From right to left : John, Myself, Production Manager Robert Brown, Associate Producer Larry Franco. The Juneau Ice Field. Location Scout April, 1981

Saturday, April 7, 2012


               Recently an eagle-eared listener at IMDB noted that John's line regarding T.K. Carter on the commentary track of the original DVD release of THE THING - "he was constantly worried that all of us were racists" - had been removed from the recent Blu-Ray release of the film. Although I was not aware of any friction between T.K. and the cast and crew while filming ( or, for that matter, with Keith ), it brings to mind the fact that the issue of race did come up while casting...

              When actor-comedian Franklin Ajaye ( CAR WASH, STIR CRAZY, as well as a recent appearance in BRIDESMAIDS ) came in to read for the role he offered instead a measured fifteen minute critique on the stereotypical nature of the character, citing both the use of the vernacular in dialogue - "What's it going to do, come chasing after us?", for example - as well as the fact that Nauls was a cook. He also took  strong exception to the labelling of Nauls as black in the character descriptions in the fronts piece of the screenplay. None of this sat particularly well with John, and the meeting broke up amidst frosty silence...

                I spoke to Bill Lancaster about the incident afterword. Concerned, Bill offered to meet with whoever was cast  and work out any problems ( Bill intended the dialogue to be a play on the vernacular spoken by a smart guy but would tone down the idea if it was considered offensive ) but John ultimately chose to leave the character and dialogue essentially unchanged...  

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