Exclusive: Kim Bubbs on the New Prequel - "The Thing"

Exclusive Interview with Kim Bubbs of The Thing
Interview by Jamie Ruby
Written by Jamie Ruby

Kim BubbsThe Canadian born actress Kim Bubbs has appeared in television series such as Twice in a Lifetime and InSecurity, and the miniseries Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. She has worked on films such as Her Only Child and A Flesh Offering. She has also lent her voice to video games such as the popular Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and the newly released Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

The actress can be seen in the upcoming films The Thing and On the Road.

Bubbs recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Jamie Ruby of SciFi Vision and MediaBlvd to talk about her upcoming projects.

Kim BubbsKim Bubbs knew early on that she wanted to be an actress. "When I was five, I was a really shy kid and my mother, a French speaking person, got me involved in the French theater in Toronto, where I was born. And I just was smitten. I just fell in love. So I did a lot of theater in French...I work in both English and French. That's how I started.

"Then I was involved in theater in high school, and then I went to theater school. I kind of went all the way with it."

One of Bubbs's newest projects is the upcoming film The Thing. It's not a remake, but a prequel to John Carpenter's version, and they tried to stay true to the original. "The really cool part was the whole idea for this prequel, because it makes such sense. Because the original begins with these Norwegian guys shooting at a dog from a helicopter and you're kind of like "Whoa, what's this?" So our film really explains what happens at the Norwegian base, because in the original when they visit the Norwegian station, all they see are a completely decimated base, burned out. There are bodies everywhere, some inexplicable corpses that look bizarre. So our film tells you what actually happened.

"And they really wanted to stay true to Carpenter's vision, and so there are many elements that kind of pay homage to Carpenter's The Thing, which I'm sure die-hard fans will be very pleased about.

"It's really interesting the way that it was done. It's perfect, I mean the original was perfect for us to do the prequel, and it just blends in really well."

The actress describes the film in three words: "intense, frightening, and disturbing," but also thinks it is cool.

Bubbs plays the part of Juliette. "She is a French geologist. She's on the Norwegian base; this all takes place on the Norwegian base, so she's the lone French woman with all these Norwegian guys. And they're all scientists, kind of minding their own business, when they happen upon an amazing discovery."

The actress sees differences in herself and that of her character. "I think Juliette is a sensitive character, she's very cerebral, and she's overwhelmed by everything that's going on. I don't necessarily relate to that. In that sense she's, I guess, different.

"She's a very likeable person. She's very supportive of, very friendly towards Mary's [Elizabeth Winstead] character and she wants to help.

"I think she just sees her role as she's a scientist. She doesn't know how to deal with something of this magnitude and, you know, when all Hell breaks loose. I think Juliette finds herself really terrified."

The actress auditioned for the part in Canada. "I was cast in Montreal. An important factor of this character, Juliette, is that she's French, so she has to truly be French and I was speaking French in the film originally but they really wanted all of the accents to be authentic, for it to be believable.

"The Norwegian guys are actual Norwegian guys and I grew up speaking both French and English so I am an actual French speaker. So that was one of the elements that was essential to Juliet's character, and the acting part as well."

Bubb's French dialog, however, was deleted from the final version.

Before taking on the role, Bubbs did her research. "I watched the first movie and I also did research. I read books written by scientists who had stayed for extensive periods in Antarctica just to see what their routine was like, what exactly they were doing in the field, what they were looking at, to get more context for my character and for what we're actually researching down there.

"[There were] some films too about Antarctica, just to get a sense of the landscape and the isolation, the true isolation that you feel. That's a really important aspect of the film because there's that cabin fever type element to it because we're all kind of trapped inside because we can't spend extensive periods of time outside. And we're isolated."

It was difficult to get that Antarctic feel, however, because they filmed the movie in Toronto in the summer. "We did some exterior stuff at the end of March, which is the end of winter...So there wasn't much snow on the ground. We had snow, the white blankets, we had actual snow, we had sprayed-on foamy stuff. It looked really good. And then all of us actors were wearing cold packs on the backs of our necks so we wouldn't pass out in the Antarctic gear."

Bubbs enjoyed working in an ensemble cast. "We all worked together. It was like being at camp; we were all hanging out together all the time. So you know I was often with Mary, Eric [Christian Olsen], Ade - Adewale [Akinnuoye-Agbaje]. And the Norwegian guys, they were phenomenal to be around, they were such a laugh. We had a blast; it was so much fun.

"...When you see us hanging out together and having fun, it's all so very authentic. There were so many laughs on set. It was just a great time."

The Norwegian men were always entertaining, according to Bubbs. "The songs that you will see the Norwegian guys perform, they just kind of happened spontaneously. These songs, they're really simple songs, you know, one guy is playing the ukulele, and then they just break out into this song and everybody knew the song. And they all just kind of went nuts with this song. And we all had this song in our heads; you could not get it out of your head. Like for months you had this song. So that was kind of a funny thing."

Bubbs learned a lot from the cast and crew. "I learned a little Norwegian. You know, it was just such a fabulous experience, just to be able to work on this type of genre movie that I've never really worked on, and to be introduced to this whole amazing special effects side and to be able to work with such a diverse cast.

"I'm Canadian and Mary and Eric, they're American, then a couple of the Norwegian guys are Danish, and the Norwegians. And then Joel [Edgerton], who's Australian; Adewale, who's English. It was a whole mix and it truly was a great ensemble experience.

"It was just so much fun. It was a rich experience in that you learned from so many different people from different places. And just the type of movie and to be a part of something that is so well respected, you know, John Carpenter's film, and to just see the care that they put into it to really do it right. It was great."

