13

And/or did he in any way collaborate with the 2011 movie?

Did he endorse it/the script or anything about it in any way?

Has he publicly commented on it in any way?

  • 2
    This seems like a question better suited for Movies.SE – David Starkey Apr 13 '16 at 13:39
  • 2
    @Fiksdal calm down please, my question was meant in curiosity and not in snark. As for your question: Assuming another company had acquired the legal rights to the story (a not unreasonable possibility) and decided to do a prequel (remembering that it was originally a short story), then no, I don't see Universal having a leg to stand on. So you're comparing the director (who has no legal rights to the film, the studios do) of one movie with a separate movie; he has no legal authority to state anything aside from perhaps "this is not my movie" or "I like/hate it." – Broklynite Apr 13 '16 at 14:48
  • 2
    @Fiksdal This might be a case where there is overlap. Generally you ask on the site you believe the experts for your question would be. I think of this site being more in-universe questions while Movies.SE would be more "behind the scenes". However, if there was an out-of-universe question about something like Star Trek, I'd imagine the experts to answer it would be here. This Meta seems to suggest leaving it here, though. – David Starkey Apr 13 '16 at 14:57
  • 1
    @WadCheber you want me to remind you? – Revetahw Apr 18 '16 at 4:03
  • 1
    @WadCheber Hehe, I'll try, but I have to admit that I'm somewhat forgetful myself. – Revetahw Apr 18 '16 at 4:29
8

TL;DR: Yes, he's commented on the prequel a number of times, but what little he has said about it ranges from noncommittal to mildly negative. As to whether he "gave the prequel his blessing", the answer seems to depend on who you ask.

Stuart Cohen, producer of the 1982 Carpenter film, put it this way in a Reddit AMA:

My official comment on the remake is the same as John Carpenters: no comment...
- Stuart Cohen, Reddit AMA


Note: All emphasis in the quotes below is mine

John Carpenter, in a fan site Q&A; he says he didn't give it his blessing and prefers other spin offs of his movie:

Q. There are rumours going about that you a) gave the producers of The Thing Prequel your blessing and b) you were being lined up for a cameo role - is there any truth to these rumours or are they just lies?

A. And the rumors are not true.

And:

Q. If you had made a sequel to The Thing back in the mid to late 80's, where would you have set it? In a city? Some other isolated location? Would you have even bothered had the opportunity arose for you to take up the helm and expand on the mythology? More over, what things do you think would be cool or interesting to add to the creature? Do you think adding to the list of peculiar things it could, would, and would not do would make for a more interesting alien/monster, or are you more for the mystery and leaving it ambiguous?

A. The best THE THING 2 story, I believe, was in the Dark Horse limited series comic book published in the 80's. It began with MacReady and Childs walking over the icy landscape....

John Carpenter in an interview; he clearly says no one consulted him regarding the prequel:

Q: When The Thing prequel was announced there was a lot of speculation about whether it was a remake or a reboot or a prequel and a lot of people were really up in arms that it was happening it all because your film is pretty much considered gospel. Were you at all involved in that process, when people were deciding whether they should do it and what it should look like?

A: No, no one asked me anything. Universal owns the movie and I was just a hired gun on that film. And it’s odd to hear you say it’s gospel because that movie was hated when it came out, mainly by the fans. It was amazing. So it’s surprising for me to hear you say that people have any kind of care for it because it sure wasn’t cared for when it first came out.

Another interview with Carpenter; this one took place while the prequel was in production; note that he knows less about the prequel than the interviewer does:

Q: You know I went to the set of the prequel of THE THING that Universal is doing and...

A: Oh yeah? How did it look?

Q: From what I saw it looked good. I don’t know what the final product will look like. To me it really depends… You can do a lot of modernizing when you revisit something like The Thing, but especially since this is a prequel, they have to match your style and the tone and feel of your film if they want it to truly lead into it. The director told me that what he would like to do is he would love for audiences to end THE THING prequel and immediately start your film and have it be one continuous story. I think that they end this film with the Norwegian chasing the dog. I hope it works.

