I recently got the amazing chance to interview actor, Jonathan Walker, currently starring in the film, “The Thing.” He talked with me about why he became an actor, the world of sci-fi, and his new movie.
Actor Jonathan Lloyd Walker stars in the Universal feature film “The Thing”, a prequel to the iconic 1982 John Carpenter film of the same name. “The Thing” is set in Antarctica, an extraordinary, but isolated, continent of awesome beauty. It is also home to an isolated outpost, where a discovery full of scientific possibility becomes a mission of survival when a creature is unearthed by a crew of international scientists. The film is set to be released in theaters October 14th, 2011.
So your new role is in the film, “The Thing”, what can you tell us about the film?
It’s a prequel to the Carpenter film from 1982 and it tells the story of the Norwegians who found the frozen alien ship and corpse first and what happens to them as a result. We fill in the gaps that were hinted at in the Carpenter movie.
What was your favorite part about shooting this film?
I love working with an ensemble. We had a bunch of actors from all over the world and the energy and clash of styles made the work that much more interesting. Plus I got to be part of a premise and a subject matter I love.
Do you think this film, as a prequel will stay true to the Carpenter film?
I know it will. We worked hard to create a companion piece to that film, not a rip-off. The number of times we all sat around a monitor referencing the prior movie just so that everything we did matched up perfectly…it was a labour of love.
How does it feel to work on such an anticipated film?
I would rather work on a film with such a fervent fan base than on something nobody has a concept of. It’s a great challenge, one I took very seriously and like all the fans I’m eager to see the finished film. I hope it lives up to my expectations as well as everyone else’s.
Were you a fan of the original film, The Thing From Another World (1951) or the Carpenter Film (1982)?
I have read the novella but never seen the Hawkes film. The Carpenter movie is burned in my memory because I saw it as a teenager and it impacted me profoundly. I wasn’t one of these fans who discovered it years later on video…I paid to see it on the big screen and it was an epiphinal experience.
The original 1951 film is based on the book, “Who Goes There?” but how do you feel about book to movie remakes?
They are always tricky because the reader creates such a vivid movie in their own mind from reading that it often proves difficult to please a wide cross section of those fans with a film adaptation. However recently there have been wonderful genre book adaptations like “Lord of the Rings” and the Harry Potter movies that I believe prove it can be done.
What has been your favorite movie that was based on a book?
If I stick with sci-fi I’d have to say Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (aka Bladerunner). Outside of that I’m partial to Heart of Darkness (aka Apocalypse Now) and Fight Club
Are there any books you love that you wish would become a movie?
I grew up reading the various series of books by authors like Piers Anthony and Terry Brooks. Any of them would make fantastic films and I’m surprised that hasn’t happened yet.
Are there any directors you would like to work with in the future?
I came close to working with Guillermo del Toro and that would have been a wonderful experience. I’ve also narrowly missed the chance to work with some of the great Canadian directors like Robert LePage and David Cronenberg…so I would love that to happen one day. A real coup for me would be to work with David Fincher…I’m such a big fan. Ultimately I crave the opportunity to work with any great director who not only has a real passion and vision for their work but who also understands an actor’s craft and wants to collaborate with me rather than place me like furniture.
You have acted in many different projects from different genres, what’s your favorite genre to work in?
My corner stone is sci-fi. It’s what made me want to write and act in this crazy business. Science fiction is what ignited my imagination as a boy more than anything else. I love to work in the genre whenever I can…but I would much rather work on quality projects than bad ones. Bad sci-fi is worse than any other bad project in any other genre.
Any new projects your going to work on that you can tell us about?
I’m currently writing for a T.V. series in development for GK Films in L.A. and Shaw Media in Canada called “Out of Time”. It’s a show about a cop from 2077 who is catapulted back in time to our present day along with 9 mass murderers who escaped justice. She has to hunt them down while she tries to preserve the time line that will hopefully one day lead her home to her own time, her husband and child. I’m working alongside a legendary writer of the sci-fi genre Sam Egan so that’s a personal coup.