Read our exclusive interview with actress Kim Bubbs, who plays geologist Juliette in the upcoming sci-fi horror movie ‘The Thing,’ which is set to hit theaters on October 14, 2011. The film follows an investigative team as it discovers and studies an alien craft that lands at its research site in Antarctica. The film, which was directed by Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr., serves as the prequel to helmer John Carpenter’s 1982 movie of the same name. The actress, who has made a name for herself appearing on such television movies as ‘A Near Death Experience’ and ‘Her Only Child,’ discusses with us, among other things, why she was attracted to the role of Juliette, and how the prequel is different than the original film.
Shockya (SY): You portray Juliette in the upcoming horror film ‘The Thing.’ What part does Juliette play in the study of the alien craft?
Kim Bubbs (KB): Juliette is a geologist at Thule Station, the Norwegian base in Antarctica. She, along with her colleagues, takes part in the initial study and retrieval of the alien craft and its specimen. This is new territory for all involved, and she gathers scientific data to better understand this new discovery.
SY: What was it about the script that convinced you to take the role of Juliette?
KB: I thought the idea for the prequel was an excellent opportunity to explain what had happened at the Norwegian base. In (John) Carpenter’s film, we witness the horrific aftermath and can only imagine what could have occurred. Our film delves into uncovering what took place and explains the mystery. I also loved the fact that there are two women this time around, and that both of them are intelligent and strong.
SY: The film serves as a prequel to the classic 1982 movie of the same name, which was directed by Carpenter and starred Kurt Russell. The premise of the two films is virtually the same, except the original featured a dog having the ability to take over other bodies, as opposed to the alien in the prequel. What other characteristics makes your film unique from the original?
KB: The great thing about this film is that it not only serves as a prequel to Carpenter’s movie but, it also has its own true identity as a film. It’s viewed from a different perspective and it solves pieces of the puzzle created in the 1982 film. Of course, since it has to make sense as a prequel, there are many similar elements to Carpenter’s version, but it is very much its own film.
SY: While preparing to portray Juliette, what type of research did you do?
KB: I read several books written by scientists working in Antarctica, such as: Mountains of Madness: A Scientist’s Odyssey in Antarctica by John Long. It gave me insight into his work on the continent and the challenges scientists face there due to the weather and the isolation. I also watched films, and Werner Herzog’s documentary ‘Encounters at the End of the World’ is a great film that really gives you a sense of the landscape and what life is like for scientists living in Antarctica.
SY: Carpenter is also known for directing and writing other classic horror films, such as ‘Halloween’ and ‘The Fog.’ Where there any scenes or overall characteristics that he used as a filmmaker throughout the course of his career that influenced your portrayal of Juliette in ‘The Thing?’
KB: Above all, we really wanted the characters to be authentic and believable. These are regular people who are completely unequipped to handle a situation of this magnitude. Carpenter’s characters always come across as regular people and I think that that’s what adds to the horror element. We identify with the characters and can easily imagine ourselves in the same situation. These are terrifying things happening to ordinary people.
SY: While filming, did you feel any obligation to honor or stay true to the original movie, or did you and the rest of the cast have the freedom to portray the characters the way you saw most fitting?
KB: Much care was taken to honor Carpenter’s vision. He did such phenomenal work and his film is a cult-classic and highly regarded by so many fans. We really wanted to pay homage to Carpenter and incorporate many elements of his film. We wanted our film to blend with the original, while adding some more modern special effects and story elements that allow it to stand on its own.
SY: In the prequel, Mary Elizabeth Winstead portrays the lead character, Kate Lloyd, who pursues the alien life form. She’s known for appearing in several other horror films, including ‘Final Destination 3,’ ‘Black Christmas’ and ‘Death Proof.’ What was your working relationship with her like while filming ‘The Thing?’
KB: I adore Mary! I can’t say enough great things about her. She’s so talented, professional, smart and incredibly sweet. It was such a pleasure working with her.
SY: Besides movies, you have also appeared in several television series and TV movies throughout your career, including last year’s ‘Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures.’ How is appearing on television different than appearing in movies? Is one medium more demanding than the other?
KB: Television is definitely more fast-paced in terms of shooting, but every medium has its challenges. With every project, you are working in a new environment with new people and it’s a whole new experience. What I really love about this industry is that it’s never boring!
SY: What are the most surprising aspects of filming a horror film, and do you have any interest in returning to the genre in the future? Or would you like to return to television?
KB: I was truly amazed by the special effects work on the set of ‘The Thing.’ It’s an absolute art form. Regardless of the medium, if there’s a good story and good writing, that’s what makes a project interesting. I like working on a variety of projects. I have a film coming out in 2012 that’s a complete departure from ‘The Thing.’ It’s called ‘On the Road,’ and it’s based on Jack Kerouac’s novel of the same name. It’s got a phenomenal cast (Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams) and is directed by Walter Salles (‘The Motorcycle Diaries’). That’s the beauty of this business; you can experience so many different things.
Written by: Karen Benardello