to my assertion that his Thing has more in common with Carpenter’s then the other Things, speaks about the cultural divides at the heart of his version and previews the horror-comedy he hopes to make in the future.  Of note: the interview/press-junket was held at the newly opened Thing maze in Universal Studios Hollywood.  Click through for the interview.

Matthijs van Heijningen

  • The haunted Thing maze for his first feature
  • There are a few versions of The Thing but the prequel mostly draws from the Carpenter film
  • How a difference between the versions is how Heijningen’s focuses on the cultural divide. Also talks about being a foreign filmmaker adapting an American property
  • Did he find himself siding with one side over another
  • What is he thinking about doing in the future


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