A: Right, got it. Well, I know they have a photo of a very attractive looking girl with a flamethrower in her hands.

Q: Yes.

A: Now how bad can this movie be? (laughs) I saw that and said, “This has to be great!”

Q: I read an early draft of the script. I don’t know how much was changed, but it kind of surprised me how much I liked it because I went in there very cynically. I’m not opposed to remakes, obviously I love your remake, but I went in kind of with a “prove it” attitude and when I read the script it was actually very smart in how it took some of the conventions of your film and turned them on their head.

A: Eric Newman is a very talented producer. I like him a lot and he has always been very nice and very forthcoming, so there’s a lot of intelligence behind the project.

Q: He struck me as a genuine fan. He didn’t seem to be trying to do a remake or a reboot or a prequel just to cash in on a known property.

A: This is Hollywood, okay. It’s about commerce. Let’s never forget that.

A brief blurb from Carpenter, speaking to Digital Spy:

Universal has made a prequel to The Thing. They've already shot it. It's a prequel to my film and I didn't have anything to do with it. So I don't know what to say. That's their choice.

A tweet from Carpenter, on October 16, 2011 (quoted on a fan site for the prequel); he says he hasn't even seen the prequel:

I haven’t seen THE THING prequel. I hope it’s good. One improvement on my movie: they have a babe, a very talented actress.


Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., director of the prequel, in a fan site Q&A:

Q: What were the main reasons to keep away Carpenter from the film?

A: We didn’t keep him away. He gave his blessings but wanted to stay away.

And:

Q: Have you spoken with John Carpenter since the release of your movie? And, if so, what input did he have for you?

A: No I haven’t. He gave his blessings and that was it.


Stuart Cohen, co-producer of The Thing (1982), in a fan site Q&A; Cohen's strained relationship with his former partner David Foster leads him to remain silent regarding the prequel:

Q: Mr Cohen, I know that the film isn't released yet but what are your thoughts on the upcoming prequel?

A: My former partner [producer David Foster] is involved, so no comment...


David Foster, producer of both movies, in an interview; Foster describes Carpenter's attitude towards the prequel before it was made:

Q: If the original film wasn’t successful at the box office, why return to it in a sense?

A: It’s a different time. I think genre films are much more attractive to audiences today than they were back then. John Carpenter and I became friends on The Thing and this is the second movie of his that I’ve ‘remade.’

We redid The Fog and John’s attitude is amazing. I called him one day and said, ‘Why don’t we remake The Fog?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, go ahead, make me rich!’

John’s attitude is that he will personally never remake any of his films. He said, ‘I’ve done them once; that was my vision of the film. I’m happy to be a producer with you, and we can work together with the writer on the script, but I don’t want to talk to the director if it’s possible, because I don’t want him to think I’m looking over his shoulder.’ His attitude is that this is Matthijs’ vision of the movie he wants to make and it’s not the same story.



Conclusion:

Carpenter says he had nothing to do with the prequel and didn't even give it his blessing, but also didn't try to prevent it from being made (presumably because he had no legal right to do so).

Van Heijningen says Carpenter had nothing to do with the prequel, but did give it his blessing; since Carpenter denies this, we might assume that, at most, Carpenter said something like "Good luck".

Foster doesn't mention any blessings being given, but confirms the fact that Carpenter was not involved in the prequel in any way.

21

From a Q&A that John Carpenter did, this is all I could find so far.

Q. There are rumours going about that you a) gave the producers of The Thing Prequel your blessing and b) you were being lined up for a cameo role - is there any truth to these rumours or are they just lies?

A. And the rumors are not true.

One more comment from an article including an interview with him

(He has nothing to do with The Thing prequel, though he admires one part of the filmmakers’ strategy: “I had an all-male cast,” he says. “I think they’ve got a few babes, which will be helpful.”)

Def seems to suggest he was not massively onboard!

  • 4
    Yeah, that suggests he did not give his blessings. – Revetahw Apr 13 '16 at 10:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.