20 Things You Didn't Know About The Thing

Dissecting John Carpenter's grisly masterpiece.

The Thing

No discussion of the greatest sci-fi or horror films of all time is complete without mentioning John Carpenter's towering 1982 masterwork The Thing.

Based on John W. Campbell Jr.'s 1938 novella "Who Goes There?," and following the original 1951 adaptation The Thing from Another World, Carpenter's The Thing has held firm as one of the most blisteringly intense and unforgettably violent genre films of all time.

The crowning achievement of Carpenter's career - in a filmography including the likes of Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and They Live - The Thing is a rare film horror as technically groundbreaking as it is completely gut-wrenching.

But given that The Thing suffered through a botched initial release and largely endures today as a word-of-mouth cult fave, you'd be forgiven for missing some of the most fascinating stories about its creation.

From actors who very nearly appeared in the film to the mind-boggling intricacies of its sublime special effects, hidden Easter eggs, and everything in-between, you probably don't know these 20 essential facts about John Carpenter's The Thing...

20. Jeff Bridges & Nick Nolte Turned Down The Role Of MacReady

The Thing
United Artists & Warner Bros.

Impossible though it seems to imagine anyone else but Kurt Russell playing the part of protagonist R.J. MacReady, the role was actually offered to two other name actors before it came his way.

Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges were both given the opportunity to play MacReady but ended up turning it down for undisclosed reasons, while Kevin Kline was also briefly suggested by the studio, who felt the film needed greater star power.

Curiously, screenwriter Bill Lancaster actually wrote MacReady with the likes of Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood in mind, though it isn't public knowledge whether they were ever approached to appear.

Either way, Russell was clearly low down on a sizable list of lead actors, no matter his existing working relationship with Carpenter.


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