AFI’s Night at the Movies: Kurt Russell and John Carpenter’s The Thing

AFI's Night at the Movies: The Thing header

It seems like John Carpenter and Kurt Russell have a knack for making awesome cult classic films, and The Thing is one of my favorite cult classic films of theirs. I remember watching this film without knowing anything about it. In my mind, The Thing was from the same guys who made one of my favorite films of all-time Big Trouble in Little China, so I expected an adventure film similar to that. Man, was I wrong. The film was one of the scariest films I watched as a kid, and it eventually became one of my favorites as well. To this day the film has some of the best creature effects done in the past 30 years.That’s why I was excited to finally get a chance to see the film in theaters. The event started with the arrival of the eleven guests of honor for the event – each guest of honor gave a introduction to their respective films. Such guests include Kurt Russell (The Thing), Harrison Ford (Blade Runner), Cher (Moonstruck), among others.

Target Presents AFI Night at the Movies - Group Photo

The very first of the eleven films to sell out at the AFI event, The Thing was the only film out of the eleven to not be successful in its first box office run. Which is weird because, as Kurt Russell said, The Thing is starting to become one of the greatest horror/sci-fi/suspense film of all-time. Kurt Russell then started talking about some of the funny behind-the-scenes stories that went on for the film.

My favorite part of the speech, by far, is when Kurt Russell started to talk about his experience with the infamous sombrero in the film. If you’ve ever watched The Thing you probably noticed that Russell’s character was wearing a ridiculous sombrero while investigating the crashed alien ship. Turns out Kurt Russell hated that sombrero, and was surprised that he had to wear that ridiculous looking headgear in the film. He thought that the sombrero was a joke. Kurt Russell ended up loving that sombrero though, just because of how much he hated it. I, for one, think that sombrero is awesome.

Kurt Russell and that sombrero

The other funny tidbit I got a kick from was the story about how the film ended up with zero females on the cast and crew. They shot the film in the Universal back lot during the summer. It was a 100 degrees plus outside and 27 degrees inside. This kind of mixture became a petrie dish for everyone on set getting sick. So eventually it whittled down to the lone female crew member (the script gal), who was pregnant at the time. They told her that she had to get out of there, “It’s a hostile environment.” Russell said. That left the cast and crew to just the men, and as Russell said, “very little posturing goes on with men with no women around.”

If you want to take a listen to both Jim Hosney and Kurt Russell’s speech, then check it out below!

Also, check out the gallery of the red carpet below!

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