Pacific Rim 2: its director on a deleted homage to The Thing
Mecha-and-monsters sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising is still stomping through cinemas, even if it does have some pretty imposing competiton from the likes of Ready Player One and the seemingly unstoppable Black Panther.
If you’ve seen Uprising, then you may well have enjoyed John Boyega’s turn as a hot-shot Jaeger pilot who leads the charge against yet another invasion of colossal creatures from another dimension. What you may not have known, though, is that it was going to contain an action scene that paid homage to John Carpenter’s horror classic, The Thing.
During our recent chat with director Steven S DeKnight, he told us about the process of paring down a story to get it to fit in a two-hour-or-less duration – all the better to avoid the 150-minute bloat that sometimes plagues other movies featuring giant robots and so forth. And as the script was pared down, one action sequence wound up on the cutting room floor:
“There was an action scene that I came up with during the Shatterdome attack that I loved,” DeKnight said. “It was my beloved child, but I was like, ‘Ah right. Okay, it’s going on a bit too long.’ Jake and Lambert were actually gonna make it inside Gypsy, and they were gonna fight one of the Kaiju drones, and they were gonna punch it so hard that it knocked its brain out. The brain was gonna fall to the ground, sprout legs and teeth, and try to eat the cadets.”
Through the process of editing, however, DeKnight made the decision to pare the whole Shatterdome attack – where most of the Jaegers are damaged by the Kaiju – down to a more manageable length.
“It was my nod to John Carpenter’s The Thing,” DeKnight continued. “But once we got in, it was like, not only was it massively expensive and taken more time shooting, it’s like a top hat on top of a derby. It’s just, let’s focus on the story. Sometimes you can just go off on tangents that are great and wonderful, but the aggregate of too much is that the audience just gets exhausted.”
We’re glad that DeKnight managed to keep Pacific Rim: Uprising short and snappy, though part of us would’ve enjoyed seeing the John Carpenter homage he described.