One of the things Bubbs found challenging was keeping straight which characters were infected, and whether or not they knew it. "We all had to understand kind of what was going on, the things that we don't reveal really to the audience as it's going on – who gets infected, how and when.

"Also one thing that was challenging too was if you're infected with the Thing, the virus – we'll I guess it's not a virus – but do you know that you're the Thing, or do you not know that you're the Thing? It's almost like a parasite that takes over your body...But does the character even know it? Those were the questions that we were throwing around."

The filmmakers decided to keep a lot of the types of elements and effects that were used in the original. "What's really cool is that they decided to keep a lot of the elements that John Carpenter used, like the puppetry and stuff. Because what was amazing about his version was back then they didn't have CGI and all that, so it was all done by hand, and they really were ahead of their time in terms of special effects. So they did keep an element of puppetry and obviously used some modern techniques, because that's expected nowadays.

"So we did have a lot of stuff on set that we were looking at and able to interact with. And some of it was pretty gross to look at; it was actually really impressive. The special effects team did such an amazing job. It was so much fun also to be a part of that because this is really the first time where I do a really effects-heavy film and it was great to see the artistry in it. Because it is, they are works of art. They're gory works of art but you know all the work, the detail in it is amazing."

In addition to the puppetry, the film also used green screen. "The cool thing is that...it wasn't just being in a room with a green screen and nothing around you. There was always something to interact with, so it was a nice mix."

Bubbs, however, did not find the green screen work hugely difficult. "That's where the work comes in. You have to imagine, right? You have to see it and believe it. So that's where you have to do all of that work."

The cast stuck pretty closely with the script when filming. "Well it was pretty much according to the script because there are so many elements where you have to get the words right just for everything to make sense. And that was really important; to make sure that everything made sense in terms of what was going on in the timeline and stuff like that. For all the pieces to fall into place you really did have to respect the script. Which was really well-written, so they already did all the hard work for you in that sense."

The filmmakers kept most of what was originally shot in the final film, though there were a few things that were taken out or changed. "I think for the most part, they stayed pretty true. We did reshoots in January so I think a few of the things that we had shot previously were not in, and they took what we shot in January during the reshoots instead. But I think it really works very well and I'm really happy with it."

Bubbs was able to see the final product of the film. "At Universal we had a screening a few days ago and I saw it. I jumped in my seat a few times. Even though I was involved in it, I was scared by it and surprised by it. I think fans are going to be quite pleased."

"... I was surprised by a lot of stuff in the best possible way. And it's really kind of cool to see that kind of link to the original. But it's obviously a 2011 version, so it's more high-tech...more modern elements."

The actress however, does not always enjoy watching her own performance. "We're always kind of our own worst critic.

"...You can't be overly critical, you always just do the best you can with what you have at the present moment. Sometimes I wouldn't watch my own films for fun, let's say, in my leisure time. No, I would watch someone else's work."

Bubbs has loved all her roles. "They all have something interesting about them. There was an HBO series that I did, actually in Canada, where I played this kind of burned-out nurse who falls in love with a resident who's an alcoholic and, you know, she's struggling. And she's a really sensitive person but she keeps up a tough façade and doesn't let anyone in except for this one guy. Then it ends up being a sad story, I guess, because he's the guy who can't commit, of course.

"...It's called Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures. It aired in the UK and Australia and Canada and it's based on a book that won Canada's version of the National Book Award."

Bubbs has also done some voice work, such as in the Shaun White video games as well as the Assassin's Creed franchise. "I really enjoy doing voice work. I'm also a character in all of the Shaun White video games, the snowboarding and skateboarding games. I'm Alex. It's a lot of fun. It's really, really different. It's kind of like doing animation, but not. And it's really a huge market; it's becoming a bigger and bigger market. And it's amazing what they're doing. I don't play video games that often but when I was seeing some of the graphics for this stuff, it's just unbelievable.

"But it's so much fun. And you know, for the Shaun White one you have a lot of "OK, you've fallen off your skateboard," so you have a lot of "Uhh, ugh, oooh," a lot of those sound effects. Or "Woo hoo!" It's kind of funny; you're standing in a little booth and making all of these hilarious sounds."

There are a variety of different roles that the actress has yet played that she would like to portray. "I am really drawn to very strong female characters and I'd love to do a Woody Allen comedy. I mean I'd love to work with Woody Allen, I absolutely adore Woody Allen. I'd love to do a smart comedy. I'd love to do a period piece, I really would."

There are also other actors that Bubbs has thought of working with. "I would love to work with Johnny Depp. I would love to work with Helena Bonham Carter. I would love to work with, I really like Lili Taylor, I think she's fabulous...And Meryl Streep, I love Meryl Streep. There are so many actors that are just so incredible."

The actress would also be interested in stepping behind the camera. "I do write and I have a couple of projects in development in Canada. One of which I am set to direct so that is definitely something that interests me."

Bubbs also has some other projects in the works. "I'm in another film coming out next year called On the Road, which is directed by Walter Salles, who did The Motocycle Diaires. And Kristen Stewart's in it, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi, Amy Adams; it's really an amazing cast. It's based on Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road. It's a complete departure, like more of an indie film; it's really artsy. It's got like a real bohemian vibe, and it's basically his road trip across America. It's set in the 60s and projects like that are amazing to be a part of."

On the Road is slated to be released in the United States next year and The Thing opens next month.

You can also find out more about Kim Bubbs on Twitter or her Facebook fan page.

Photo by Marc Cartwright

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